Coalition Asks President Bush to Press for Religious Freedom and Democratization in Pakistan During Meetings with President Musharraf. PCP Report.
30 May 2003
Washington, D.C. - A coalition of leading academics, activists, religious leaders, and concerned citizens wrote to President George W. Bush in anticipation of his upcoming meeting with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to press for democratization and religious freedom.
"The very idea of democracy is founded upon the belief that individuals, free to believe according to the dictates of own hearts and consciences and to publicly express those beliefs, are most capable of charting a proper course through turbulent times and difficult circumstances," the letter stated. "A guarantee by President Musharraf of the inalienable right of freedom of religion and belief in Pakistan indicates acceptance of the premise of democracy: that every individual has value and worth, and that the state is constituted to serve society, not vice versa. It is in this sense that freedom of religion is the cornerstone of democracy, in Pakistan and around the world."
"The situation of religious freedom and democracy in Pakistan continues to deteriorate at a tremendous level," commented Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski, who initiated the letter. "The North West Frontier Province of Pakistan recently passed legislation imposing social controls similar to Taliban-style controls in neighboring Afghanistan. It is imperative that President Bush make clear to President Musharraf that a free, democratic, socially stable, and pluralistic state is necessary for Pakistan's security and that of the United States."