Text: S.Res.445 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (02/07/2008)


110th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. RES. 445


Expressing the sense of the Senate on the assassination of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, and the political crisis in Pakistan.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 7 (legislative day, February 6), 2008

Mr. Biden (for himself, Mr. Obama, Mr. Baucus, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Harkin, Mr. Casey, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Reid, and Mrs. Feinstein) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


RESOLUTION

Expressing the sense of the Senate on the assassination of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, and the political crisis in Pakistan.

    Whereas, on October 18, 2007, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan after more than 8 years in exile, and was welcomed by supporters numbering in the hundreds of thousands;

    Whereas hours after her return, a suicide bomb attack on her convoy in Karachi killed 145 people and narrowly missed killing Benazir Bhutto herself, in one of the most violent terrorist attacks in Pakistan’s history;

    Whereas Members of Congress and other friends of Pakistan wrote to President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf weeks prior to the October 18, 2007, attack on Benazir Bhutto, urging support for the democratic process and the provision of adequate security for democratic leaders such as Benazir Bhutto;

    Whereas Members of Congress and other friends of Pakistan wrote to President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf immediately after the October 18, 2007, attack, urging that a specific set of security measures be taken to protect Benazir Bhutto, and that a full investigation into the October 18 attack be undertaken;

    Whereas, on November 3, 2007, President Musharraf, in his role as Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, declared a state of emergency, suspended the Constitution of Pakistan, dismissed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other justices of the Supreme Court and provincial High Courts, replacing them with candidates willing to take an oath to uphold his actions during the suspension of the Constitution, and initiated a nation-wide crackdown on political opposition, the media, and the courts of Pakistan that resulted in the arrest of more than 1,000 political opponents;

    Whereas, on December 15, 2007, President Musharraf lifted the State of Emergency, but did not reinstate the dismissed Supreme Court and High Court justices, allow full freedom of the press, or release all political prisoners arrested during the crackdown;

    Whereas President Musharraf justified his actions in November 2007 on the grounds of more effective count­er­ter­ror­ism efforts, beginning his November 3 proclamation with the statement, “Whereas there is visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IED explosions, rocket firing and bomb explosions and the banding together of some militant groups have taken such activities to an unprecedented level of violent intensity posing a grave threat to the life and property of the citizens of Pakistan”;

    Whereas, on December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto was killed in the garrison town of Rawalpindi;

    Whereas video footage, backed up by eyewitness testimony, shows at least 1 gunman firing shots at Benazir Bhutto instants before her death, and a second terrorist detonating a bomb near her vehicle shortly after the firing of the gunshots;

    Whereas the precise circumstances surrounding both the October 18, 2007, attack and the December 27, 2007, assassination remain unclear, and those responsible for both terrorist attacks remain at large;

    Whereas President Musharraf has accepted the assistance of Scotland Yard in his government’s investigation of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but has rejected calls for an independent investigation under the auspices of the United Nations;

    Whereas President Musharraf has used the turmoil following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto to delay elections from their scheduled date of January 8, 2008, to February 18, 2008;

    Whereas Benazir Bhutto’s political party and the other major opposition parties had opposed this delay, and have expressed concern that it was motivated by an intention to shape the outcome of the election through poll-rigging or other improper means;

    Whereas the current political crisis in Pakistan has a grave impact on the national security of the United States, in that it seriously undermines the ability of the Government of Pakistan to devote adequate resources and attention to the fight against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist forces;

    Whereas the political crisis in Pakistan cannot be resolved without a speedy return to the democratic path, including free and fair elections and restoration of an independent judiciary in accordance with the express wishes of the vast majority of the people of Pakistan;

    Whereas the United States has provided Pakistan with approximately $10,000,000,000 in assistance over the past 6 years; and

    Whereas, on December 26, 2007, President Bush signed H.R. 2764, an omnibus spending bill which limited United States military aid to Pakistan to count­er­ter­ror­ism and law enforcement activities directed against al Qaeda and the Taliban, and which withheld $50,000,000 in military aid until such time as the Secretary of State reports that Pakistan has restored democratic rights and an independent judiciary, and is making concerted efforts to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) conveys the deep condolences of the people of the United States to the people of Pakistan on the tragic loss of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and conveys special condolences to the families of Benazir Bhutto and the other victims of this terrorist attack;

(2) condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the murder of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, and the slaughter of at least 165 other Pakistani citizens in this attack and the prior attempt on Benazir Bhutto’s life in Karachi on October 18, 2007;

(3) calls upon the Government of Pakistan to do everything in its power to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice, and to permit investigators to follow their inquiries in whatever direction they may lead;

(4) calls upon the Government of Pakistan to support and facilitate an independent inquiry into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto;

(5) strongly urges the Government of Pakistan to ensure that free and fair elections are held on February 18, 2008, as scheduled, and that independent election monitors are allowed to monitor the elections;

(6) calls upon the Election Commission of Pakistan to remove all of the restrictions it recently placed on election observation activities, which included efforts to restrict observer movement and the conduct of exit polling on Election Day;

(7) urges President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to replace the partisan caretaker governments at the federal, provincial, and district levels with neutral administrations acceptable to all major political parties, and to reconstitute the Election Commission as a genuinely nonpartisan body;

(8) calls upon the Government of Pakistan to provide adequate security, including the provision of adequately armored vehicles and properly functioning jamming equipment to help prevent the detonation of explosive devices, to all senior opposition political leaders;

(9) calls upon the Government of Pakistan to release those individuals still being detained without charges and to end the ongoing harassment of judges, opposition party activists, and lawyers;

(10) calls for the restoration of Pakistan’s independent judiciary and an end to all restrictions on the media and freedom of speech;

(11) calls upon the President to review all existing United States aid to Pakistan, to ensure that all assistance furthers the common goals shared by the people of Pakistan and the United States, with specific reference to combating violent radicalism and promoting a free and democratic Pakistan; and

(12) if the President's review concludes that the conditions described in paragraph (11) are not met, calls upon the President to suspend (until such time as such conditions can be met) the transfer to Pakistan of weapons systems primarily designed and manufactured for combat against a rival state rather than counterterrorism or counterinsurgency.