Call to freeze Pakistan arms deals

A member of Sweden’s Liberal Party, one of the four parties in the country’s centre-right coalition government, is calling for Sweden to suspend weapons deliveries to Pakistan, after Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf, imposition of a state of emergency.

Some 1,500 people have been arrested since the weekend, after the Pakistani army surrounded the Supreme Court and blocked broadcasts of independent TV and radio stations.

Birgitta Ohlsson is demanding the Swedish Inspectorate of Strategic Products freeze licenses for arms exports with Pakistan, citing Sweden’s rules prohibiting weapon sales to countries involved in armed conflict or where there are concerns over human rights abuses.

Under a 2005 deal worth over 160 million US dollars, Sweden’s Saab is currently delivering five early warning aircraft and associated radar equipment to the Pakistani air force.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has described Musharraf’s decision to declare a state of emergency as ”very worrying”, expressing fears the move could lead to an escalation of violence in Pakistan.