JOHANNESBURG, Nov 9 (Reuters) A group of former world leaders including Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter has denounced Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf for imposing emergency rule and suspending the constitution.
Army chief Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup, imposed a state of emergency last Saturday, citing a hostile judiciary and rising militancy in the nuclear-armed US ally.
''These illegal acts have resulted in abuse and incarceration of judges, lawyers, human rights activists, journalists and other moderate and democratic opposition forces,'' the group, called the Elders, said in a statement issued late yesterday.
''The Elders support all those freedom-loving Pakistanis who have chosen to join in peaceful expressions of opposition to these dictatorial acts and call upon political leaders throughout the world to insist on a return to a lawful government under Pakistan's constitution,'' it said.
The Elders group was formed earlier this year in an effort to use the influence of more than a dozen Nobel laureates and former world leaders to reduce conflict and despair around the globe.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan are members of the group alongside Mandela, the icon of South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle, and Carter, the former US president.
Each of the four has won the Nobel Peace prize.
REUTERS RKM HS1514