Saturday, November 03, 2007

Musharraf Declares Emergency Rule

In an effort to avoid giving up his military chief status, Pervez Musharraf has declared emergency rule. Bhutto, whom Britain and the US held up as the next great hope for Pakistan (despite the fact that she left the country embroiled in a corruption scandal a few years back and is waiting to see if those charges will be dropped) was out of the country visiting relatives in Dubai and has apparently flown back. ABC reports that she is "sitting in an airplane at Karachi's airport, waiting to see if she would be arrested or deported".

Musharraf has taken control of the media and phone lines have been cut in Islamabad.

As for the Supreme Court, which was to decide next week if Musharraf had actually been eligible to run in last month's elections while he remained chief of the army:

"Seven Supreme Court judges immediately came out against the emergency, which suspended the current constitution. Police blocked entry to the Supreme Court building and later took the chief justice and other judges away in a convoy, witnesses said.

And does this remind you of anyone?

A copy of the emergency order obtained by The Associated Press justified the declaration on the grounds that "some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive" and "weakening the government's resolve" to fight terrorism.

Sounds like echoes of Bush and Cheney to me. Ironically though, their so-called ally with nukes is now a loose cannon. That's what happens when you take the "unitary executive" theory to its limits - it turns into dictatorship. Fine example they've set, n'est-ce pas? (Although a part of me thinks they're both sitting back drooling secretly over Musharraf grabbing so much power while they still have to put up with a pesky, "obstructionist" congress and Supreme court decisions that they don't like in the US.)

More as this develops...


Pakistan Tribune coverage.
PakTribune News Wire Service
Pakistan Times
Pakistan Daily Times
Pakistani bloggers

This Pakistani blogger is providing continual updates including news of rumours that Musharraf is under house arrest.

UNCONFIRMED RUMOR: Some sources are now reporting the that Pres. Musharraf is under house arrest and that Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) General Ashfaq Kayani has taken control of the Army and thereby the country. This would explain why all announcements re: the state of emergency have simply stated that they were by order of the “Chief of Army Staff,” with Pres. Musharraf’s name ommitted. I repeat, this just a rumor. I have other sources who claim to have just spoken with Musharraf refuting the rumor. (Updated 11:15am US EST/8:15pm PST)

The Times of India nails Washington's weak response.

WASHINGTON: Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf's has defied the advice of his American benefactors in imposing martial law and Emergency, but Washington appears set to finesse the situation yet again because of what it sees as the overall US interest in the so-called war on terror.

The first sign that Washington is ready to wink at Musharraf's crackdown came when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stopped short of condemning the development and instead described it as "highly regrettable."

She told CNN that the United States does not support extra-constitutional measures [ha ha, ya right -catnip] and urged restraint on all sides and a "swift return to democracy."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Bush administration was "deeply disturbed" by the developments while offering words of support to the Pakistani people.

"The United States stands with the people of Pakistan in supporting a democratic process and in countering violent extremism," McCormack, who is accompanying Rice on her visit to Turkey, told AP . "We urge all parties to work together to complete the transition to democracy and civilian rule without violence or delay."

But the statements fell well short of the kind of condemnations Washington routinely issues against countries, excepting vassal states, that suppress democratic rights, indicating that the administration was already finessing Musharraf's crackdown.

There was no word from Rice or her underlings about the arrest of the chief justice and his associates or about the crackdown on the media.

read on...


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