November 3, 2007

Musharraf Declares State Of Emergency

Pervez Musharraf has declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, apparently not content to wait for the Supreme Court decision on his presidential election victory last month. So far, he has given no reason for the declaration, although the military activity in Swat and Waziristan is presumably the basis:

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan on Saturday, state TV said, ahead of a crucial Supreme Court decision on whether to overturn his recent election win.

The report gave no reason for the emergency but it follows weeks of speculation that the president — who is also chief of the army — could take the step, amid rising political turmoil and Islamic militant violence.

"The chief of army staff has proclaimed a state of emergency and issued a provisional constitutional order," a newscaster on Pakistan TV said.

Musharraf had awaited a decision from the Supreme Court on his eligibility to run for president, one that had been scheduled for over a week ago. The court announced that it would delay its decision for a month, leading to speculation that Musharraf would lose the decision and be disqualified from elective office. Even if he won the decision, the delay has proven somewhat destabilizing as the country holds its breath to discover who's in charge.

The West will not find this to their liking. They had pressed Musharraf to cut a deal with Benazir Bhutto to transition back to democratic processes, hoping that the deal would give them both a stronger political position and marginalize the Islamists. The radicals have their own agenda, however, and have worked to destabilize the political situation before the alliance between Bhutto and Musharraf could have any effect.

A declaration of emergency means the upcoming parliamentary elections will not take place as scheduled in January. That will almost certainly split Bhutto from Musharraf, and it will mean that Musharraf will have to rely on his power base with the Army. That may not hold firm in a protracted fight against Islamist rebels, as the military's morale has already been questioned. It's a dangerous situation, and the declaration makes it even more so.


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A lot of folks are calling this news a coup! “ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Saturday, ahead of a crucial Supreme Court ruling on his future as president, thrusting the country deeper into political turmo... [Read More]

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