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Musharraf Declares State Emergency – At Last

From an overjoyed Associated Press:

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf addressed the nation on Saturday hours after imposing emergency rule, saying terrorism and extremism had reached their limit and his country’s sovereignty was at stake.

Musharraf declares emergency in Pakistan

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer

Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan on Saturday, suspending the constitution, replacing the chief justice before a crucial Supreme Court ruling on his future as president, and cutting communications in the capital. Paramilitary troops and police swarmed the capital.

His leadership threatened by the impending court ruling and an Islamic movement that has spread to the capital, Musharraf’s emergency order accused some judges of “working at cross purposes with the executive” and “weakening the government’s resolve” to fight terrorism.

Seven of the 17 Supreme Court judges immediately rejected the emergency, which suspended the current constitution. Police blocked entry to the Supreme Court building and later took the deposed chief justice and other judges away in a convoy, witnesses said.

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a longtime rival of Musharraf who recently returned from eight years of exile, flew back to Pakistan from Dubai where she was visiting family and left the airport under police escort. Her house was surrounded by paramilitary troops.

The government halted all television transmissions in major cities other than state-controlled Pakistan TV. Telephone service in the capital, Islamabad, was cut…

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…

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and has been a close ally of the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has struggled to contain spreading Islamic militancy that has centered along the Afghan border and spread to the capital and beyond.

Pakistanis have increasingly turned against the government of Musharraf, who failed earlier this year to oust Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry — the chief justice replaced Saturday…

Musharraf’s order allows courts to function but suspends some fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution, including freedom of speech. It also allows authorities to detain people without informing them of the charges.

Military vehicles patrolled and troops blocked roads in the administrative heart of the capital. Paramilitary troops behind rolled barbed wire blocked access to an official compound housing lawmakers — barring even wives, children and even a ruling party senator from entering. In Karachi, about 100 police and paramilitary troops surrounded Bhutto’s house and a bomb disposal squad searched the building, witnesses said.

There were reports of gunfire in several districts of the city, but it appeared to be aerial firing, police said.

The emergency was expected to be followed by arrests of lawyers and other perceived opponents of the government, including civil society activists and possibly even members of the judiciary itself, a ruling party lawmaker said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue…

Police stand guard at the gate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in Islamabad November 3, 2007.

In truth, the media has been after Mursharraf to declare a state of emergency since the “Red Mosque” uprising — and indeed, even before that.

The terrorists and their allies in our media and the Democrat party are of course licking their chops.

There has been a full court press on Pakistan ever since Iraq began to turn around. It’s their last best hope for victory over the US.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, November 3rd, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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