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Trouble in Pakistan

Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan declared a state of emergency and essentially shut down the country by ousting the Supreme Court Chief Justice and shutting down the media and phone lines:

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan's constitution and deployed troops in the capital Saturday, declaring that rising Islamic extremism had forced him to take emergency measures. He also replaced the nation's chief justice and blacked out the independent media that refused to support him.

Authorities began rounding up opposition politicians, cut phone lines in Islamabad and took all but state television off air despite calls from Washington and other Western allies not to take authoritarian measures.

The U.S. called for Musharraf to restore democracy. However, the Pentagon said the emergency declaration does not affect U.S. military support for Pakistan and its efforts in the war on terrorism. Britain said it was deeply concerned.

Musharraf's leadership is threatened by an increasingly defiant Supreme Court, the reemergence of political rival and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and an Islamic movement that has spread to the capital. Analysts said the measures Saturday may only postpone his political demise.

In a televised address, Musharraf, looking somber and composed and wearing a black tunic rather than his usual military fatigues, said Pakistan was at a "dangerous" juncture.

"The extremism has even spread to Islamabad, and the extremists are taking the writ of the government in their own hands, and even worse they are imposing their obsolete ideas on moderates," he said.

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.

Musharraf replaced the chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry--who had emerged as the main check on his power--before a crucial Supreme Court ruling on his future as president. His emergency order accused some judges of "working at cross purposes with the executive" and "weakening the government's resolve" to fight terrorism.

So which is worse, Musharraf imposing forming a coup and imposing martial law to protect his presidency or radical Islamists getting control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons?

Hot Air has followed this story since it first broke this morning.


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Comments (14)

It's a false question, as r... (Below threshold)
Mark Kraft:

It's a false question, as radical Islamists have nothing to do with the coup. Rather, it's all about Musharraf's well-founded fear that it was against the laws of Pakistan for him to run for President. That is why he's targeting the Pakistani Supreme Court, before its decision.

Martial law won't stabilize Pakistan. Rather, it will lead to tyranny and violence, as all legitimate democratic systems that could oppose Musharraf have now been outlawed.

A look at the history of Middle East makes it clear -- corrupt military governments that deny their people legitimate means of self-determination give rise to armed, radical Islamist uprisings, as they are seen as popular reformers in such circumstances.

If Pakistan's Supreme Court decided that Musharraf could not legally run for office, all hell would not break loose. Rather, one of Pakistan's two prior leaders would be elected to office. The one prior to Musharraf's coup was actually a legitimately elected leader who wasn't transparently stealing from the state, like Bhutto did.

In response to Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf's declaration of martial law and illegal dismissal of a Pakistani Supreme Court Justice, I am encouraging all bloggers out there who want true democratic rule for Pakistan's 165 million people to unite in opposition.

From now on, I am asking bloggers to consistantly refer to Musharraf as "Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf" consistantly linking back to a post I made explaining this idea in greater detail.

The post allows threaded comments, so that those opposed to Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf can start discussing ways that we can organize and unite in opposition to his dictatorial actions.

My hope is that a consistant message of opposition to martial law and support for democracy in Pakistan can help to influence the media away from legitimizing the Musharraf regime by referring to him as a President. By definition, he cannot be a President if he refuses the right for his government's Supreme Court to decide whether his running for office is legal or not.

Please drop by the post, leave a comment as to what ideas you have on how we can best unite in opposition to martial law, and please do consider using the phrase "Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf", linking back to the post.

Thank you,
Mark Kraft

The Siege starring The K... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

The Siege starring The King ad I has begun.

Executive Order Number 12656.........

Coming soon to an American theater near you.

P.S. Kim it's spelled m.a.r.t.i.a.l

Kim it's spelled m.a.r.... (Below threshold)

Kim it's spelled m.a.r.t.i.a.l

Thanks for catching that. I fixed it.

I don't pretend to know the... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

I don't pretend to know the intricacies of Pakistani politics, but isn't such a move as declaring a presidency "illegal" a bit out of bounds for the supreme court? Isn't that why there is such a thing as "separation of powers?" That line is getting more blurred in this country and it is a bad thing. I have no doubt that the left would take over our own "despotic branch" and declare Bush's presidency "illegal" given the chance.

Let them work it out. If a... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Let them work it out. If an AQ friendly regime takes hold, we should deal with it like we did the one in Afghanistan. Democracy or not.

And srill our politicoans i... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

And srill our politicoans insist om keeping our boders open and the ACLU sues to allow illegal aleins to take americans jobs away when the dam going to break and we will have enough of these scoundrels and crooks DEPRT THEM ALL AND SCREW THOSE IMPERIAL JUDGES
depp=true

the correct answer is... (Below threshold)

the correct answer is

radical Islamists getting control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons

This is a far more serious ... (Below threshold)

This is a far more serious situation than we faced in Afghanistan, precisely because of Pakistan's WMDs. No matter who eventually got hold of the political reins, the chaos that would follow the fall of the Musharraf regime would create many opportunities for Islamic terrorists to get hold of something they must not be allowed to have. If that were to occur, we might have to respond rather harshly.

I see.So now we've... (Below threshold)
Civil behavior:

I see.

So now we've got a front in Iraq, one in Afghanistan, pending in Iran and a new one in Pakistan.

All this for a super power military that is stretched to a breaking point and a bunch of "ragheads" (as so fondly described by right wing sealots) are responsible for such a turn of events.

Does it occur to anyone else but me that sticks aren't the answer?

"Does it occur to anyone el... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

"Does it occur to anyone else but me that sticks aren't the answer?"

You're right. It's time to use clubs.

If the secularism in Pakist... (Below threshold)
Kazuo Nakazawa:

If the secularism in Pakistan is not established, the election may create another "Iran".

Do you think that the Pakistani military is driven by Islamic faith?

I believe that the American standard of democracy may not workwell in the other countries such as Islamic countries if secularization does not exist.

Why aren,t BB and Makhdoom ... (Below threshold)
Ali:

Why aren,t BB and Makhdoom Amyn Fahim arrested even after declaring the state of emergency as marshal law
and emphasizing to resume constitution?

comments please ?

Musharraf is the U.S. best ... (Below threshold)
James Chirico:

Musharraf is the U.S. best hope for keeping nukes away from terrorists. The court challenged his power as did Gull and are paying the price. Bhutto should let him control the military, police, intelligence, economy and major infrastructure projects. She can control trade, human rights, education, aid programs, elections (he was elected), and fairness in allocation or court decisions. His iron fist would be balanced with a rising standard of living with more individual freedom from Bhutto's influence. Pakistan's economy grows at 7%, better than the United States.

This is why after 9/11 we s... (Below threshold)
LenS:

This is why after 9/11 we should have gone to war with Pakistan too. They were the ones who made the Taliban possible. Instead we chose to scare Musharaff into cooperating. But cooperation from a dictator riding the tiger is rarely going to last, especially when his supporters want to smack the US (and India).




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