Martial Law Imposed in Pakistan

CNN is reporting Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and suspended the Constitution and imposed martial law.

  • Emergency rule declared, constitution suspended, Chief Justice expelled
  • Troops enter Supreme Court, court declares emergency illegal
  • Ex-PM Benazir Bhutto said to be returning to Pakistan from Dubai
  • Most media channels off the air due to an apparent media blackout

I haven't been following Pakistan much, what's going on?

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    Benazir Bhutto (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:48:55 AM EST
    Is a big threat to Musharraf. Very popular. She nearly got blown up a month or so ago when she visited. Near death did not phase her.

    Benazir's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, charged that elements within the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, fearful that Benazir will displace them in the January elections, were behind the blast. Benazir herself blamed it on Muslim fundamentalists opposed to a woman coming to power.

    Juan Cole

    Global Affairs blog is live blogging the State of Emergency

    Live Blogging (1.00 / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:39:43 PM EST
    Maybe not:

    Musharraf has suspended the tv broadcasts - and prohibited any "print or electronic media discussion or analysis that hurts the national interests".

    yeah, big shocker there. (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by cpinva on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:55:43 AM EST
    the problem with dictators is, even when they clothe themselves in nice suits, they remain, at heart, dictators.

    should be interesting to see what, if anything, the bush administration has to say about this development.

    I am sure they will take the wrong lesson from it (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by Molly Bloom on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 11:59:11 AM EST
    The wrong lesson? (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by jerry on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 12:36:49 PM EST
    If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator....

    National Emergency (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 12:51:36 PM EST
    The U.S., in a statement released by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, said it was ``deeply disturbed'' by Musharraf's imposition of a state of emergency and called it ``a sharp setback for Pakistani democracy'' that ``takes Pakistan off the path toward civilian rule.''

    But the close circle around Bush are inspired: hmmmm not a bad idea, we'll have to keep that in mind....

    When he departs the White House on 20 January, 2009, the current resident will bequeath to the American people and the next administration an interminable war in the Middle East and a depreciated currency.

    And that's the good news. It assumes there is a successor administration and that no Cheney-contrived "national emergency" will make it possible for Bush to test drive National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD-51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20 to cancel the 2008 election.

    Paul Craig Roberts


    Bush on Musharraf... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by desertswine on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 12:55:49 PM EST
    "This president is a strong defender of freedom and the people of Pakistan.

    And I appreciate your leadership."

    You can be sure we're doubling our shipment of bombs to this joker. Musharraf is under fire both from the right (militant Islamic tribes) and from the left (democracy advocates) and he's the monkey (I mean dictator) in the middle. Too bad he's got H-bombs.


    H bombs and Bin Laden. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:07:34 PM EST
    Our state dept. strongly (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 12:13:43 PM EST
    warned Musharraf against declaring a state of emergency.

    Interesting condition imposed by this state of emergency:  all judiciary must re-take the oath of office.  Supreme Court has previously ruled the results of the election must be stayed until the court determines whether a president may also hold a military position.  


    [B]usharraf imposes emergency rule (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 12:32:41 PM EST
    Troops have been deployed inside state-run TV and radio stations, while independent channels have gone off air.

    Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who condemned the moves, has been replaced and is being confined to the Supreme Court with 10 other judges.

    It comes as the court was due to rule on the legality of Gen Musharraf's re-election victory in October.

    The court was to decide whether Gen Musharraf was eligible to run for election last month while remaining army chief.

    The BBC's Barbara Plett reports from Islamabad that fears have been growing in the government that the Supreme Court ruling could go against Gen Musharraf.

    Suspend the Constitution? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Dulcinea on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:49:35 PM EST
    That could never happen here.  Well, Busharraf just doesn't come right out and announce it.

    Secretary Shoesie is now aghast at what she enabled.  Love it.


    Never? (1.00 / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 02:01:44 PM EST
    Bush Abolishes Fourth Amendment
    By Lee Rogers, via AxisOfLogic, 03 August 2007

    George W. Bush has continued his efforts to destroy the United States Constitution and transform the office of the President into a dictatorship. Today, George W. Bush has issued a new executive order similar to a July 17th, 2007 executive order that allowed the government to potentially seize the property of anybody who they determined without due process was undermining the Iraqi war and reconstruction effort. The language in that executive order was so entirely broad in scope that the executive order even applied to war protesters and political dissidents who might be indirectly undermining the Iraqi war reconstruction effort. This new executive order is similar in nature and uses broad language to allow the government to seize the property of anybody who they believe is attempting to undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions. This executive order essentially makes both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments null and void.

    Executive Order: Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions
    Bush has already issued a directive stating that he will effectively be a dictator in the case of a broadly defined catastrophic emergency, so the language in this executive order stating that he is declaring a national emergency is quite disturbing.

    Sorry, Edger, (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Dulcinea on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 02:07:27 PM EST
    I was being facetious.  So much of our Constitution has already been shredded.

    I knew that... I read your comments. (1.00 / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 03:37:19 PM EST
    I just posted it to remind others.

    There no law, no law anymore (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by joejoejoe on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 12:11:02 PM EST
    In an emergency session, the Supreme Court ruled the move unconstitutional. But Musharraf reportedly suspended the entire panel when the justices refused to sign new oaths. He was expected address the nation later and cite continuing fighting in the turbulent Swat Valley as his reason.

    Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and the other judges remained in the courthouse Saturday evening as police blocked the road to the building. Chaudhry had been removed from the court by Muharraf earlier this year, but the court reinstated him in August.

    Chaudhry supports the rule of law and the people of Pakistan. The United States supports Musharraf.   Freedom is on the march (backwards)!

    Pakistan Paradox (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:20:56 PM EST
    Although Pakistan has been unlucky in oil, it could make stronger claims as a target for American and Israeli ire. It is the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons, a nuclear proliferator, the Taliban's chief patron, and a sponsor of jihadis in Kashmir.


    Yet, there has been little talk in Washington or Tel Aviv about adding Pakistan to the 'axis of evil.' This is the Pakistani paradox.

    This paradox has a simple explanation. In Pakistan, the US had effected regime change without a change of regime. Almost overnight, following the attacks of 9-11, the US had drafted the Pakistani military to wage war against Muslim extremists. The US had gained an army: and Pakistan's military dictators had gained longevity.

    Worth a read

    "Almost overnight, ... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by desertswine on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 04:57:03 PM EST
    following the attacks of 9-11, the US had drafted the Pakistani military to wage war against Muslim extremists."

    If I remember correctly (and this time I'm sure that I do), Richard Armitage threatened Busharraf by warning him we would bomb Pakistan back into the stone age if he didn't get on board the Bush War.


    While Pakistan (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by tnthorpe on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:29:27 PM EST
    struggles not to implode, let's hope they keep their nuclear weapons under control. Bhutto's two stints in office have been marked by deep corruption, so looking to her as the democratic alternative isn't too appealing.

    couple of Pakistani blogs covering this:

    Pakistan Politics

    Metroblogging Karachi
    You can find the the text of the emergency proclamation here

    Are you convinced Bhutto's administration (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 04:27:22 PM EST
    was corrupt?  If so, on what information.  It is my understanding charges were filed but she and/or her subordinates have not been tried.  

    You're right (none / 0) (#25)
    by tnthorpe on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 05:22:21 PM EST
    Thanks for the links. (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 06:15:33 PM EST
    Not a knight in shining armor, I gather.

    More (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:38:10 PM EST
    We now have a legal State of Emergency in Pakistan. Actually, it is officially being called "Emergency Plus" - more than "Emergency" but less than "Martial Law". Just right.


    The move is hardly surprising considering the chaos engulfing Pakistan at the moment - from political (Supreme Court deliberations on the fate of the "election") to military (the tribal/militant conflict has spread to Swat and Peshawar) to ideological (Baluchistan) to international (Rice has decided she wants democracy).


    For now, we have a new Chief Justice of Pakistan Supreme Court. But in an unprecedented move, only 4 judges have signed on to re-take the oath under PCO. This is big, big news. See this backgrounder for the significance.

    Musharraf is to speak on "Meray Azeez Hum Watano" at 11:00 PST.

    I also recommend following Democracy and Freedom Blog for video clips.

    Manan Ahmed

    The Pakistani people, (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Dulcinea on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 02:04:24 PM EST
    like the American people, don't deserve the leaders they have.  

    Live Blogging (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by squeaky on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 02:06:58 PM EST
    H/T tthorpe link via karachmetblogs

    Alok Bansal (1.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 05:44:00 PM EST
    author of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: The Untold Story, has written an analysis of the situation. I don't anything about him or much about Pakistan's internal politics, so I don't know how valid his conclusions are.

    Musharraf's last gamble

    The decision by Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf to declare emergency is the desperate attempt of an autocrat to cling to power. In the process he has irreparably damaged the foundations of constitutionalism in Pakistan, which were never strong to begin with. His actions will not only erode Pakistani state's authority but may sound the death knell for the Islamic Republic.

    As it is the state's authority had ceased to exist in the periphery, whether it was Balochistan, FATA, Swat and even `Northern Areas'. Musharraf's actions have robbed the government of whatever little legitimacy it had after the Supreme Court declared the Emergency proclamation as illegal. The proclamation of emergency without any cabinet or parliamentary recommendation has no constitutional sanction. Similarly the manner in which Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was removed and a new Chief Justice sworn in under a provisional constitutional order (PCO) superseding the two other senior judges, belies any pretence of constitutionalism and the term emergency is being used to disguise defacto `Martial Law'.
    Judicial activism responsible for emergency: Musharraf

    Chaudhry and eight other judges of the Supreme Court had refused to endorse the PCO. Reports emanating from Pakistan indicate that the deposed Chief Justice has been physically removed from the Supreme Court by force. The President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, who had been arguing the case against Musharraf's reelection in the Supreme Court has been arrested. All telephone lines and internet connections were snapped, all private news channels were taken off the air. There are reports of firing from Islamabad and Karachi and troops have been deployed in the cities, military pickets have been established across major roads in Peshawar.
    General Musharraf, who annexed power in a military coup in 1999, had initially promised to shed his uniform by December 31, 2004 but reneged on his promise. Prior to his re-election on October 6, 2007, he had again promised to step down as the Army Chief by November 15, if reelected as the President. He had accordingly appointed Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani as the Vice Chief of Army Staff to eventually take over as the Army Chief. However, his re-election was challenged in the Supreme Court and despite initial indications to the contrary, it appeared as if the judiciary was deliberately delaying the judgment so as to deliver it as close to November 15 as possible. The judiciary probably wanted to avoid giving him adequate response time under the belief that Musharraf's position within the Army would weaken as he had already appointed a successor.

    Musharraf probably got an inkling that the judgment would go against him and felt that the support for his actions was slowly eroding within the Army. As it is his chosen successor General Kiyani had served as Benazir's staff officer and was believed to be close to her.

    Bansal is a (1.00 / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 06:06:03 PM EST
    Research Fellow at New Delhi's Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.

    60 Years of Pakistan
    by Alok Bansal

    As Pakistan completes 60 years of existence, it is passing through a critical phase. The state's writ does not run over almost half its territory. Most people consider themselves as Sindhis, Baloch, Pakhtoons, Mohajirs and Punjabis first rather than as Pakistanis. Pakistan as a nation is kept together artificially by the only institution that functions - the army.

    Despite belated attempts by the judiciary to assert its independence, the fact is that for most part of Pakistan's existence the courts have been dysfunctional and came out with the bizarre 'Doctrine of Necessity' to justify military coups. Pakistan's greatest tragedy has been that barring the armed forces or army to be specific, no other credible institution has emerged. The judiciary, legislature and bureaucracy-all have crumbled during Pakistan's six decades' journey.
    Sub-nationalism emerged as a serious threat to the Pakistani state. Islamic fundamentalists challenge the writ of the government across the length and breadth of Pakistan. Islamabad's frequent flip-flops on the foreign policy front and frequent incursions by American armed forces within Pakistani territory have compromised its sovereignty in the eyes of its citizens.

    The beginning (none / 0) (#13)
    by DA in LA on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:32:37 PM EST
    of the end.  Thank God we are focused on Iran.

    Was it Biden (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Dulcinea on Sat Nov 03, 2007 at 01:58:56 PM EST
    who dared say during one of those debate thingies that Pakistan is the immediate threat, not Iran?  

    Bad boy, Musharraf.  You know your sponsor Bush goes ballistic when someone upsets his freedom march/march on freedom.


    Haven't you heard (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jlvngstn on Sun Nov 04, 2007 at 09:28:34 PM EST
    Our plan of democracy spreading in the middle east is at work.