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State of Emergency

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Nov 4, 2007.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 4, 2007
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    'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law

    · Pakistan's president acts against rivals
    · Britain expresses 'grave concern'

    Declan Walsh in Islamabad
    Sunday November 4, 2007
    The Observer

    Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule last night, plunging the nuclear power into crisis and triggering condemnation from leaders around the world.
    The action to reassert his flagging authority was, he said, a response to Islamic militancy and to the 'paralysis of government by judicial interference'. He said that his country's sovereignty was at stake.

    Judges and lawyers were arrested, troops poured on to city streets and television and radio stations were taken off the air. Musharraf also suspended the constitution and fired the chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, who spearheaded a powerful mass movement against him earlier this year.

    Last night police arrested opposition politicians and senior lawyers including the chief justice's lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, and Imran Khan. 'Musharraf is acting like a spoiled child, holding the whole country hostage. These are the last days of Pervez Musharraf,' said Ahsan as he was escorted from his home into a police van. Ahsan, who leads the Supreme Court Bar Association, said that lawyers would launch a series of nationwide protests tomorrow.
    Soldiers entered the Supreme Court in the late afternoon where Chaudhry and six other judges said Musharraf's declaration that he would rule under a provisional constitutional order was illegal. Chaudhry was reportedly under house arrest last night.

    Police sealed off the main street in central Islamabad and soldiers entered the state television and radio buildings. Private news networks went off the air and mobile phone coverage was intermittent. Shots were heard in several neighbourhoods of Karachi, where there is strong support for former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who had gone to Dubai on Thursday on a personal visit. She arrived back in Pakistan to a rapturous welcome last night and immediately decried Musharraf's move as tantamount to dictatorship.

    'Unless General Musharraf reverses the course, it will be very difficult to have fair elections,' she said.

    The United States, which sees Musharraf as a crucial ally against al-Qaeda, had urged him to avoid taking authoritarian measures and called the move 'very disappointing'.

    Late last night Musharraf addressed the nation on state television. He said he decided to impose a state of emergency in response to a rise in extremism and to interference from the courts and judges in the business of government. Pakistan's internal security has deteriorated in recent months with a wave of suicide attacks by al-Qaeda-inspired militants, including one that killed 139 people.

    There had been increasing speculation that Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, might declare an emergency rather than run the risk the Supreme Court would rule against his re-election as president. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she was 'deeply dismayed' by the move and Whitehall expressed 'grave concern'.

    In a statement last night, the Pentagon said the emergency declaration by Musharraf did not impact the US military support of Pakistan or its efforts in the war on terror. Spokesman Geoff Morrell said: 'Pakistan is a very important ally in the war on terror and he [US Defence Secretary Robert Gates] is monitoring the situation there.'

    Britons of Pakistani origin were also urged to use their contacts to press home the message by the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. 'All friends of Pakistan will be concerned by the turn of events today,' he said. 'We recognise the threat to peace and security faced by the country, but its future rests on harnessing the power of democracy and the rule of law.'

    Musharraf had promised to resign as army chief by 15 November, with general elections due by mid-January. Those elections are now in doubt, as is a power-sharing deal with Bhutto. 'She is waiting to see if she is going to be arrested or deported,' Wajid Hasan, her spokesman, said.

    Musharraf has faced numerous crises over the past year, including protests, court challenges and spiralling Islamist violence. Last week troops mounted a major assault on an Islamist cleric who has declared his own Islamic mini-state in Swat, a previously peaceful area popular with tourists.

    But the greatest threat to Musharraf's power was the Supreme Court, which was due to rule in the coming weeks on the legality of his controversial 8 October re-election as president. As the result of an opposition boycott, he received 98 per cent of the votes. The legal challenge has now been quashed, but emergency rule raises a range of new problems including the possibility of widespread public protest and a further breakdown of Pakistan's battered state institutions.

    Hardliners in Musharraf's political party, PML-Q have been urging him to impose emergency rule for months. But others have opposed yesterday's move. One senior PML-Q official, who declined to be named, told The Observer that the move was a disaster and predicted it would eventually spell 'the end for Musharraf'.

    Human Rights Watch condemned yesterday's move as 'a brazen attempt at muzzling the judiciary'.
  2. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Nov 5, 2007
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    Musharraf warned: hold elections and quit as army chief

    Envoys to spell out ultimatum in talks today in Pakistan

    Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Julian Borger
    Monday November 5, 2007
    The Guardian

    The US and Britain are today expected to demand that Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, honour pledges to hold elections in the next two months and step down as the army chief, or face a cut in western support.
    The diplomatic showdown will come in the form of a meeting in Islamabad between the Pakistani leader and a group of ambassadors, two days after he declared emergency rule - and three days after giving assurances to the prime minister, Gordon Brown, and the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, that he would stick to an election deadline in mid-January, and step down as head of the country's army.

    Last night Pakistan's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, called those promises into question when he said the government had not decided when to hold the elections and warned they could be delayed by up to a year. Wielding his new powers with an iron fist yesterday, Gen Musharraf rounded up hundreds of opposition and human rights activists and introduced tight media regulations. Mr Aziz's statement directly contradicted personal assurances Gen Musharraf apparently gave to Mr Brown and Ms Rice on the eve of the emergency declaration.
    The pledge to the prime minister was made on Friday, when Mr Brown telephoned Mr Musharraf and expressed concern over reports that an emergency decree was being planned.

    "He [Mr Brown] said we had heard he was considering this and we thought it was a bad idea," a British official said.

    Downing Street and the Foreign Office denied claims from Islamabad yesterday that Britain had, in fact, sanctioned Gen Musharraf's declaration.

    A Musharraf aide told the Guardian that the Pakistani president had "satisfied" objections raised by Mr Brown during the conversation. "There was pressure from the US and Britain in the beginning. But later on, when the government gave them the detail that elections will be held on time, and the president will take off his uniform, they did not have any objections," the official said, on condition of anonymity. A Foreign Office official insisted "no consent was implied or given".

    In his address to the nation on Saturday night Gen Musharraf said the step was necessary to combat growing Islamist extremism that has seen a succession of suicide bombings and a battle in the previously peaceful northern area of Swat.

    But yesterday his police turned their batons on political opponents and human rights critics from a wide spectrum of society - although notably not from Benazir Bhutto's People's party. Ms Bhutto, who has been edging towards a power-sharing deal with Gen Musharraf for months, condemned emergency rule but did not call her supporters on to the streets.

    In Lahore police armed with assault rifles raided the offices of the national human rights commission.

    Police seized camera equipment belonging to journalists. The ousted chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, was trapped behind a cordon of police at his Islamabad house.

    The leader of the lawyer's movement, Aitzaz Ahsan, was held incommunicado at Adiala Jail near Rawalpindi. Tammy Haq, a colleague who attempted to visit him, said she feared he was being tortured. "I've seen martial law before, my brother was in jail, and this is exactly the same," she said.

    Mr Aziz said the former cricketer Imran Khan and retired intelligence chief Hamid Gul were among 500 people being held in preventative detention. Private TV channels remained off air and senior journalists said they feared arrest. The only news coverage came through the state TV channel, which broadcast a report into the lack of press freedom in India.

    The British and US reaction has so far been cautious. It has fallen short of condemnation. More severe measures, as well as a reassessment of western aid to the Musharraf government will hinge on today's critical meeting.

    "What we will make very clear is that the government must keep to the commitment to hold elections on time, the commitment to take off the uniform, the commitment to a free press, the commitment to reach out other parties, and the commitment to release political prisoners," a senior British official said. "How they respond to that will determine how our reaction thereafter."

    Ms Rice, speaking to journalists in Jerusalem, said yesterday the US would "review" aid to Pakistan, which has totalled $11bn (£5.5bn) since 2001.

    British officials said they would reassess aid in coordination with the US.

    In Lahore a human rights campaigner, Asma Jahangir, sent an email from home where she has been placed under detention for 90 days. "Those he has arrested are progressive, secular minded people while the terrorists are offered negotiations and ceasefires," she wrote.

    Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the ruling PML-Q party, said the decision to impose emergency rule was triggered by fears that the supreme court would rule against Gen Musharraf's recent re-election in a legal appeal. A friendly judge passed the information to the government last Wednesday. "He said the verdict may be unanimous. So we had no choice," he told the Guardian. "The debate was whether to impose emergency before or after [the court ruling]."

    Asked how long the emergency measures would be in place Mr Aziz said: "As long as it is necessary."
  3. Mtanganyika

    Mtanganyika JF-Expert Member

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    I believe western power has something to do with this. I know Pakistan faced a lot of challenges especial terrorism aspects, however Musharraf is a dictator who stays in power because of some nations in the world.

    We know Pakistan is facing new election soon, so what does this means?
  4. G

    Game Theory JF-Expert Member

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    Good thread BUBU ATAKA KUSEMAand i am surprised with how JF members have been avoiding it. Now BUBU whats your personal take/observation on the subject?

    Personally i think with events like this, i believe the most likely place for a nuclear exchange in the 21st Century would be in Asia and wouldn't involve the US at all....

    Anyway, allow me to explain. This will be a very long winded post filled with details I don't expect most to know, so now would be time for the light-hearted to stop reading:

    What's happening in Pakistan now is the result of two decades or more that long precedes the War on Terror et al (for those who would attribute the instability there to Afghanistan or any US Geo-political action).

    What's happening is that, demographically at least, the population in Pakistan is now splitting three ways.

    The first group is the urban population which has become wealthier, more secular and has adopted many of the features of western democratic institutions and other "modus operandi". Benazir Bhutto is very much the representative of that group and so, to a large extent is Musharraf. In real terms, this is your "more conservative" group, they want to keep Pakistan as a moderate Islamic state which interacts with the rest of the world - the position which its occupied for a goodly number of years. Hence the charactization of this group as conservatives, they want to keep things as they are. It's very unwise to underestimate the strength of this group, they essentially hold the levers of power and they've gotten used to pulling them - hence the problems Musharraf faced in getting his reign extended. In general political orientation (at least for the US), this group is much closer to the Democratic Party than the Republicans - and that applies to the military as well as the civilian segments.

    The second group is the mass of the rural population. These are somewhat more religiously orientated than their urban counterparts but not that much more. Much more to the point, they're a lot poorer and they don't have access to the levers of power in the central government, something that they've never liked but haven't been able to change for decades. They feel discriminated against, dispossessed and marginalized. They don't do much but they represent a seething mass of disquiet and mutinous mutterings on the periphery of Pakistan's domestic Geo-political core. However, in recent years they've increased multitudes in their strength to the point where they can actually do something about their situation.

    Finally, the third group are those crazy ass (which is an understatement too, they're literally fucking bonkers, even when measured to other radical groups in S. Asia) Islamofascists up in the NWFP, mainly from the Waziristan region.

    These guys are deeply religious and fundamentalist, they view the largely secular society in the urban areas of Pakistan as anathema and the more populous rural population as "USEFUL IDIO...TS" to their cause. They are the wellspring and supporting structure for the Taliban and for Al Qaeda. They essentially created the Taliban (originally the Taliban armed forces atleast. Even now, the vast majority of the Taliban being killed in Afghanistan are from Waziristan, not Afghanistan. Though the vast vast majority of people outside the region wouldn't know it).

    Combined, these groups are pulling Pakistan as a whole in different ways as a result of their three-way tug of war.

    Where does the US play a role in all of this some may ask?
    Well, out of the three it's pretty easy who the US would inevitably want to back. The urban demographic represents the sort of society that Pakistan was and should remain in the West's/US' view, which is why Musharraf and his predecessors have received military and political aid for so long. Not just as a way to mediate another war breaking out between Pakistan and their geo-strategic arch rival in India (which if it happened again would definitely go nuclear), but also as a means of giving the urban/secular segment an overwhelming edge against the Islamists. It's important to note that backing Musharraf's element does not mean opposing the democratic groups and political parties - both the military government and the democratic political parties all come from the same general demographic segment and backing one gives strength to them all.

    The real problem is that the Waziristani Islamists have been steadily infiltrating and proselytizing the rural population. They don't have that much success but even a limited level of success generates a lot of recruits for suicide bombings (which is all the Islamists want; one rural peasant who agrees to blow himself up is one fewer Waziristani who has to do so). In doing this they're aided by the Pakistani ISI, that has been heavily infiltrated by the Islamists to the point where the ISI is now out of control and is essentially a rogue agency. They also played a critical role in the creation of the Taliban in the 90s, but that's another story.

    The truth is that the Islamists want to totally transform Pakistani society. For example, they wish to abolish the Shalwar Kameez (the long top and trousers worn by Pakistani women) in favor of the full burka, they want to abolish all education for women (other than memorized recitation of the Koran), etc etc etc. Read the Taliban policies in Afghanistan and you'll get the message. These guys can't be defined as conservatives by any reasonable meaning of the term, they want to create a new society that has no real historical precedent. They're radical revolutionaries and when treated as such their motivations and ideology drop sharply into focus.

    The recent crisis over the Lal Masjid Mosque OR THE RED MOSQUE has kicked off the present mess.

    What happened there was that the Lal Masjid mosque, which had long been a centre for radical Waziristani Islamist proselytization became a spring bed for a direct assault on the civil administration of Islamabad. The mosque had a madrassah attached to it (two infact, one for boys, one for girls) and students from those Madrassahs started going out into the city, kidnapping urban/secular Pakistanis who did not comply with the extreme teachings of the Islamists and punishing them before an Islamic court. This reached a boiling point when they kidnapped seven high-profile Chinese women dignitaries who they accused of prostitution (i.e. not wearing a burka).

    When no progress was made in getting the women released (naturally due to Musharraf's hesistation in wanting to openly confront the Islamists in such a way) the Chinese government told the Pakistani government that the problem wasn't solved soon and their people released, Chinese Special
    Forces would go to Islamabad and solve it for them (both countries deny that diplomatic exchange was ever made by the way).

    Now, at that point the Lal Masjid authorities started to rack up the tension. They encouraged their students to go out, firebomb 'non-Islamic' businesses (like shops selling music CDs; their ideology involves banning all music and radio/TV except for transmissions of reading from the Koran) and throw acid at women who were not wearing burkas. In addition, they set up a full Sharia court in rivalry to the secular Pakistani court system. For Musharraf, that effectively did it ---> the Pakistani Army ringed off and contained the Lal Masjid mosque, which is when the story first becan to make it into the international news circuits.

    A slight bit of comedic detail on the Mosque siege that wasn't ever reported by the media: The driving force behind the Lal Masjid mosque and its madrassahs were two Islamist brothers from Waziristan. When the Mosque was surrounded and placed under siege one of them decided to escape. The Pakistani Army was allowing female students to leave so one of the brothers dressed up as a woman (i.e. wearing a burka) and tried to leave while hiding in a group that was being allowed out. Unfortunately, the Pakistani troops noted that he hadn't mastered the art of walking like a woman, detained him, and placed him in custody. Then, negotiations having obviously broken down (the Islamists basically getting into the "Waco Mentality") the Pakistani Army decided to storm the entire complex and seeing heavily-armed Pakistani Commandos and the elite of their Special Forces units coming over the walls and shooting the shit out of his "Islamic Holy Warriors" gave his closest remaining colleagues a long, inspired sermon on the delights of martydom, the pleasures of dying for Allah and the absolute importance of laying down their lives for their faith. He then got on the phone to negotiate his surrender and safe conduct out. He was unwise enough to do this in front of his friends and colleagues who noted his actions and shot him....A lot.....Like around 200 times before surrendering. Big mistake on his part( according to the some files released by Pakistan's Investigators)

    Anyway, it's that storming of the mosque that's primarily responsible for the current troubles going on in Pakistan. Which has also included gaining a lot of Al Qaeda's own attention on the issue (Ayman al-Zawahiri spoke out against the incident as a practical declaration of war). The Islamists are using it as evidence that the urban population are traitors and apostates to Islam and have subsequently been radicalizing the rural poor - many of whose children are in madrassahs. It's reckoned the Islamists have around 100,000 men under arms at this time. About 35,000 of these are commanded by Baitullah Mehsud (the same guy who issued the fatwa demanding that Benazir Bhutto's return be met by suicide bombs and famously described women as "a poisonous living substance").

    They've been making suicide bombings against every Pakistani government asset and symbol of authority all over the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), the NWFP, and even in areas that they wouldn't have had the balls to try to hit on a large scale years ago such as Rawalpindi (Pakistan Military HQ) and Islamabad itself.

    The worsening security situation in the tribal belt has forced the Pakistani Armed Forces to also act. Reports from the NATO forces in Afghanistan of the presence of increasing numbers of Uzbeks, Chechens and Uighurs with the Neo Taliban forces operating in Afghan territory added to the pressure for action. Responding to these pressures, the Pakistani government started sending further reinforcements to the area. It was a jihadi attack on one of the convoys carrying these reinforcements which triggered off the latest round of deadly clashes.

    Basically Pakistan has now been left in a domestic Geo-political position where Musharraf's options are either:

    1.) Prosecute a bloody civil war to eliminate the Islamist elements in Waziristan, which traditionally the government has been woe to even go into.

    2.) Accept a Taliban style Islamist movement continuing to grow outside of it's traditional confines, with all the human rights abuses that would entail. Eventually making a direct challenge to the his government's national authority, and in turn, to the power of the urban/secular segment of Pakistani society.

    This confrontation has nothing to do with American actions, its been growing all on its own as a result of Pakistani internal demographics and political developments for over two decades or more. The fact it happens to coincide with current American actions is mere happenstance really.

  5. G

    Game Theory JF-Expert Member

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    Once again i apologise for the long response but i hope we will have more of this sorts of discussions on Intl Affairs as time goes by
  6. Idimi

    Idimi JF-Expert Member

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    There are several things going on in Musharaf's land for sure. The constitution of Pakistan does not allow a president to be the head of the army, like what general Musharaf is. He goes contrary to the constitution for sure, and this is what brings the outcry from other concerned Pakistani citizens like the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and the ousted judge of the supreme court.
    Musharaf is obliged to choose one, among the two choices, either be an alected president and loose militancy, or be a general and loose presidency. This is exactly where he comes at loggerhead with democracy, for he can not have the two.
    We know that he came in power through coup d'etat backed up by mperial powers, and they are the one who press him now to be democratic, something Gen Musharaf never dreamt.
    The silly question to him is, will he let democracy rule, or will he resort to militancy?
    Let's wait.
  7. G

    Game Theory JF-Expert Member

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    But what Musharaff did was Adopting Bush-Cheney Doctrine of "Lawfare" One of the curious aspects of General Musharraf's speech last night (by the way, it is General, not President, as he first annulled the constitution and then invoked one of its provisions to declare an Emergency, acting not as president but as Chief of Army Staff), at least to this observer, was the general's thoroughly un-self-conscious invocation of two major threats to the security and integrity of Pakistan: terrorism and "judicial activism" ....typical Bush-Cheny and the other neo-cons in Washington are about.

    It did not seem to occur to the general that, to some observers, even flawed or over-reaching attempts by duly constituted bodies to uphold the law might not be equivalent to mass murder. Judging by the General's actions, judicial activism is a much more sinister and immediate threat than terrorism, as all of his actions since yesterday have targeted the former rather than the latter.

    Unlike Bush, Musharraf at least had the decency to announce to the whole world that he was placing the constitution "in abeyance" and arrogating all power to his sole person. The Bush administration prefers to promulgate shadowy memoranda, signing statements, and Humpty-Dumpty like amendments to the meaning of common words. Since the courts are instruments of terrorists (and can even be used to demoralize the security forces!) counter-terrorism logically requires the abolition of the rule of law.

    Comparing England and India in the 19th century, Karl Marx wrote, "The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future." But the 20th century refuted Marxism through praxis, giving birth to new laws of history. In the 21st century, the country that is less developed institutionally only shows to the more developed the image of its own future.
  8. G

    Game Theory JF-Expert Member

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    Mods naomba mu merge hii thread na ile ya BENAZIR BHUTTO