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Monday, November 05, 2007

Musharraf & Pakinstan Update

Saturday we saw reports of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistan leader declared Emergency Rule in Pakistan Saturday, suspending the constitution.

Today the blogosphere and the media is abuzz with more news and opinion.

The NYT reports that the U.S. aid to Pakistan will continue because it would be be counterproductive to let Pakistan’s political turmoil interfere with their best hope of ousting Al Qaeda’s central leadership and the Taliban from the country’s mountainous tribal areas.

Forbes reports that Pakistan is denying rumors of Musharraf being under house arrest by the deputy army chief, Ashfaq Kiyani and that he has met with foreign diplomats at Aiwan-e-Sadr. (the presidential palace)

The National Review has an excellent 3 page piece out dealing with the emergency rule, the reasons behind it, the continuing threats and some good analysis of the question "what next?"

The text of the proclamation of emergency said:

ISLAMABAD, Nov 3 (APP): Following is the text of the Proclamation of Emergency declared by Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf on Saturday:

“WHEREAS there is visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists and incidents of terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings, IED explosions, rocket firing and bomb explosions and the banding together of some militant groups have taken such activities to an unprecedented level of violent intensity posing a grave threat to the life and property of the citizens of Pakistan;

WHEREAS there has also been a spate of attacks on State infrastructure and on law enforcement agencies;

WHEREAS some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive nd legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism thereby weakening the Government and the nation’s resolve and diluting the efficacy of its actions to control this menace;

WHEREAS there has been increasing interference by some members of the judiciary in government policy, adversely affecting economic growth, in particular;

WHEREAS constant interference in executive functions, including but not limited to the control of terrorist activity, economic policy, price controls, downsizing of corporations and urban planning, has weakened the writ of the government; the police force has been completely demoralized and is fast losing its efficacy to fight terrorism and Intelligence Agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists;

WHEREAS some hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released. The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property. Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued;

WHEREAS some judges by overstepping the limits of judicial authority have taken over the executive and legislative functions;

WHEREAS the Government is committed to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and holds the superior judiciary in high esteem, it is nonetheless of paramount importance that the Honourable Judges confine the scope of their activity to the judicial function and not assume charge of administration;

WHEREAS an important Constitutional institution, the Supreme Judicial Council, has been made entirely irrelevant and non est by a recent order and judges have, thus, made themselves immune from inquiry into their conduct and put themselves beyond accountability;

WHEREAS the humiliating treatment meted to government officials by some members of the judiciary on a routine basis during court proceedings has demoralized the civil bureaucracy and senior government functionaries, to avoid being harassed, prefer inaction;

WHEREAS the law and order situation in the country as well as the economy have been adversely affected and trichotomy of powers eroded;

WHEREAS a situation has thus arisen where the Government of the country cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution and as the Constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures;

AND WHEREAS the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the Prime Minister, Governors of all four Provinces, and with Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chiefs of the Armed Forces, Vice-Chief of Army Staff and Corps Commanders of the Pakistan Army;

NOW, THEREFORE, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of the Army Staff, proclaim Emergency throughout Pakistan.

2. I hereby order and proclaim that the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance.

3. This Proclamation shall come into force at once.”

In all this the U.S. is truly in an unenviable position because democracy is the ultimate goal but Pakistan has been a nuclear armed country for many years and it is better to have an ally in control of those weapons than Islamic extremists.

Many seem to think Musharraf did this because the Supreme Court was going to rule on the legitimacy of of his running for the election that he won by popular vote because he also is in control of the military.

Those worries are relevant but they do not negate the fact that it is better to deal with him than nuclear armed extremists.

That seems to be the bottom line for the U.S. which determined that we will continue aid to Pakistan.

Don Surber makes this point:

Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s crackdown against the anti-American opposition undoubtedly will get lefties all a-flutter about human rights, democracy and all those other things they wanted the United States to ignore in Iraq.

President Bush will suck it up, continue to aid Pakistan and work with Musharraf.

This is not unprecedented, but before lefties dredge up some of the dictators we had to endure during the Cold War, let’s talk about World War II, shall we?

We won it by cutting a deal with one of the most ruthless and bloodthirsty men in history: Josef Stalin.

We had little choice. Hitler taking Russia and its resources would have been the end of Europe.

Michael van der Galiën makes the same point I made above:

Musharraf and his advisers, meanwhile, appear to be quite confident. There’s little to no doubt in their minds about whether or not the US will continue to support Musharraf’s regime. One aide to the Pakistani president said that the US “would rather have a stable Pakistan — albeit with some restrictive norms — than have more democracy prone to fall in the hands of extremists,” which - like it or not - sounds logical.

The situation is incredibly difficult, the US is once again stuck between a rock and a hard place. Holding back support for Pakistan - thus not giving the country billions in aide - may very well result in a weaker Musharraf regime and, if that happens, a take-over by extremists. Extremists and nuclear weapons - since Pakistan is a nuclear power - are one dangerous combination.

So, while our administration will continue to urge Musharraf to restore the constitutional rule, they will also continue to aid them.

News is coming out of Pakistan constantly at this point and the latest shows that 150 lawyers were arrested in Lahore after a pitched battle between police and lawyers who stood on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below. Some of the lawyers had bleeding heads as they were shoved into police vans, and some fainted in the clouds of tear gas.

In Multan, another city in the province of Punjab, two new judges who had taken the oath of office under emergency rule Sunday were forced to leave the courtroom after hundreds of lawyers threatened to throw eggs at them.

From my own comment section we have a message from those most deeply affected, a Pakistani.

I live right next to the capital and there have been suicide bomb blasts within a couple of kilometers of my home a few times in the last few months. This was not the case before. I do not take that as a failure of the government. Its the rise of the extremist elements that are condemned by 90% of the Pakistani population.
More than 160 people are killed in about 15 suicide attacks after the siege and storming by security forces of Islamabad ’s of Red Mosque. This is what we have got for fighting against terrorism not for not doing anything about it. The Pakistan Army is engaged with militants (responsible for the suicide attacks) in at least 4 districts of the country. No the government was not sleeping its way through the partnership with the US.
The Chief Justice of the country was fired by the President back in March. A case in the Courts ensued and he was re-enstated by the court ruling. That was accepted whole heartedly by the government. After that the chief Justice and other judges started targeting the government on literally everything. Well.. Fair enough. But why just the government. There are other things also going wrong in the country. The court started taking Suo Moto notice of administrative issues and decisions. For one example, they freed some 60 odd people that the government had arrested after the bloody Red Mosque Operation in the capital. These people then took control of the Mosque again and re-started supporting (and very loudly supporting) terrorists and Suicide bombers.

News Report

ISLAMABAD, Oct 25: The Naib Imam of Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) has declared that security personnel killed in an explosion in the Swat valley on Thursday suffered the death of ˜infidels.

Addressing a news conference in the camp office of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Press Club, Amir Siddiqui, who was recently appointed to the job by the government on the orders of the Supreme Court, also announced support for militant Swat cleric Maulana Fazlullah.

He said Fazlullah had supported late Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who was killed in the military operation on Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in July.

Yes.. One can argue that the emergency was put in to avoid any unfavorable decision by the Supreme Court. But how many would agree with a ruling by the same court to put back in place people responsible for taking hostages, running a parallel government and supporting suicide attacks and terrorism. Its far bigger then just the decision on the Presidents chair. Its about a country on the verge of falling into the hands of terrorist elements. Would anyone recommend further de-stabling the government at this point?? I will not.
Thats just what a Pakistani who lives in the middle of the whole mayhem feels.
Ehsan Kiani | 11.04.07 - 4:12 am |

I will keep updating this post as the day goes on and more news comes out.