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Home > News > Report

What led to emergency in Pak: Experts

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | November 04, 2007 01:37 IST
Last Updated: November 04, 2007 02:00 IST


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"The imposition of martial law will lead to the downfall of Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf [Images]. He will have to lose power to pay the price for siding with America," said Hamid Mir, the political editor of Geo television channel, in a telephonic conversation with rediff.com.

The senior Pakistan journalist said, "It is unfortunate that Musharraf has two supporters in India and Pakistan."
 
Mir added, "In Pakistan, emergency can be declared only under Article 232, but today President Musharraf has suspended the country's Constitution. So where is the question of having emergency? This is martial law. Pakistan is now ruled by real military men."

Mir also said this was the fourth time that the military rule was imposed in Pakistan in the last 60 years.

However, B Raman, an expert on terrorism and Pakistan affairs, told rediff.com, "This is a huge setback to Pakistan. But since a chief martial administrator has not been declared, it's difficult to say that this is a military rule."

The text of the declaration of emergency said Musharraf had invoked emergency rule because of mounting militant attacks and interference by members of the judiciary.

The return of Benazir Bhutto [Images] of Pakistan People's Party after many years of exile faced a deadly suicide attack. The following event shows that the current US policy in Pakistan and stitching of the alignment of President Musharraf and Bhutto by the US and the UK had miserably failed.

M K Bhadrakumar, a former diplomat said, "Pakistan's democratic transformation may no longer be possible through dialogue and consensus. The imperative ought to have been an inclusive approach that makes space for even Nawaz Sharif."

Next week, Pakistan's Supreme Court was expected to announce the verdict on the legality of the re-election of President Musharraf  and many apprehended that it could go against Musharraf.

Musharraf knows that "independent" nature of judiciary will push him to the wall.

Raman says, "The pending court ruling on the re-election of Musharraf and the  increasing number of desertions of the para-military forces in the Swat valley could be the reasons behind the emergency declaration."

But Mir differs, "Martial law has been imposed not because of the ground situation in the Swat valley. It has more to do with the government's tussle with the judiciary."

Already, the case is pending which is inquiring about the whereabouts of hundreds of missing Pakistanis who are branded as jihadis by the US. The court is asking awkward questions to government about the missing persons. The government has no answers because some of them are allegedly imprisoned by the US.

Mir alleged that America was equally upset with Pakistan's judiciary as much as with Musharraf.

Pakistan army has taken charge of government establishments in Islamabad and private TV channels are off air. The army has also taken over the charge of the Supreme Court.

Mir pointed out that the first few things that government had done after declaring marital law was related to judiciary. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, a harsh critic of President Musharraf, has been replaced.

When asked about people's reactions, Mir said, "The people of Pakistan will resist the moves of Mushrraf."

But Raman says, "We will have to wait and see. People are getting aware of the situation in tribal areas. They are apprehensive of terrorism and suicide attacks. It's a worrying situation. It's their own countrymen's blood and nobody was paying attention so far."

Bhadrakumar argues, "Evidently, the hard reality is that Washington's priorities lie elsewhere. The US is pressing ahead for 'action' by the Pakistan Army against the so-called militants, but the approach is unworkable under an essentially illegitimate government in Islamabad, which lacks people's confidence."

Mir said in Pakistan a lot of criticism was directed at Benazir Bhutto, too. Pakistan People's Party had advised her to stay back in Pakistan. She was then told to delay her Dubai trip.

Though she flew back as soon as she heard about emergency, people will oppose her plans to truck with Musharraf.

Mir said, "Its unfortunate that amongst Musharraf's strongest supporters, one is America and another is India."

The Indian government has taken stock of the situation, agency reports said. As soon as Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency, the prime minister talked to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Bhadrakumar cautions, "Regrettably, the United Progressive Alliance government is following the US regional policy in Pakistan. This is an extremely short-sighted approach. If a neighbour's house catches fire, it is bound to spread. An entire arc of extreme volatility is developing from Iraq through Iran to Afghanistan, and now to Pakistan. It is right on our doorstep."

Bhadrakumar adds, "The US can take comfort that this 'war on terror' takes place tens of thousands of miles away and doesn't directly affect the 'homeland security'.







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