I Wish I Were In Paris

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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Martial Law Declared In Pakistan!! Is The U.S. Far Behind?

Martial law has been declared in Pakistan, and the United States supports it!! Is the U.S. far behind? I don't think so!! When I first heard the story this morning, my immediate thought was Musharraf just handed King George an idea for his greatest coup d'état since the 2000 election.

Activists detained in Pakistan emergency

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Police wielding assault rifles rounded up opposition leaders and rights activists Sunday after Pakistan's military ruler suspended the constitution, ousted the top justice and deployed troops to fight what he called rising Islamic extremism.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup but had promised to hand over his army fatigues and become a civilian president this year, declared a state of emergency Saturday night, dashing hopes of a smooth transition to democracy for the nuclear-armed nation.

"Gen. Musharraf's second coup," read the headline in the Dawn daily. "It is martial law," said the Daily Times.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the extraordinary measures would remain in place "as long as it is necessary." He also said parliamentary elections could be postponed up to a year, but no such decision had been made.

Aziz also said that up to 500 opposition activists had been arrested in the last 24 hours.

Among those detained were Javed Hashmi, the acting president of the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; cricket star-turned politician, Imran Khan; Asma Jehangir, chairman of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; and Hamid Gul, former chief of the main intelligence agency and a staunch critic of Musharraf's support for the U.S.-led war on terror.

Some 200 armed police stormed the rights commission office in Lahore on Sunday and arrested about 50 activists, said Mehbood Ahmed Khan, a legal officer for the body.

"They dragged us out, including the women," he said from the police station in the eastern city. "It's inhuman, undemocratic and a violation of human rights to enter a room and arrest people gathering peacefully there."

Musharraf's leadership is threatened by an Islamic militant movement that has spread from border regions to the capital, the reemergence of political rival and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and an increasingly defiant Supreme Court, which was expected to rule soon on the validity of his recent presidential election win. Hearings scheduled for next week were postponed, with no new date set.

Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum denied claims by Bhutto and others that Musharraf had imposed martial law — direct rule by the army — under the guise of a state of emergency. He noted the prime minister was still in place and that parliament would complete its term, ending Nov. 15.

In Islamabad, phone service that was cut Saturday evening appeared to have been restored by Sunday morning. But transmissions by television news networks other than state-controlled Pakistan TV remained off the air.

Scores of paramilitary troops blocked access to the Supreme Court and parliament. Otherwise streets in the capital appeared calm, with only a handful of demonstrations. But one, attended by 40 people at the Marriott Hotel, was broken up by baton-wielding police.

"Shame on You! Go Musharraf Go!" the protesters shouted as officers dragged some out of the crowd and forced them to the ground. Eight were taken away in a van.

Western allies had urged Musharraf not to take authoritarian measures despite recent his country's recent turmoil.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a return to democracy, as the American embassy urged citizens in Pakistan to remain at home and defer all nonessential travel. But Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the emergency declaration "does not impact our military support" of the Muslim nation or its efforts in the war on terror.

In his televised address late Saturday, Musharraf, looking somber and composed, said Pakistan was at a "dangerous" juncture, and that its government was threatened by Islamic extremists who were "imposing their obsolete ideas on moderates."

The military ruler, wearing a black button-down tunic rather than his army uniform, also blamed the Supreme Court for tying the hands of the government by postponing the validation of his recent election. The court was expected to rule soon on opponents' claims that Musharraf's Oct. 6 victory was unconstitutional because he contested while army chief. He was elected by a Musharraf-led legislature.

Bhutto, who had traveled abroad following an Oct. 18 suicide bombing that narrowly missed her but killed 145 others, immediately returned to the southern city of Karachi declared Saturday the "blackest day" in Pakistan's history. "Judicial decisions have to be accepted even if they don't suit you," she said.

Musharraf replaced the chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who had emerged as the main check on the president. Aitzaz Ahsan, a lawyer who represented the judge, also was arrested.

Musharraf vowed to go ahead with parliamentary elections, originally due by January, but gave no timeline.

Deputy Information Minister Tariq Azeem said Sunday he hoped the polls would go ahead soon: "But unfortunately everything has been put on the back burner. I can't give you the exact date."

Musharraf's emergency order suspended the 1973 constitution. Seven of the 17 Supreme Court judges immediately rejected the order, and only five agreed to take the oath of office under the new provisional constitution.

The emergency comes as Musharraf's security forces struggle to contain pro-Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants who have gained control of large tracts of the volatile northwest, near Afghanistan.

Violence has reached major cities with deadly suicide attacks in Islamabad and Karachi underscoring the failure of Musharraf's administration to combat the threat despite huge financial support from the United States.

Analysts, meanwhile, said the imposition of emergency rule may only postpone Musharraf's political demise.

"He's obviously not very popular, and it's not going to increase his popularity," said Rick Barton, a Pakistan expert at the Washington-based Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Musharraf issued two ordinances toughening media laws, including a ban on live broadcasts of "incidents of violence and conflict." Also, TV operators who "ridicule" the president, armed forces, and other powerful state bodies face up to three years in jail.

This is happening in Pakistan. Now replace Pakistan with...oh...I don't know...Iran...or...Syria!! We wouldn't be responding with words of support. We would have our planes in the air and our troops on the ground bombing the hell out of the innocent people from these countries, all in the name of trying to bring "DEMOCRACY" to them. Instead of condemning Musharraf for what he has done, we're SUPPORTING what he has done.

Isn't it lovely to see how this country picks and chooses when to actually support democracy, human rights, and free speech? Clearly they could care less about what Musharraf is doing because he's being investigated over the bombing that was aimed at Bhutto, and the Supreme Court has not declared him the winner of the recent elections. Hmm, does the United States know that he's behind the bombing? Or could it be that the United States had a hand in it too, and that's why they're not condemning the declaration of martial law in Pakistan?

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  • At 3:41 AM, Anonymous scott said…

    I would probably guess that the fact that Pakistan has nukes is the reason for the kid gloves.If the regime falls to islamic radicals it is plausible that Iran could get a nuke from them.if anything it would create unease in India , which also has nukes.This sort of situation could get deadly. lets give them a little time to work everything out policically so it won't become everyones nightmare.(nukes in anarchy)or worse expended nukes
    Einstein once said" I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones" your choice talk or rock

  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger ParisL0ve2 said…

    Oh come off it Scott!! This is not being done to curtail Islamic radicals. Martial law has been declared for two reasons. One, the Supreme Court hasn't ruled that Musharraf is the "legitimate" winner of the recent elections so now he's throwing a temper tantrum. This is his attempt to stay in power by any means necessary.

    The other reason is because there was an ongoing investigation into the attempt to murder Bhutto several weeks ago, and the finger was being pointed at the government.

    If this were truly about curtailing the Islamic radicals, why is it that the people being arrested are human rights activists, lawyers, and those who don't agree with Musharraf? Why are they being dragged away and beaten? Why is it that the only news being broadcasted is the propaganda coming directly from the government? Why is it that he's arresting members of the Supreme Court, and putting his own people on the court?

    Don't hand me that bullshit that we need to use kid gloves and let them work this out because of the nukes and Islamic radicals. This has absolutely nothing to do with it, and anyone with even a pea-sized brain knows it.


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