Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Musharraf Fights for Control of Pakistan: Musharraf Declares Emergency Proclamation

Posted by K.E. White on November 3, 2007

Musharraf declares a state of emergency in Pakistan, taking full control of the Pakastani government. The Supreme Court meets for an official response while Benazir Bhutto flies back from Dubai. The public response? Not yet known.

President Pervez Musharraf has suspended the Pakistani constitution, issuing a “Proclamation of Emergency” (read full text here). The move essentially puts Musharraf in charge of Pakistan, freezing Pakistan’s constitution until the order is rescinded.

In the interim a Provisional Constitutional Order will dictate government operations—most likely vesting Musharraf with sole executive control of the Muslim nation.

Pakistan has witnessed numerous terrorist attacks in recent weeks, a fact Musharraf’s proclamation reiterates often. The proclamation also notes an “overstepping” judiciary that works at “cross purposes with the executive and legislature”.

Dawn points out that the Supreme Court, who has had past success limiting Musharraf stranglehold on power, has called the move “illegal and unconstitutional.” But meetings are still ongoing in regards to an official response.

The Pakistani public will undoubtedly disapprove of Musharraf’s move, but whether or not that discontent will spur the proclamation’s reversal has yet to been seen.

But in light of recent arrests and Musharraf’s shutdown on communications and cable news in the capital, it seems Musharraf is more than willing to silence dissent. Given the choice between allegiance to Musharraf or jail, only time will tell if opposition forces can successfully unite against this imposition of emergency powers.

Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani Prime Minister and current candidate in what were to be recent elections, was in Dubai when Musharraf issued the emergency proclamation. She is currently flying back, to cheers or to handcuffs has yet to be seen.

Reuters notes Asif Ali Zardari’s—Bhutto’s husband—response to the imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan:

“(She’s flying back) tonight, yes of course,” Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari told Reuters by telephone from Dubai, saying she was already on the plane.

“It’s definitely not pleasant news, it’s not welcome news,” he added. “We’re hoping to build institutions, not destroy them.”

It seems American pressure against such a development in Pakistan failed to deter Musharraf. Here’s the State Department reaction to the Musharraf’s emergency proclamation:

The United States is deeply disturbed by reports that Pakistani President Musharraf has taken extra-constitutional actions and has imposed a state of emergency. A state of emergency would be a sharp setback for Pakistani democracy and takes Pakistan off the path toward civilian rule. President Musharraf has stated repeatedly that he will step down as Chief of Army Staff before re-taking the presidential oath of office and has promised to hold elections by January 15th. We expect him to uphold these commitments and urge him to do so immediately.

The United States stand with the people of Pakistan in supporting a democratic process and in countering violent extremism. We urge all parties to work together to complete the transition to democracy and civilian rule without violence or delay.

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