At around 5 pm all the TV news channels were taken off the air. This meant 'emergency declared' - soon confirmed. We were at the close of a meeting in Karachi to discuss the Citizens Charter, and sent out a press release (below) incorporating the info we had - Judges Colony in Islamabad sealed; ALL TV news channels taken off air; judges asked to take a new oath.
Since then, these updates have come in: Judges were asked to take a new oath (eight had refused) under a PCO (provisional constitional order); Supreme Court bench headed by the CJ set aside the PCO; Army entered Supreme Court where Bar was in session & 'escorted' the CJ out; CJ has been terminated. Aitzaz Ahsan arrested. Constitution suspended. Mush is supposed to address the nation 'some time this evening' according to PTV, the only news channel now working. According to another report 18 out of 28 Sindh High Court judge have been 'sacked'.
Message from Farooq Sulehria of the Labour Party Pakistan: "Though the regime is likely to use Taliban-occupation of certain districts as a pretext it is most likely that emergency is imposed to pre-empt a court ruling against Mushraaf's re-election. Emergency means that all basic democratic rights will be suspended while courts would have their powers curtailed. Pakistan has been in grip of political crisis and regime was facing growing mass resentment. This emergency is a desperate attempt to cling to power."
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
Lift emergency, restore democracy, demands citizens' group
KARACHI, Nov 3, 2007: Participants at a meeting of concerned citizens
held to discuss a citizens' charter for democracy expressed outrage at
the imposition of emergency. They condemned it as an unjustified step
and and demanded that it be lifted with immediate effect.
The group opposed the extreme measures being taken in the name of
emergency, including the oath that judges have been asked to take, the
Judges' Colony in Islamabad being sealed off and the television
channels being taken off air. The meeting, attended by various
concerned citizens from different sectors of society, termed the
imposition of emergency as part of the intimidating tactics being used
to pressurise the judiciary in light of the forthcoming judgement on
the presidential elections.
The group has resolved to join the lawyers and other citizens
demanding the lifting of emergency, and holding of free and fair
elections under an interim government. The meeting included members of
Pur Aman Karachi (Uzma Noorani of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan,
Anis Haroon of Aurat Foundation, and artist & curator Niilofur
Farrukh) besides several other citizens including businessman Nadeem
Khalid, consultant Naeem Sadiq, Asad Umar from the corporate sector,
political science professor Sahar Shafqat, human rights lawyer Abira
Ashfaq, educationist Tahseen Hussain, student Haya Hussain, blogger
Awab Alvi, and journalists, Shahid Husain and Beena Sarwar.