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Pakistan Suspends Constitution, Declares Martial Law

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    Musharaf, Clashing With Pakistan?! Nov 4, 2007 Last night, Pakistani military leader President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule on the country and
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 6, 2007
      Musharaf, Clashing With Pakistan?!
      Nov 4, 2007

      Last night, Pakistani military leader President Pervez Musharraf
      imposed emergency rule on the country and deployed troops across the
      capital in a bid to reassert his flagging authority against political
      rivals and militants.

      Musharraf issued a provisional constitutional order explaining why he
      has taken such a move. The following are two main reasons for his move:

      There had been a visible ascendancy in the activities of extremists
      and incidents of terrorist attacks.
      Some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the
      executive and legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

      On the other hand, Pakistan's top court Saturday, November 3, ordered
      the suspension of emergency rule. In response, Musharraf was quick to
      appoint a new chief justice.

      Read and participate in the discussion at: IslamOnline.net


      Bloodshed rises in Pakistan as U.S. pushes regime to attack Islamists
      By Deirdre Griswold
      Nov 2, 2007

      More and more, the Pakistani people are being drawn into U.S.
      imperialism's bloody wars and occupations against their will.

      The last week in October, the Islamabad government of President Gen.
      Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator who is frequently described in
      the press as "a key ally in the U.S. war on terror," sent 2,500 troops
      into the Swat Valley near Pakistan's northwest frontier with
      Afghanistan. The area is said to be a stronghold of Pakistani
      religious leaders who sympathize with the fight of the Taliban in
      Afghanistan against occupation by the U.S. and its allies.

      Dozens of soldiers, civilians and religious fighters called
      "militants" in the Western media were killed in several violent
      clashes. One news account said Pakistani forces, backed by
      helicopters, had traded fire with militants who were "using
      rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and other weapons." (AP, Oct. 27)

      A later account told of thousands of civilians fleeing from the area,
      where, on Oct. 28, "Security forces backed by helicopter gunships
      pounded militant hideouts in the mountains." (AP, Oct. 29)

      Just one week earlier, the Pentagon had handed over 30 helicopters to
      the Musharraf regime, the latest installment in more than $6 billion
      worth of "security-related assistance" given to the Pakistan military
      by the U.S. government since 2001.

      Bush had sent his national intelligence director, the notorious John
      Negroponte, to Pakistan in January to pressure Musharraf to go on the
      offensive against the militant Islamic opposition. In July, government
      forces stormed the Lal Masjid mosque right in central Islamabad,
      killing hundreds of Islamic teachers and students opposed to Musharraf
      and his alliance with Washington.

      Yet far from being intimidated, the influence of the Islamic militants
      has been growing, especially in the northwest, where the population is
      very aware of the brutal war being carried out against their neighbors
      in Afghanistan and can sometimes hear the roar of U.S. jet planes as
      they unload their deadly bombs.

      Can cynical deal survive a massacre?
      At the same time, Washington has been trying to popularize the image
      of the Musharraf regime without losing the services of Musharraf, who
      heads the large and nuclear-armed Pakistani army and first took power
      in 1999 in a coup. It has been brokering a power-sharing deal whereby
      Musharraf would accept a coalition with Benazir Bhutto, the
      multi-millionaire head of the Pakistan People's Party, who recently
      returned from exile.

      "The administration concluded over the summer that a power-sharing
      deal with Ms. Bhutto might be the only way that General Musharraf
      could keep from being toppled," wrote the New York Times bluntly on
      Oct. 20.

      As part of the deal, Musharraf promised Bhutto, a former prime
      minister, that corruption charges against her and her family would be
      dropped on her return. However, as the newly arrived politician moved
      in a car caravan through the streets of Karachi on Oct. 18, where some
      150,000 people had assembled to greet her, powerful bomb blasts ripped
      through the crowd. Bhutto barely escaped; more than 150 people,
      including 50 from her security detail, were killed and more than 500
      others severely wounded in a scene of utter carnage.

      Almost all Western news accounts blame the bombings on Al Qaeda, but
      that does not seem to be the view of most Pakistanis. While "few had a
      clear picture of what caused the explosions," wrote a reporter who
      interviewed survivors, "overwhelmingly, they believed that the
      government was to blame for the attacks, and few blamed Al Qaeda or
      other Islamist militant groups." (New York Times, Oct. 20)

      Bhutto herself, while she did not directly blame the regime, said that
      "very powerful figures" were behind the assassination attempt and that
      the government had not given her proper security. (BBC News, Oct. 23)

      Thus, Washington's efforts to bolster a pro-U.S. regime in Pakistan by
      bringing Bhutto back—a scheme in which Negroponte, U.S. Secretary of
      State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay
      Khalilzad all personally participated—may already have boomeranged.

      While the corruption of Bhutto and her husband is legendary, and they
      are accused of salting away hundreds of million of dollars in Swiss
      banks, her return unleashed a wave of popular anger at the regime,
      which was only heightened by the assassination attempt that killed so
      many people.

      Facing quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration is
      desperate to stabilize Musharraf politically while forcing him to use
      his military more vigorously against the rising anti-U.S. movement.
      But many in the imperialist foreign policy establishment think it
      won't work. "'This backroom deal I think is going to explode in our
      face,' said Bruce Riedel, who advised three presidents on South Asian
      issues and is now at the Brookings Institution. `Ms. Bhutto and Mr.
      Musharraf detest each other, and the concept that they can somehow
      work collaboratively is a real stretch.'" (New York Times, Oct. 20)

      With the country seething, the army attacking its own people in the
      northwest territories, and many of Bhutto's followers demanding an end
      to the Musharraf dictatorship, the Pakistan Supreme Court has yet to
      validate the general's "re-election" as president, which happened on
      Oct. 6. The election was able to proceed after Bhutto agreed she would
      not join in a boycott called by other parties in the bourgeois
      democratic opposition. On Oct. 29 the government's top lawyer,
      Attorney General Malik Qayyum, told the Supreme Court that Musharraf
      would be president, no matter how the court ruled, raising speculation
      that the general "might impose martial law if the judgment goes
      against him." (The Hindu, Oct. 29)
      It is yet another sign of the instability and unpopularity of a regime
      central to imperialism's goal of domination over the oil-rich Middle
      East and Central Asia.


      Pakistan Imposes Emergency Rule in fear of Khilafah


      Authorities rounded up opposition leaders Sunday after Dictator
      Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan's constitution, replaced the
      chief judge and blacked out independent TV outlets, saying the
      country must fight in the War on Islam.

      Dictator Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup but had given a
      conditional pledge to step down as military chief and become a
      civilian president this year, declared a state of emergency Saturday
      night, dashing recent hopes of a smooth transition to democracy for
      the powerful nation.


      Across Pakistan, police arrested political activists and lawyers at
      the forefront of a campaign against military rule.
      Among those detained were Javed Hashmi, the acting president of the
      party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; Asma Jehangir, chairman
      of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; and Hamid
      Gul, former chief of the country's main intelligence agency and a
      staunch critic of Dictator Musharraf's support of the U.S.-led war on
      "It's a big blow to the country," said Gul, as a dozen officers took
      him away in a police van near the parliament in the capital,
      Islamabad. Hashmi said the army general would not "not survive the
      people's outrage."
      Up to 40 activists were hauled in when police raided the office of
      the Human Right Commission of Pakistan, including its director, I.A.
      Rahman, a harsh Musharraf critic, said Mohammed Yousaf, a guard at
      the office in the eastern city of Lahore.


      Dictator Musharraf's leadership is threatened by an Islamic
      Mujahideen 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
      commentators in the domestic media, that Musharraf had imposed
      martial law — direct rule by the army — under the guise of a state of
      "Nobody cares about us or about what we think," said Mohammad Amin,
      31, wearing a black prayer cap as he took a break from his work with
      fellow laborers to sip sweet tea.


      Western allies of the brutal Dictator Musharraf had urged 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 in Pakistan, as the American embassy urged citizens in the
      country 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 Pakistan" or its efforts in the
      war on terror.
      Bhutto, who had travelled abroad again in the wake of an Oct. 18
      suicide attack that narrowly missed her but killed 145 others,
      immediately flew back to the southern city of Karachi, and declared
      that the emergency was the "blackest day" in Pakistan's history.
      "But I believe the problem is dictatorship, I don't believe the
      solution is dictatorship," she told Sky News television in a report
      available via satellite.


      In his televised address late Saturday, Musharraf, looking somber and
      composed, said Pakistan was at a "dangerous" juncture, its government
      threatened by the Islamic movement who are working to liberate
      Pakistan from the corrupt dictator.
      The military dictator, wearing a black button-down tunic rather than
      his army fatigues, also blamed the Supreme Court for tying the hands
      of the government by postponing the validation of his recent election
      win. The court was expected to rule soon on opponents' claims that
      Musharraf's Oct. 6 victory was unconstitutional because he contested
      the vote while army chief.
      Musharraf on Saturday replaced the chief justice, Iftikhar Mohammed
      Chaudhry, who had emerged as the main check on the president. His
      name was erased from the court's Web site.
      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
      Authorities also arrested Aitzaz Ahsan, a lawyer who represented
      Chaudhry. Opposition party leader, Imran Khan, was put under house
      arrest Saturday.


      The emergency comes as Musharraf's security forces struggle to
      contain pro-Taliban and al-Qaida-linked Mujahideen 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.
      Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and respected analyst, said
      Musharraf's emergency was a pre-emptive move in case the court ruled
      against him, and that it could "further aggravate terrorism and
      extremism in the country."
      Rick Barton, a Pakistan expert at the Washington-based Center for
      International and Strategic Studies, said Musharraf's move would
      likely only postpone his political demise. "He's obviously not very
      popular, and it's not going to increase his popularity."
      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, or
      executive, legislative or judicial organs of the state can be
      punished with three years in jail.


      Pakistani police use emergency powers to detain protesters
      Declan Walsh in Islamabad and James Sturcke
      Monday November 5, 2007
      Guardian Unlimited

      Pakistani police launched a harsh crackdown today on the first street
      protests since General Pervez Musharraf assumed sweeping emergency
      powers last Saturday.

      Police fired teargas and baton-charged a crowd of 2,000 lawyers at the
      largest protest in the southern city of Lahore.

      Up to 1,800 people have been detained nationwide since the weekend, an
      interior ministry official said.

      The prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, responded to concern from overseas -
      including Britain - and insisted that elections scheduled for January
      would take place as planned.

      "Our thinking about the election is that it will be held according to
      schedule," Mr Aziz told a news conference. The country's national
      assembly will be dissolved on November 15, and elections held within
      60 days, the attorney general said, according to Reuters.

      The US called for Gen Musharraf to cut his ties to the military and
      reinstate the constitution.

      At a news conference, the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice
      urged Gen Musharraf to follow through on past promises to "take off
      his uniform".

      "I want to be very clear. We believe that the best path for Pakistan
      is to quickly return to a constitutional path and then to hold
      elections," she said. "The more quickly and the more urgently that the
      Pakistani leadership and President Musharraf act on their stated
      desire to get back to a constitutional path, it will be for the better
      of everyone."

      The lawyers in Lahore tried to repel police with stones and tree
      branches, as at least 250 were detained from the protest alone, some
      bundled into vans bleeding from the head.

      Clashes between police and lawyers were also reported in Karachi,
      Peshawar, Multan and Rawalpindi, where police sealed court buildings.

      The British government today called for reassurance that elections
      planned for January would go ahead. The United Nations became the
      latest organisation to condemn the imposition of martial law and call
      for the release of those detained.

      "A state of emergency should only be used to deal with a dire security
      threat to the nation, not to undermine the integrity and independence
      of the judiciary," Louise Arbour, the UN's chief rights official, said
      in a statement. Asma Jahangir, a UN-appointed expert on religious
      freedom and chairman of the independent human rights commission of
      Pakistan, is among those detained.

      A spokesman for the opposition leader, Ms Benazir Bhutto, said so far
      67 members of her party had been arrested.

      Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the influential supreme court bar
      association, remains in Adiala Jail near Rawalpindi; another lawyer
      called the Guardian from a plane about to leave for Kabul, saying she
      was fleeing possible arrest.

      The former chief justice Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, who led massive
      protests against Gen Musharraf earlier this year and was sacked on
      Saturday, remained under house arrest in Islamabad.

      Since Saturday, Gen Musharraf has banned public meetings and suspended
      fundamental rights, closed down television broadcasts and rounded up
      hundreds of opposition supporters, lawyers and human rights activists.

      Independent TV news networks remained off the air, although some could
      be viewed by satellite or the internet. Police raided and sealed a
      printing press in Karachi belonging to Pakistan's largest media group,
      blocking publication of its Urdu-language evening newspaper, Awam
      (People), the Jang Group editor, Mahmood Sham, said.

      Troops manned sandbagged positions around government buildings in the
      capital. Although some businesses opened, streets were generally quiet.

      Rumours of a counter-coup against Gen Musharraf circulated widely
      among journalists and lawyers. "It is a joke of the highest order,"
      Gen Musharraf told Reuters from the presidency building in Islamabad,
      where he met over 80 foreign diplomats to explain his decision. He
      said he was due to play tennis later in the day.

      Opponents admitted the rumours were probably a product of the
      restricted media environment, or just wishful thinking. "The nation is
      in a state of shock. There is no source of information, that's why the
      rumours are rife," said lawyer MS Mughal.

      "He seems to be pretty much in control at the moment," said one
      diplomat, who said his country's main concern was to find out how long
      the emergency would last. Concerns about growing instability caused
      the main Karachi stock exchange to fall over 4%.

      Although Gen Musharraf says the emergency is needed to fight growing
      Islamist militancy including a spate of suicide bombings, a senior
      Musharraf aide told the Guardian the crisis was actually triggered by
      fears the supreme court was about to deem his re-election illegal.

      Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, president of the ruling Pakistan Muslim
      League-Q party, said a friendly supreme court judge leaked the
      information to the government last Wednesday.

      "He said the verdict may be unanimous, so we had no choice," said Mr
      Hussain. "The debate was whether to impose emergency before or after
      [the court ruling]."

      Mr Aziz, who had previously assured the public that Gen Musharraf
      would "always respect the constitution", admitted on Sunday that the
      government had initially detained between 400 and 500 people as a
      "preventative measure". An editorial in Dawn newspaper said that
      future denials from Mr Aziz or Gen Musharraf would be a "waste of
      newspaper space".

      Britain and the US have promised to review their assistance to
      Pakistan in the light of the unfolding crisis. The US has given $11bn
      (£5.2bn) in mostly military aid since 2001.

      Britain is a much smaller contributor. Western diplomats in Islamabad
      refused to say what leverage they might use against Gen Musharraf at
      this stage. But Gen Musharraf remains a key ally to the US and Britain
      in the fight against al-Qaida militancy. Neither will want to
      jeopardise future security cooperation.

      "Some of the aid that goes to Pakistan is directly related to the
      counter-terrorism mission," US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice
      said during a trip the Middle East. "We just have to review the

      The next move of opposition leader Ms Bhutto will be crucial. She is
      due to arrive in Islamabad later today, where she is expected to meet
      with the national security adviser, Tariq Aziz.

      Ms Bhutto's movements have become secretive since an assassination
      attempt after her return from exile on October 18.


      Dozens wounded in anti-emergency protests in Pakistan
      Nov 5, 2007
      Deutsche Presse-Agentur

      A policeman on guard in a police van in front of the Civil court as
      lawyers boycott courts and stage rallies countrywide to protest
      against the Emergency rule in Hyderabad, Pakistan, 05 November 2007.
      Dozens of people were injured on Monday when riot police used tear gas
      and baton-charged hundreds of lawyers who were holding protest rallies
      in several Pakistani cities against the weekend proclamation of a
      state of emergency by President Pervez Musharraf. EPA/NADEEM KHAWER

      Islamabad - Dozens of people were injured on Monday when riot police
      used tear gas and baton-charged hundreds of lawyers who were holding
      protest rallies in several Pakistani cities against the weekend
      proclamation of a state of emergency by President Pervez Musharraf.

      'The police harshly beat us up with the batons and more than a dozen
      lawyers were wounded,' lawyer Muddasar Ali told Deutsche
      Presse-Agentur dpa from the high court building in the Punjab
      provincial capital Lahore, where more than 2,000 lawyers had gathered.

      The clashes erupted when the lawyers chanted slogans such as 'go
      Musharraf go' and 'Military dictatorship unacceptable,' and tried to
      hold a rally on Mall Road, the main avenue in the city centre. But
      police fired several rounds of tear gas, leaving dozens of lawyers
      briefly unconscious.

      The witnesses said they saw many protesters being pushed into police
      vans and whisked away. City police chief Aftab Cheema confirmed the
      arrests without giving a number.

      'We arrested them because they were violating a ban on public
      gathering of five or more than five people,' he said.

      The clashes also occurred in the southern port city of Karachi, where
      dozens of lawyers were arrested when they tried to enter into the high
      court building, surrounded by hundreds of lawyers.

      'Police beat us ruthlessly when we came to the Singh High Court
      building in the morning and arrested a few dozen of our colleagues,'
      lawyer Akhtar Hussain said.

      The legal fraternity boycotted the court proceedings across the
      country and similar rallies were also held in Rawalpindi and the
      capital city, Islamabad.

      The demonstrations came a day after law enforcement agencies detained
      hundreds of opposition workers, rights activists and lawyers
      throughout the country for criticizing Musharraf's emergency move.

      Musharraf, who took over in a bloodless military coup in 1999,
      partially suspended the country's constitution Saturday, curtailed
      civil rights and replaced top members of the judiciary who he saw as a
      threat to his rule.

      But the judiciary remained defiant as the overwhelming majority of the
      Supreme Court and four high court judges did not take oath under a
      Provisional Constitutional Order that Musharraf promulgated in his
      capacity as army chief to replace the national constitution.

      Fourteen judges in Islamabad were placed under house arrest on Monday
      as they had announced their intention to attend their offices in the
      Supreme Court building, which was sealed off by more than 2,000
      security personnel.

      All the linking roads around neighbouring president's office and
      parliament building were also cordoned off by security personnel who
      set up barbed wire barriers.

      The country's major stock index, meanwhile, plunged in the afternoon
      amid rumours that Musharraf had been placed under house arrest in a
      military rebellion against him.

      Investors at the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) dumped shares, pulling
      the KSE-100 index down by more than 650 points or 4.7 per cent.

      The rumours about the mutiny were promptly denied by the military.

      'These are just baseless rumours. The situation is normal and
      President Musharraf is functioning as usual.' the military's chief
      spokesman Major Genernal Waheed Arshad told dpa.

      The international community has reacted with sharp criticism of
      Musharraf's declaration of emergency and expressed concern over
      political turmoil in Pakistan, which is scheduled to hold national
      elections in January.

      US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Sunday for a 'prompt
      return to a constitutional course' and for all parties to show restraint.

      'The United States does not support and communicated to the Pakistani
      leadership prior to this action that it would not support extra
      constitutional means,' Rice said while speaking ahead of a meeting
      with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem.




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