Saturday, November 03, 2007

Emergency Rule Declared in Pakistan

I'll be updating this as more news comes in.

Just a quick update in case the news networks, both domestic and international, are down in Pakistan, which they appear to be. Geo is still running in the UK.

As you may have heard, Musharraf has declared Emergency Rule in Pakistan. A newscaster on PTV said: ''The chief of army staff has proclaimed a state of emergency and issued a provisional constitutional order''

An 7 member Supreme Court Bench set aside the Provisional Constitutional Order. Their judgement managed to make its way out to the press.
The army has entered the supreme court building, and the Chief Justice was ousted from the premises. Army checkpoints have been set up around Islamabad, I believe. The doors of the Sindh High Court have been sealed. Aitazaz Ahsans house has also been surrounded by police. Security outside the Governors House in Karachi is on High Alert.

Plus, you cant be out in more than groups of four (at least in Lahore from what they're saying).

The emergency is being cited as an "emergency plus" i.e something less than Martial Law, which means that the government ministries (provincial and national assemblies too) will continue to function, and fundamental rights (such as they are) will continue to exist for ordinary citizens.

God knows whats going to happen in the Courts on Monday. I don't see that any of the Bar Councils across Pakistan will be accepting any fresh judicial appointments under this new PCO.

Benazir Bhutto left the country prior to the emergency. There is some speculation (pretty credible in my opinion) that she knew in advance, and which is why she left in the first place. She was apparently boarding for her return when the emergency happened and following its imposition initially opted to disembark, but is has now boarded a plane and is flying back in to Pakistan.

The emergency comes after further developments for the worse in Swat after two police stations were lost to the militants, and following the capture/disarmament/release of about 120 police plus paramilitaries, and after the Supreme Court ordered that Nawaz Sharif be allowed back in for the second time.

Put of 27 judges called in to replace the removed justices in the Sindh High Court, only 4 took oath. The rest of the nominees have politely declined so far. This is a big deal.

Three Supreme Court Judges have already taken oath under the new PCO.

Abdul Hamid Dogar is the new Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice has gone home. He has been placed under a communicative quarantine of sorts, no phones, no TV no mobiles.

Nawaz Sharif has stated that he will attempt to return, because apparently he cannot bear to watch this travesty of justice, and because he now thinks he has a shot of being allowed to stay. A big "Yeah Right" from me on both counts.

Condoleeza Rice has said that the declaration of emergency (read the move to authoritarianism) is highly regrettable. Looks like the last minute phone call didn't work this time, a pretty clear signal to the US that Musharraf isn't always bluffing.

On Geo-UK, I'm looking at some bewildered faujis sitting in the back of a truck in Islamabad, surrounded by photographers popping flashes and taking pictures.

Benazir has now landed in Karachi, and a number of PPP supporters have greeted her at the airport.

I'm thinking that this is effectively Musharraf's second coup.


ayla said...

And we look on at the circus in despair.

I don't understand how the army can enter the supreme court building and simply oust a Chief Justice. And what's the point of having a constitutional court if it's judgment on the constitutionality of government actions cannot be implemented!

By the way, I am not really as surprised as this comment might make me seem however I am outraged - as outraged as I can possibly be while sipping a fruit smoothie and wishing the sun wouldn't set as it's only 4pm.

asfand said...

we need more from you mate. BBC and CNN are worthless at the moment.

Though BBC has stated that Benazir's landed in Pakistan...