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Emergency in Pakistan

Life came to a standstill in Pakistan with the declaration of Emergency by self styled Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. His actions reeked more of him being an army chief rather than a president of Pakistan. He cited the growing instances of Islamic militant violence and “constant” judicial interference as the reasons behind his clamping emergency and sacking of Ifthikar Choudhary, the Supreme Court chief justice which incidentally came in the wake of the crucial apex court ruling on the legality of his election.

The declaration of emergency has resulted in the suspension of all constitutional rights, all independent news media were gagged, telephone services were cut off and probably the internet services will soon be blocked. Paramilitary deployed in all strategic locations such as the street housing the presidency building etc. Moreover, the detention of politicians, lawyers and journalists may be on the cards.

Before anyone could cry foul play which was attempted by the seven member apex court bench headed by the Chief justice himself, he was shown the door and promptly replaced by Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar.

Former leader of Pakistan Nawaz Shariff condemned Musharaff’s role while Benazir Bhutto cut short her stay in Dubai to return to Pakistan. But on her arrival at Karachi she was not allowed to get of the plane and runs the risk of being either arrested or deported depending on the whim of the president.

Pakistan as a nation has always been politically volatile. History is witness to the fact that Presidents in Pakistan are doomed either to be assassinated or banished from their country after they relinquish power.
The political history of Pakistan is a chequered one. The Muslim League which had formed the first government of Pakistan under the leadership of Muhammed Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, found its leadership in Pakistani politics on the decline with the rise of other political parties.
The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973, suspended in 1977 by Zia-ul-haq, was re-instated in 1991 and is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of government. Pakistan is a federal democratic republic with Islam as the state religion.

Once again the martial law brought about by Musharaff has made the world react in unison.

The world at large too poured out its reaction with the US Secretary of state Condoleeza Rice criticizing the measures as “highly regrettable”. Musharraff defied the warnings of US officials and imposed Martial law in the country.
“The US has made very clear that it does not support extra constitutional measures as they would take Pakistan away from the path of democracy and civilian rule” said Rice.
The Indian government too expressed its concern at the developments in Pakistan while BJP and the Left denounced the emergency.

With Pakistan’s future hanging in balance only time will tell what other coup Musharaf has up his sleeve for his country of crisis.

Photo by Atif Gulzar, Lahore, Pakistan

Author info

Rituparna Goswami Pande's picture

Journalist, writer


charlie's picture

Its best cover up editorial by u
jaay's picture

Pakistan has proved to be a failed state, with that certain things that need to be clearly understand is that in isolation, no concept succeeds. Mr. Jinnah proposed a solution that Islam and Muslims would be better off, if they are separated off from the so called HINDU civilization. So he went out in order to create a new order in the form of Pakistan. Leave alone decades, but it could not even last for few years. Pakistan is paying for a decision which was taken in the garb of religion and settling of political scores and nobody knows what is store for future. It is a common sense and a fundamental thing which is taught to even a child that if the foundation is not strong, it is bound to fall, it is just matter of time, the question is not how, the question is WHEN. As an individual and human being, it gives us no pleasure at what is happening in Pakistan, but the fact is that it is heading for destruction. The question is when. Musharaf or no Musharaf, anybody who comes to the top, will always have couple of things in mind: One, that he is the champion of for the cause of Islam, two, how to take advantage of the situation and turn the state in private machinery for minting money for self. Situation in India is also not rosy, but we can boast that we have no single individual at the top, manipulating us, we don’t have run training camps for Talibans to go out and bring down towers and kill people in the name of religion. And we will flourish and come out in flying colors because we believe in equality and prosperity for all. Musharraf is not solution, rather a problem. People not only think but firmly believe that he is a puppet of American regime, and so do they about Bhutto and Sharrif, can we think of alternates to these stalwarts, think and shiver will run through your spine. Let’s wait and watch and prey that whatever happens, happens for the good of people and region. It’s not a political crisis that Pakistan is facing, it is IDENTITY crisis and if they don’t come to terms with the fact that all human beings have equal right to exist, then I am afraid, something worst is in store for them.
mahroosh ali's picture

Well in reply to your opinion that the foundation on which Pakistan was built is weak and unstable, I recommend that you need to read an account of the partition of sub-continent and it shouldn't be by some Indian author but an unbiased and true account.particularly the time period when the congress ministries were formed and there treatment of the Muslim minorities of India will truly enlighten you as to why Pakistan was founded by Jinnah. As to the current scenario of chaos in Pakistan your explanation is pretty childish and u should get a little know how of international pressure on Pakistan and many other factors.We as citizens of Pak are accountable for the mess our country is in our religion isn't and have Islamic values been followed the situation would have been very different............

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