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Monday, November 5, 2007

Pakistan Leader Declares A State of Emergency

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Saturday, thereby suspending the country's constitution and chief justice of the Supreme Court

This is a big deal!

When a world leader assumes absolute control of his or her government, it presents the opportunity for corruption-- think Indira Gandhi. Citizens lose control of their fundamental rights and constraints are put on the press. Indeed, analysts and opposition leaders say Musharraf's emergency act was more a declaration of martial law.

Often, when leaders take such a drastic step, ulterior motives lurk beneath the problematic surface issues. In the case of General Musharraf, The New York Times contends that the move appears to be more of an effort to reassert his fading power in the face of growing opposition from the country’s Supreme Court, political parties and hard-line Islamists than, what Musharraf says is, a method to combat terrorism.

Now the U.S. administration finds itself in the bind of having to publicly castigate the man it has described as one of its closest allies in fighting terrorism.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is demanding a “quick return to constitutional law.” And in Washington, the White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, says, “This action is very disappointing."

On Monday, President Bush urged General Musharraf to hold elections and give up his army post, though he gave little indication of any real change in American policy, which has bankrolled Pakistan’s military with $10 billion in aid since 2001.

For a better understanding of this issue and all of the contributing factors that are too numerous and complicated for us to name, check out this New York Times article.

Portions of the blog courtesy of The New York Times.