State of Emergency: What’s the Deal with Pakistan?

If there is one news story that I’ve been consistently ignoring, it’s about anything to do with Pakistan. Now that the (noun) has hit the fan over there, I guess now would be a good time to catch up on Musharraf’s mess.

Last Saturday, Pakistani Presdient Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, suspended the country’s constitution and took complete control over the government. He justified this action on the grounds that “Islamic militancy had become a grave threat to Pakistan.” However, it probably has more to do with the fact that the country’s Supreme Court was questioning the legitimacy of his election and actually checking his power (imagine a Supreme Court doing that!). A CNN article describes the aftermath of Musharraf’s declaration:

Police and soldiers rounded up Musharraf’s rivals and dragged off protesters. Government buildings became barbed-wire compounds. Phones were cut off, the independent media were censored, and Musharraf, an army general serving a dual role as elected president, had authoritarian control.

Additionally, Musharraf fired the Supreme Court Chief Justice, who is now under house arrest.

So what’s a freedom lovin’ country like the United States to do? Despite international outcry against Musharraf’s actions and complete disregard for intense diplomacy from our girl Condoleezza imploring him not to suspend the constitution and delay democratic elections, Pakistan is still one the U.S.’s few allies in the war against terror. In fact, since 9/11, we’ve provided the non-democratic government with $11 billion in military aid. This puts the administration in a very precarious position. Will they stand next to their ally Musharraf, who has clearly overstepped his boundaries, or will they stay true to their freedom agenda and not allow this potential tyrant put military rule above the rights of his people?

If you were ignoring Pakistan like I was, now is the time to start paying attention. Below are two links that’ll help you get started.

Analysis: Emergency forces Bush to reassess Pakistan ties – [CNN.com]

Can the U.S. Pressure Musharraf? – [Time]

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