And a hunt for wrapping paper
That lady from Michigan called with breaking news. General Musharraf has gone and declared an emergency, doing the usual things like sending troops to government-owned television and radio stations, taking private broadcasters off the air and getting troops to surround the Supreme Court. It’s quite likely that he’ll address the nation next—it’s called taking the nation into confidence, in Pakistani parlance—and the only mystery is whether he’ll do so in uniform or in a sharp sherwani.
The other big mystery is how the West, and the Indian government to an extent, will gloss over an act that is as unpopular in Pakistan as it is flagrant internationally, in order to maintain their support for Musharraf. Declaring it has caused Pakistan to go into an emergency. But how long will it be before (a faction of?) the Pakistani military establishment decides to cut its losses and get rid of its long-serving chief?
- Pakistan’s Supreme Court has declared Musharraf’s declaration illegal:
All members of the Supreme Court were required to sign a new provisional constitutional order mandating the state of emergency, but 8 of the 11 justices signed an order calling the state of emergency illegal and gathered at the Supreme Court building. [NYT]
- According to the PTV announcement, it was the “chief of army staff” who declared the emergency. Not, mind you, the president.
- Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry has been sacked, verbally, by troops who took control of the Supreme Court campus.
- It was a sherwani. As far as inconsistencies go, here’s another one. The army chief imposes the emergency but the president makes the speech.
- Sepoy’s take on Musharraf’s speech:
It is a surprising speech (in many respects). Reading between the lines – ie, the english and urdu lines, I venture an opinion that this was not done with the approval of the US/State. Perhaps even done in defiance of them. The other observation is that when I called him a megalomaniac earlier, I was being circumspect. The state of Pakistan, at times, seems an extension of his very personality. Note the references. The third observation, my how the times have changed … there is no mention at all of India. This is a testament to how drastic is the shift in South Asian geopolitics since the invasion of Afghanistan. China’s role in the economic growth of Pakistan – from their investment in mobile and transportation infrastructure to their investments in Baluchistan emerge out at the top while American concerns are barely mentioned – and are actually completely absent in the English portion of his remarks. [Chapati Mystery]