A dictatorship within a dictatorship

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.

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]

4 thoughts on “A dictatorship within a dictatorship”

  1. There is visible ascendancy in the activities of anti-democratic, imperialistm\, and anti-people forces and incidents of communal attacks, including bombings, IED explosions, rocket firing and bomb explosions and the banding together of some communal elements with anti-democratic groups have taken such activities to an unprecedented level of violent intensity posing a grave threat to the life and values of the citizens of India.’

    ‘There has also been a spate of attacks on state infrastructure and on law enforcement agencies; whereas some members of the judiciary are working at the cross purposes with the executive and legislature in the fight against communalism and imperialism thereby weakening the government and the nation’s resolve and diluting the efficacy of its actions to control this menace.’

    ‘There has been increasing interference by some members of the judiciary in government policy, adversely affecting economic growth in particular. Constant interference in executive functions, not limited to the control of secular activity, economic policy, welfare of minorities, expansion of public sector, policies for the welfare of weaker sections of society, and marine planning, has weakened the writ of the government, the police force has been completely demoralized and is fast losing its efficacy to fight communalism and intelligence agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing communalists.’

    ‘Some hardcore militants, extremists, and communalists who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released. The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous communalist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property. Communal forces which in some states have captured power through undemocratic means across the country have thus been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued.’

    ‘Some judges by overstepping the limits of judicial authority have taken over the executive and legislative functions. The government is committed to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and holds the superior judiciary in high esteem, it is nonetheless of paramount importance that the honorable judges confine the scope of their activity to the judicial function and not assume charge of administration.’

    ‘Whereas an important constitutional institution, the supreme judicial council has been made entirely irrelevant by a recent order and judges have thus made themselves immune from inquiry into their conduct and put themselves beyond accountability.’

    ‘The humiliating treatment meted to government officials by some members of the judiciary on a routine basis during court proceeding has demoralized the civil bureaucracy and senior government functionaries, to avoid being harassed, prefer inaction’

    ‘The law and order situation in the country as well as the economy have been adversely affected and trichotomy of powers eroded; Whereas a situation has thus arisen where the government of the country cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution and as the constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures.’

    ‘The situation has been reviewed in meetings with the chairperson of the United Peoples Alliance, the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (M), the General Secretary of the DMK, chief ministers of states headed by secular parties, and with the chairpersons of the JNU Students Union, Students Federation of India, CITU, INTUC, and AITUC.

    ‘Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I Manmohan Singh, prime minster of India, acting under the advice and guidance of the Chairperson of the UPA Smt. Sonia Gandhi, proclaim emergency throughout India. I hereby order and proclaim that the constitution of the Secular Socialist and Sovereign Republic of India shall remain in abeyance. This shall come into force at once.’

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