The End of Pakistan

This morning, I was sleeping as Amber told me that a state of emergency had been imposed in Pakistan. I wasn’t surprised since something was expected after the situation had deteriorated in Swat in addition to Waziristan. However, when I woke up and switched on Geo TV, I realized that what had happened was more like a martial law than a state of emergency. According to All Things Pakistan, the government-owned PTV announced:

The chief of army staff has proclaimed a state of emergency and issued a provisional constitutional order.

According to the emergency proclamation,

And whereas the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the Prime Minister, governors of all Provinces, and with chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice-chief of army Staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army;Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I, General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of the Army Staff, proclaim emergency throughout Pakistan.

I hereby order and proclaim that the constitution of the Islamic republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance.

So the constitution is no more and the so-called emergency has been imposed by the Chief of Army Staff and not the President as defined by the constitution’s emergency provisions. The text of the provisional constitutional order is available here. Whatever might be said, this is Martial Law, not an emergency.

Musharraf has given extremism as the main reason for his second coup, but the reality is that the Supreme Court was likely to rule against Musharraf’s election in the next few days.

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has defended his decision to declare emergency rule, saying he could not allow the country to commit suicide.

In a televised address he said Pakistan had reached a crisis brought about by militant violence and a judiciary which had paralysed the government.

The chief justice has been replaced and the Supreme Court surrounded by troops.

The moves came as the Supreme Court was due to rule on the legality of Gen Musharraf’s October election victory.

The court was to decide whether Gen Musharraf was eligible to run for re-election last month while remaining army chief.

The BBC’s Barbara Plett reports from Islamabad that fears had been growing in the government that the Supreme Court ruling could go against Gen Musharraf.

The year 2007 has been very bad for Pakistan. In March, Musharraf tried to dismiss the Chief Justice and the lawyers came out against the highhandedness of the government, finally forcing Musharraf to let the Supreme Court reinstate the Chief Justice.

In July, there was the action against Red Mosque (Lal Masjid) in Islamabad after the extremist clerics there were given a free hand for months and as a result hundreds were killed. At the time, Amber called it the beginning of the end for Pakistan and to keep an eye on the rapidly deteriorating situation in Pakistan, we decided to subscribe to Geo TV. As it turned out, events spiraled out of control faster than we had thought possible. As Eteraz writes:

Musharraf’s act comes at a time when Pakistan has almost 100,000 troops in the Waziristan region, battling the Taliban. Meanwhile, the country is being hit by almost daily suicide bombings (since July, more than 450 people have been killed by terrorists). Islamist militants recently ambushed and held 250 solders hostage, and another 48 soldiers were paraded as a trophy by a Taliban commander.

Also, something like a war started recently in Swat.

Taleban fighters in Pakistan’s northern district of Swat have paraded 48 paramilitary troops they captured in fighting this week.

The soldiers said they surrendered when their positions on a hilltop were surrounded by armed militants.

More than 2,500 paramilitary troops were sent to Swat last week as fighting in the area worsened.

Nearly 300 soldiers are still being held prisoner further south in the Waziristan tribal region.

The militants in Swat want the imposition of Sharia law.

With suicide bombings occurring everywhere and FATA and Swat in open rebellion by extremists, Pakistan was in a precarious situation. Since Musharraf has been the dictator for 8 years, he must share some of the blame for the situation getting this bad. However, if he wanted to tackle it, he could have proclaimed a constitutional state of emergency which does contain provisions to suspend fundamental rights. But it did not allow him to get rid of the Supreme Court and the High Courts as Musharraf has done. The only reason of doing so is to save his own power.

And that brings us to “I told you so.” On October 12, 1999, I told everyone who would listen that Musharraf was not taking over for the sake of Pakistan or for saving the country from the corrupt politicians like Nawaz Sharif or Benazir Bhutto. He did not act when the country was in peril, but when his own position as Army Chief was threatened. I have always considered him a power-hungry army general in the mold of General Ziaul Haq.

Ziaul Haq sowed the seeds of Pakistan’s current troubles with his Islamization and jihadi policies and today Musharraf is reaping its rewards and acting like Zia II. Having grown up in Zia’s Pakistan and now watching Musharraf’s Pakistan from afar, both these generals look to be the worst nightmare for Pakistan.

I agree with Chapati Mystery here.

Next up? Martial Law. More bombings. And the eventual drain of all that capital that had accumulated in the country in the past 8 years. Zimbabwe, here we come. Unless, US and China can come to their senses and do some actual diplomacy. The status is bleak. Let us say that Musharraf resigns and leaves. The Supreme Court declares an election date, the new government solves the Baluchistan issue, th US redeploys significant troops to Afghanistan (and keeps them there), the Pakistani military combats within cities and mountains of Pakistan. War. Chaos. Uncertainty. And this, my gentle readers, would be the best case scenario. A more likely option is a military state somewhere between Mugabe’s Zimbabwe circa 2005 and Gandhi’s India circa 1976.

However, if I have to give my prediction, my guess is that the army will stay in power for a long time now, but Musharraf’s days are numbered.

By Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer


  1. Déjà vu one word describes the whole article. Lets find a solution, Zia is dead, and Mush is on his way out… So lets brainstorm some ideas.

  2. General Musharraf on, 12th October 1999, has usurped power in a coup against the civil government. The aforementioned action was extra-constitutional, which was though not appreciated but reluctantly accepted by people of Pakistan for time being with this hope that Gen. Musharraf would hold free and fair election and reinstate democracy within the time frame of 3 years as given by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Following his predecessors military rulers, he extended his rule by holding infamous referendum and proclaiming himself as the elected president. In elections 2002, his political stooges and sycophants could not get a simple majority to form a government even after rigging the elections, so he threatened and offered political inducements to the elected parliamentarians of other political parties in order to form the government of his choice. These ugly politics worked well and he eventually succeeded in forming a tamed government. The motive of all these extra-constitutional actions and politically maneuvering were to serve his vested interests and to keep the highest political post of President and military post of chief of the army staff, simultaneously. In 2002, he did not call the first session of the national assemble till the time he was assured that the notorious 17th amendment would be passed by the parliament. In order to achieve his self-serving mission, he played an ugly game not only with political alliance MMA but also with the whole nation by making a false pledge that he would shed his uniform on 31 December, 2004, which he had not fulfilled till today. Once again on the 3rd of November 2007, when he felt that power might go away from him, he has made a second coup and imposed Martial Law without any genuine grounds under the shadow of emergency. To keep the highest political office of president, he once again with the help of army generals derailed the process of democracy, which should not be despised but must be condemned, strongly.

    This time, he committed a despicable crime by attacking the supremacy, integrity and independence of judiciary, which they were showing first time in the history of Pakistan. He tried to undermine their independence and integrity by accusing them that they were taking decisions in the favor of terrorist. Like 9th March 2007, once again he openly attacked on the independence of judiciary by changing the Chief Justice and removing senior judges who refused to accept his new Provision Constitutional Order. In his speech, he charged them for interfering in the matters of the executives and encouraging terrorist, which is completely absurd accusation.

    The fact is that his poor leadership, ugly political tactics and poor policies have increased number of bomb blasts, enhanced frustration and alienation among people, and weaken integration of the federation – not the judicial decisions. Undoubtedly, he attacked on the judiciary because, in the hindsight, he got scared that the Supreme Court of Pakistan might declare recent presidential elections null and void and not allow him to contest presidential election for the next two years. Hence, he imposed emergency or martial law before the announcement of the decision of the Supreme Court. It is a fact that if the Supreme Court had barred him from contesting presidential election, it would have been accordance with the country’s constitution in which it is clearly stated that public servants during service cannot participate in politics. It is evident from his midnight speech on 4th November, 2004 that he is perturbed on the Supreme Court decisions that have gone or will go against him and his corrupt acolytes, therefore, he has now initiated media trial against the judiciary.

    The recent proclamation of Martial Law and suspension of 1973 constitution shows that he is power hungry and can go up to any extent to keep it. He does not have any respect for any institution that takes a stand against his rule. Musharraf is a self proclaimed hero who has never won any war – neither as a solider nor as a president. As a solider he miserably failed in Kargil and as a political leader he failed in integrating the nation.

    For the sake of country existence, provincial integration, democracy, independence of the judiciary and other institutions, we must strongly demand that Gen. Musharraf must step down as President and Chief of the Army Staff forthwith and immediately announce interim government that holds free and fair elections within three months.

    Please sign this petition to support that we all want genuine (not controlled) democracy in Pakistan and disallow any army role in the national politics.

    sign a petition here

  3. G, I quite agree with your assessment of why Mushy decided to take over the govt. I didnt realize it until I read his so-called memoirs.. It is just glaringly obvious that these are all attempts at power.

    When talking about Mushy I have often quoted the following:

    “Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    – lost bedouin ( Starbucklets)

  4. Declaring Martial Law giving name of Emergency appears to be a well prepared plan. Pervez Musharraf has been creating crises after crisis in Pakistan since the start of this year. None of the so-called suicide bombers has so far been recognized. Many people in Pakistan forcefully say that the blasts, including those in Karachi on arrival of Benazir were the handiwork of agencies. Musharraf decided to doff off uniform after having his right-hand man in position to protect him (Musharraf). I will not be surprised if there suddenly comes an announcement that, seeing the situation in the country, General Kiani has taken over in the “best interest of Pakistan” as so far Musharraf has been saying. Military dictator suit American administration.

  5. Pervaz Musharraf has always been power-hungry. He designed Kargil episode to become hero and became zero because he had not revealed the correct position to the then Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif. Then there was chance of a court martial against Pervez Musharraf. God know what stopped Nawaz Sharif from doing so. Later, Pervez Musharraf planned overthrowing of government when Nawaz Shaif was out of Islamabad. When the take-over process started, some-one informed Nawaz Sharif who dashed to Islamabad and signed dismissal orders of Pervez Musharraf but it was too late because when he tried to fax the decision to the President, the telephone lines were not working brcause those had been cut. Army had surrounded Prime Minister house at 5:30 PM. Musharraf’s plae entered Pakistan air space much later at 7:55 PM but Musharraf played highjacking drama.

  6. Some Thoughts on Pakistan

    This martial law is basically a coup against the higher judiciary. While lawyers are protesting, the politicians are still inactive. This might empower the militants. The US must reject dictatorship in Pakistan.

  7. Khurram: Welcome to the blog! I am heartened at the law community but disappointed with the politicians’ response to the emergency. I am not sure what we can do for Pakistan from here.

    lost bedouin: Welcome.

  8. pakistan must split into 5 states, baluchistan , pathanistan, punjab, sind and kashmir… its no good as it is

  9. Black Flag Week

    Aitzaz Ahsan has declared this week to be Black Flag Week to protest for the restoration of the Pakistani judiciary. Let’s all take part in this week.

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