Musharraf declares state of emergency

I wondered what was up when Bhutto went back to Dubai duly forewarned by her buddy Musharraf of what was going to happen no doubt.

Musharraf declares state of emergency, jams TV

MSNBC News Services
updated 16 minutes ago
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan on Saturday ahead of a crucial Supreme Court decision on whether to overturn his recent election win and amid rising militant violence.

“The chief of army staff has proclaimed a state of emergency and issued a provisional constitutional order,” a newscaster on Pakistan TV said.

Dozens of police blocked the road in front of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad where judges were believed to be inside.

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup, is also chief of the army. PTV said he would address the nation later Saturday.

The state TV report gave no reason for the emergency but it follows weeks of speculation that he could take the step, amid rising political turmoil and Islamic violence.

The U.S. and other Western allies urged him this week not to jeopardize the country’s transition to democracy. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said Thursday the U.S. would not support any move by Musharaff to declare martial law.

During previous emergencies in Pakistan, a provisional constitutional order has led to the suspension of some basic rights of citizens and for judges to take a fresh oath of office.

“This is the most condemnable act,” said Ahsan Iqbal, a spokesman for the opposition PML-N party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who Musharraf barred from returning to exile to Pakistan in September to mount a campaign against military rule.

“The whole nation will resist this extra-constitutional measure,” he said.

The government blocked transmissions of private news channels in the capital and other cities.

Shahzad Iqbal, an official at a cable TV news provider in Islamabad said authorities were blocking its transmissions of private news channels in the capital and neigboring Rawalpindi. State TV was still on the air.

“The government has done it,” he said.

Residents of Karachi said their cable TV was also off the air.


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