The Deaf Claque

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The Unsettling Situation Under Musharraf

By Theo O’Brien

President Musharraf, reacting to the current crisis in Pakistan, declared the nation to be in a state of emergency and installed martial law, suspending the country’s constitution. The declaration incited mass protests—primarily by lawyers. The use of military force seems to have accomplished the opposite of its purpose by further contributed to the civil unrest it hoped to quiet.

“The move appeared to be an effort by General Musharraf to reassert his fading power in the face of growing opposition from the country’s Supreme Court, civilian political parties and hard-line Islamists. Pakistan’s Supreme Court was expected to rule within days on the legality of General Musharraf’s re-election last month as the country’s president, which opposition groups have said was improper.” (1)

The president seems to be attempting to restore order and reclaim lost power but it may be his ultimate undoing as political opposition could finally grasp the public attention and support necessary to seize power—although this is currently just speculation.

The U.S. and Pakistan

The United States had insisted on free democratic elections and Musharraf’s withdrawal as military chief but President Musharraf instead defied the American pressure by resorting to military rule—though he has said he planned to step down as the military leader. The United States has urged Pakistan’s President Musharraf to restore civilian rule and to make steps toward a democracy.

Press freedoms have been curbed and independent television stations taken off the air.

Bush said Monday he recognized the threat Musharraf faces from extremists, citing past attempts on Musharraf’s life, but said the emergency measures ‘undermine democracy.’

‘We expect there to be elections as soon as possible and that the president should remove his military uniform,’ Bush said.” (2)

This recent tension between the two countries signifies a possible end to a close relationship founded primarily on a shared desire by both presidents to quell terrorism. Pakistan was considered a key ally in the United States’ war on terror both geographically—Pakistan borders Afghanistan—and politically—many countries have opposed U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

[In light of this current instability in Pakistan—increasing violent Islamic extremists, a president struggling to maintain dominance, censorship of media and rising political opposition to the current regime—it is important to note that the country is currently a nuclear power.]

November 7, 2007 Posted by | George W. Bush, Nuclear weapons, Pakistan, Theo O'Brien | , | Leave a comment