Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pakistan - 'Martial Law' declared

President Pervez Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and imposed martial law. The constitution has been suspended, TV & radio stations have been taken off the air, and telephone lines have been cut in major cities according to reports on CNN.

The US is said to have opposed the imposition of martial law. Akbar Ahmed, a former ambassador to the UK speaking on CNN said, “It is a sad day for democracy in Pakistan”.

The British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband, said he was “gravely concerned” over the situation, and called for a swift return to democracy. The US Secretary of State said she was “deeply disturbed” by the events in Pakistan and added that the US did not back the “extra constitutional measure” [BBC / Sky News]

According to ABC news in the US, “The United States urged Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, not to do it. But he did it. He imposed emergency rule. He ignored appeals from the United States and other Western governments despite a stern face-to-face warning Friday from an American commander, Adm. William Fallon.” The situation in Pakistan will further sour ties between the two countries which has long been considered a strong ally in the War on Terror.
CBS said Benazir Bhutto had been sitting on board a plane at Karachi when martial law was declared. She expressed fears she might be arrested. “She is waiting to see if she is going to be arrested or deported," Wajid Hasan, her spokesman said after speaking to the former Pakistani prime minister by telephone from London.

Meanwhile the White House has called on Musharraf to step down as leader of the military and not to go back on his pledge of January elections.

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