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Pakistan: All Martial and No Law

Categories: South Asia, Pakistan, Breaking News, Human Rights, Media & Journalism, Politics, Protest, Blogger Profiles

If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it is probably a martial law. President Musharraf can call it what he likes, Emergency or Amer-Jensee (as he pronounced in his speech on television) but in all intents and purposes it is martial law [1]. The legality of enforcing such an emergency is more than questionable and the official reason (war on terror) is laughable to say the least. Musharraf could have claimed “aliens are attacking” and it would have been more credible.

Minos’ Mine Kampf presents his analysis of the situation [2] in his inimitable fashion.

Well, the kid gloves are finally off. The smiley mask, too, is slowly being dissolved by the vitriol oozing out of dilated facial pores. Dear Leader San, sans Chaplinesque mustache, stands before us in all his pint-sized totalitarian glory. A strongman-the-laaltein (trans.lantern) for our weird and wonderful times. A Sodomise-’em Hussein in the making. Der Führer Redux in khaki, whom we should face with right arms raised in reverent salutes, chanting Sieg Heil (or else crawl back into our little foxholes and go back to sleep).

In order to address the threat of religious extremism and terrorism, the government cracked down on the judges, lawyers, the media and human rights activists, while the religious extremists and suspected terrorists I suppose let out a collective “phew!” and went about their business.

Pak Affairs explains the reasons for “Martial Law – Lite [3]

Musharraf caught in the middle of this has been trying to strike a balance by appeasing its people and at the same time keeping NATO and US off the limits from entering Pakistani territory. It’s tough to be in Musharraf’s shoes at this point where he is trying to hold the country’s dignity in place and yet not agitate a wounded bear, the US.

The Chief Justice and most of the Supreme Court and high court judges were removed and their replacements were sworn in under the banner of “out with old and in with the new” and the subsequent protests resulted in the arrests of many lawyers. There's a complete blackout on all private Pakistani news channels and it has also been reported that the government has tried to restrict the publication of a supplement on the emergency situation by the Jung newspaper. By the way, Musharraf still believes in press freedom as he claimed in his speech. I guess he was talking about the freedom to get censored by the government.

Silsila-e-Mah-o-Saal asks an important question of supporters of Musharraf [4], while Windmills presents a fable [5] that is worthy of publication as an opinion piece in a broadsheet newspaper in Pakistan.

There were rumours yesterday about President Musharraf being placed under house arrest by a faction of the army who were displeased with his abuse of authority. This rumour resulted in the Karachi stock exchange taking a massive hit. But Freedom and Democracy highlights an interesting video clip from GEO News that discusses the latest Supreme court order [6] that warns Core commanders and servicemen from taking part in unconstitutional activities. Perhaps there was something to this rumour after all. (Although the news clip is in Urdu, the order itself is read out in English).

Baithak presents an update on the media's reaction to the emergency [7].

The anchor persons are saying that the people are angry (at the imposition of Emergency.) But from what we see here, across the channels, the media hosts appear angrier.

Procrastination presents a detailed review of Musharaf's address [8] to the nation. (The post includes excerpts from the speech including the video of the speech.)

You’ll notice the “I” in Musharraf’s speech, i.e. “I did this, I did that” and his conflation of him and Pakistan and how everything he has done and is doing is for Pakistan. That is of course the staple of such speeches, I still remember Zia’s speeches.

Metroblogging Lahore presents a summary of Press views [9] on the situation, while Metroblogging Islamabad highlights the link to the Dawn News channel live web cast [10].

Well, that's it for the current round up on views from the Pakistani blogosphere. I'm off to Karachi (Pakistan) for a short visit. It is short because my wife has placed Martial Law (more appropriately Marital Law) on my trip. She qualifies the reason as War on Terror. Hey, if Musharraf can use that excuse, why can't she!