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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan ó

Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan's constitution and deployed troops in the capital Saturday, declaring that rising Islamic extremism had forced him to take emergency measures. He also replaced the nation's chief justice and blacked out the independent media that refused to support him.

Authorities began rounding up opposition politicians, cut phone lines in the capital and took all but the state television station off air despite calls from Washington and other Western allies not to take authoritarian measures.

The U.S. called for Musharraf to restore democracy. However, the Pentagon said the emergency declaration does not affect U.S. military support for Pakistan and its efforts in the war on terrorism. Britain said it was deeply concerned.

Musharraf's leadership is threatened by an increasingly defiant court, the reemergence of political rival and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and an Islamic movement that has spread to Islamabad. Analysts said the measures Saturday may only postpone his political demise.

In a televised address, Musharraf, looking somber and composed and wearing a black tunic rather than his usual military fatigues, said Pakistan was at a "dangerous" juncture, its government threatened by Islamic extremists.

"The extremism has even spread to Islamabad, and the extremists are taking the writ of the government in their own hands, and even worse they are imposing their obsolete ideas on moderates," the president.

Musharraf replaced the chief justice of the Supreme Court _ who had emerged as the main check on his power _ before a crucial Supreme Court ruling on his future as president. His emergency order accused some judges of "working at cross purposes with the executive" and "weakening the government's resolve" to fight terrorism.

He criticized the Supreme Court for failing to make a ruling yet on whether to validate his contentious victory in a presidential election, and for punishing government officers, including police. He said this had left the government system "semi-paralyzed."

Seven of the 17 Supreme Court judges immediately rejected the emergency, which suspended the current constitution. Paramilitary troops blocked entry to the Supreme Court building and erected road blocks and barred access to the official residences of lawmakers and judges. They later took the deposed chief justice and other judges away in a convoy, witnesses said.

Musharraf said he hoped democracy would be restored following parliamentary elections.

"But, in my eyes, I say with sorrow that some elements are creating hurdles in the way of democracy," said Musharraf, who was wearing civilian clothes and spoke firmly and calmly. "I think this chaos is being created for personal interests and to harm Pakistan."

Rick Barton, a Pakistan expert at the Washington-based Center for International and Strategic Studies, said Musharraf's move would likely only postpone his political downfall.

"He's obviously not very popular, and it's not going to increase his popularity," Barton said. "Unless he's develops a new line or is able to be more effective with his old line, he seems to be just buying time, an inevitable delay to his demise."

The order drew swift complaints from the United States and Britain _ Musharraf's main Western allies. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged restraint on all sides and a return to democracy.

The United States "does not support extraconstitutional measures," Rice said from Turkey, where she was participating in a conference with Iraq's neighbors.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, however, said the emergency declaration "does not impact our military support of Pakistan" or its efforts in the war on terror.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup and has been a close ally of the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, has struggled to contain Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants who have gained control of large tracts of the volatile northwest near Afghanistan. Hundreds have died in fighting in recent weeks.

In the once peaceful tourist resort of Swat, scores of troops have surrendered to militants who on Saturday raised a jihadist flag over a police station.

The violence has also reached major cities with deadly suicide attacks such as Islamabad and Karachi despite substantial financial backing from the United States for the war on terrorism.

Musharraf claimed that 61 terrorists have been freed on order from the court _ an apparent reference a case that has been led by the now-deposed chief justice to press authorities over suspects held by intelligence agencies without charge.

"Extremists are openly roaming," he said "And no one knows whether any of the these freed men were behind recent bomb attacks."

Bhutto, a longtime rival of Musharraf who recently returned from eight years of exile, is seen by many supporters as key to a possible return to democracy. She flew back to the southern city of Karachi from Dubai where she was visiting family. She had traveled abroad in the wake of an Oct. 18 suicide attack that narrowly missed her but killed 145 others.

She declared the emergency was the "blackest day" in Pakistan's history.

After her arrival at Karachi's Airport, Bhutto said she did not believe there would be fair elections as long as emergency rule remained in place.

"Unless General Musharraf reverses the course it will be very difficult to have fair elections," she told Sky News television by telephone. "I agree with him that we are facing a political crisis, but I believe the problem is dictatorship, I don't believe the solution is dictatorship.

"The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs extremists."

She left the airport under police escort; her house was surrounded by paramilitary troops.

The government halted all television transmissions in major cities other than state-controlled Pakistan TV. Telephone service in the capital, Islamabad, was cut.

Musharraf said some independent TV channels had contributed to the uncertainty in the country.

In justification, the emergency order obtained by The Associated Press said "the constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures," it said.

Pakistanis have increasingly turned against the government of Musharraf, who failed earlier this year to oust Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry _ the chief justice replaced Saturday.

It was not clear whether U.S. officials had advance knowledge of Saturday's action.

Rice said that to her knowledge, U.S. officials had yet to hear directly from Musharraf after his declaration. She said she last spoke with Musharraf a couple days ago but that other U.S. officials had made the American position clear to him more recently.

Rice would not detail the conversations, but did say the U.S. told Pakistani leaders that "even if something happens, that we would expect the democratic election to take place because Pakistan has got to return to a constitutional order as soon as possible, and Pakistanis have to have a prospect of free and fair elections."

Crucial parliamentary elections meant to restore civilian rule are due by January. Musharraf himself was overwhelmingly re-elected last month by the current parliament, dominated by his ruling party, but the vote was challenged.

The Supreme Court has emerged this year as the main check on Musharraf's dominance and is due to issue a verdict on whether he could run for president while still serving as army chief before his current term expires Nov. 15.

He said there would be no change in the government and its top offices, and parliament _ set to dissolve by Nov. 15 _ would complete its term. He did not say when parliamentary elections due by January would be held.

Analysts said Musharraf was on shaky legal ground in his re-election by lawmakers last month _ a vote that was boycotted by most of the opposition _ but they still expected the court to rule in his favor to prevent further destabilizing Pakistan.

However in recent days, some judges had made comments that they would not be swayed by threats from senior officials that an emergency might be declared if the court ruled against the general.

The seven Supreme Court judges rejected the declaration of emergency and ordered top officials, including the prime minister, and military officers not to comply with it. The two-page ruling said there were no grounds for an emergency "particularly for the reasons being published in the newspapers that a high profile case is pending and is not likely to be decided in favor of the government."

At least seven trucks brought armed police and paramilitary ranger troops to Constitution Avenue that passes in front of the court, Parliament and the official residences of the president and prime minister.

Paramilitary troops behind rolled barbed wire blocked access to an official compound housing lawmakers _ barring even wives, children and even a ruling party senator from entering.

Musharraf's order allows courts to function but suspends some fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution, including freedom of speech. It also allows authorities to detain people without informing them of the charges.

Private Geo TV reported the arrest of the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Aitzaz Ahsan _ a lawyer for Chaudhry in the case that led to his reinstatement in July.

With telephone lines cut, it was not possible to contact government spokesmen for confirmation.

Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister who was deported in September as he tried to return from exile, condemned the emergency and said Musharraf should resign. He urged Pakistanis to rise against Musharraf. What do you guys make of all this?

Sounds to me like the Us may need to deploy some troops in the future.
Sounds to me like the Us may need to deploy some troops in the future.

Or it could mind its own fucking business for once and then maybe everyone wouldn't hate them in the first place.
Yeah, lets look at reality for a change and not delve into Psycholand, K?
actually, pretty much everyone outside the US thinks like psycho, including me.

QUOTE(Bain @ Nov 4 2007, 05:01 AM) [snapback]1373183[/snapback]


And people around the world wonder why America doesnt give a fuck about them, either..........

Maybe if people would spend their effort on things other than anti American sentiment, they could figure out how to be as powerful as us.
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