In tonight’s Daily Times there is a well done analysis of the Emergency order and it’s probable outcomes and effects. I normally do not copy articles whole, but this is a historic and important time, so here it is:
Several points are interesting and significant about last night’s political rupture.
1: We have a state of martial law, whatever the government may say and however long it may last. The Proclamation of Emergency (PE) and the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO) have been signed by the “Chief of Army Staff”, General Pervez Musharraf, and not by “President” Musharraf or Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. In fact, a PCO is an extra constitutional deviation and only an army chief can order it.
2: The constitution has accordingly been “held in abeyance”. But significantly, the PCO says that the country will continue to be governed, “as nearly as possible” by the constitution. But where there is any other departure from the constitution apart from what is contained in the PCO and the PE from now onwards, it will be at the behest of the “President” and not the COAS. In other words, General Musharraf’s presidency has been confirmed and upheld by the PCO.
WARNING: This is neither news nor fact, this is 100% speculation on my part, I could be partially or wholly wrong in any of the following.
The timing of the Emergency Rule declaration leads me to believe that Musharraf has tired of the court’s dragging out of the challenges to his election as President of Pakistan. Come November 15th, he would be outside of constitutional authority if he did not either remove the uniform or resign as President. He wants to ensure that he has some position in directing Pakistan’s future, but there are only 12 days to go until he would hit the limbo of being uncertain of any position.
If he waits and they don’t make the decision and he hung up the uniform before the Supreme court decided, then he could be declared illegal as a candidate for president, and lose both the fallback of Chief of Army staff, and the future as President. I suspect he got tired of waiting on his long time political opponents, the Chaudry’s, to decide. It also makes me wonder if he had not given the court a deadline to decide by.
The Globe and Mail is reporting that Pakistan’s President Chief of Army Staff Musharraf has declared a state of emergency and suspended the constitution of Pakistan. This gives him near-dictatorial powers, and is highly concerning for the future freedom of the state.
UPDATE: Musharraff as The Chief of Army Staff declared the state of emergency, not as President Musharraf — this could be a Coup in the shaping; or it could be a ploy to get the court to finish the deliberations on the challenges prior to the November 15th date when Musharraf’s holding of two offices definitely becomes unconstitutional. (note: although Musharraf was elected President and has appointed a successor as COAS, he’s still technically the Chief, so the state of emergency IS from Musharraf, but under the office of Army Chief of Staff)