Our Pal The Dictator
Pakistan is our ally.
President 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 Islamabad and took all but state television off air despite calls from Washington and other Western allies not to take authoritarian measures [...]
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.
"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," he said.
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.
Musharraf replaced the chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry — 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.
Sound familiar? Jeez, I think Bush was taking notes.
Let's review the 6 years of Pakistan being a "strong ally in the war on terror," which the Pentagon actually had the gall to reiterate today. Since 9-11 they:
• Reluctantly dropped diplomatic ties with the Taliban
• Signed a peace treaty with Al Qaeda
• Banished the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
• Reacted to their top nuclear scientist selling nuclear secrets to rogue states by putting him "under house arrest" in an expansive villa (and they don't even watch him anymore)
• Declared martial law
The spate of terrorist attacks in the NW region, which have spread south to areas around the capital, were a pretext. Musharraf waited until Bhutto was out of the country, and just before the ruling on whether or not he could continue to serve as President, to declare the state of emergency.
You ought not be surprised that Musharraf is close to Vice President Cheney.
I remember Jon Stewart having this thug on his show and giving him tea and yukking it up. That won't be good for posterity.