Pakistanis in US are ’shocked, sad and deeply concerned’ over emergency rule

November 14th, 2007 - 8:24 am ICT by admin  
Citing the increasing terrorist activities in the country and the clash between the judiciary with the executive as the reasons, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf imposed a state of emergency yesterday.

Reacting to this, cardiologist Anees Ahsan, 51, said that two months ago, he used to support Musharraf as he was defeating extremists. Now, Ahsan said, he sees Musharraf as less interested in free government than in preserving his power, the Washington Post reported.

“This is an extremely sad scenario in the tragic history of Pakistan,” said Ahsan, who lives in Clarksville.

“Even if you loved him before, how can you like a guy who sacks Supreme Court justices and declares the constitution null and void?” he added.

Pakistanis living in Washington said that Musharraf should step down before holding free elections; while others worried that unrest could quickly escalate into civil war.

Many Pakistani Americans said they never imagined that Musharraf would grab power to hold on to office. In addition to suspending the constitution, Musharraf removed the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice and other dissenting judges from their positions.

“It’s a very sad moment, because it’s a huge step backwards politically for us,” said Shuja Nawaz, 59, an Alexandria political analyst who recently wrote a book about the Pakistani army.

“If this was solely aimed at fighting the terrorists, there would be no need to replace judges,” the daily quoted Nawaz, as saying.

Shaukat Malik, 54, said that Musharraf essentially declared martial law and should resign rather than leave Pakistanis powerless against a military dictatorship.

On the other hand, some were of the opinion that Musharraf acted with good intentions, and they said that the President would keep control temporarily to restore order along the Afghanistan border until free elections can be held.

“We all were hoping they were going to have a fair election, but suddenly I don’t know,” said Shaista Mahmood, 49, a homemaker in Mount Vernon.

She and her husband, businessman Ray Mahmood, hoped that Musharraf would now be able to do more to stop the increase in terrorist attacks.

“In fairness to the President, I’m sure he did this because there have been a lot of suicide bombings in Pakistan,” said Ray Mahmood, adding, “Maybe he did it to get things under control and then he’ll hold an election.”

The Mahmoods and others said they would keep a close eye on the developments taking pace in the days to come to see how both the Pakistani people and the US Government react.

“It’s very important that things go in the right direction,” Ray Mahmood said, “because the stability of Pakistan is important for keeping the whole region stabilized.” (ANI)

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