World media condemns ‘black Saturday’ in Pakistan

November 14th, 2007 - 8:23 am ICT by admin  
British daily ‘The Telegraph’ said in its analytical story ‘General will fail to rule through fear’ by Ahmed Rashid, that the emergency declaration was long expected, but when the crackdown finally came, it was far harsher than most Pakistanis could have imagined.

“Judges, journalists, political workers and almost anyone who had publicly criticised the regime over the past few months was under threat of being detained,” the paper said.

Rashid wrote that despite the power of the massive military machine at his disposal, Musharraf has also signed away his chances of a long political survival. Never before in Pakistan’s long, tortured history of martial law and states of emergency has a general so massively unpopular tried to sustain his rule by force of arms.

“His political support collapsed months ago after lawyers, middle-class professionals and the entire opposition demanded that he hold general elections and return the country to civilian rule,” he added.

The daily said that over the past few days, Western ambassadors have been urging Musharraf not to take any drastic steps. But, by all accounts, he feared that the increasingly strident Supreme Court would rule against him remaining President for another five years.

Pointing out that how long the army stays with Musharraf was the most important question, the article said the army knows that it would become even less popular as a result of this state of emergency and the fact that he remains both army chief and President.

“Sooner rather than later, he will become a liability for the army and it will be easier to blame him for Pakistan’s ills rather than the entire military establishment. That could set in motion another coup,” it added.

Another leading UK daily ‘Guardian’ published its lead story on the development under the heading “‘Desperate’ Musharraf declares martial law.”

The story said that Musharraf imposed emergency rule, “plunging the nuclear power into crisis and triggering condemnation from leaders around the world.”

‘The Independent’ said that the President took advantage of former premier Benazir Bhutto’s absence abroad to suspend the Constitution and disband the Supreme Court days before it was due to rule on the legality of his recent election.

Omar Waraich and Andrew Buncombe quoted observers as terming the move as nothing other than a blatant move by the general to cement his leadership amid a growing belief that the Supreme Court was going to invalidate his recent election victory.

The paper said the move by General Musharraf would be of “huge embarrassment to the US, which has long backed the military leader politically and financially.”

US daily ‘The New York Times’ also saw the move as an effort by Musharraf to reassert his fading power in the face of growing opposition from the country’s apex court, political parties and hard-line Islamists.

“The emergency act, which analysts and opposition leaders said was more a declaration of martial law, also boldly defied the Bush administration, which had repeatedly urged Musharraf to avoid such a path and instead move toward democracy,” the paper said.

“Washington has generously backed the general, sending him more than 10 billion dollars in aid since 2001, mostly for the military. Now, the administration finds itself in the bind of having to publicly castigate the man it has described as one of its closest allies in fighting terrorism,” it added. (ANI)

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