Security & Terrorism Studies
A week after imposing a state of emergency on November 3, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, under relentless pressure from the United States and mounting domestic opposition, announced that general elections would be held before January 9, 2008. Though the President is attempting to brave the storm, his position is much weakened as he takes hurried measures to redress the prevailing situation. He has refused to give a date for lifting the state of emergency and said it might continue even beyond the elections because of the situation on the terrorism front.
Musharraf, who is also the army chief, is rumored to have taken the desperate step as a last minute measure to pre-empt a ruling by the now deposed 11-member bench of the Supreme Court against his re-election to the office of the President, an election he won in October. While the US continues to put pressure on Musharraf and has also demanded that he revoke the emergency and relinquish his position of army chief very soon, it has not demanded the reinstatement of the sacked judges.
Besides the arrests of former Supreme Court judges, lawyers, activists and opposition party leaders and workers, the government has taken a tough stance against the media. The President in his speech castigated the media, specifically the private TV channels, for creating an atmosphere of negativity thus fuelling the executive-judiciary standoff and sentiments against the state in the Red mosque operation called 'Operation Silence'.
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