Sunday, November 04, 2007

A late night Pakistani Roundup

Today Dawn is calling it General Musharraf's second coup. "A virtual martial law." "A long charge sheet on the judiciary" including:

...(blaming) the judiciary’s interference for having “weakened the writ of the government, the police force ... been completely demoralised and losing its efficacy to fight terrorism, and intelligence agencies ... thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists.”

While “some hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released,” it said and added: “The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property.

Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies (were) subdued.”

Personal freedoms have been curtailed.
The fundamental rights suspended by the PCO related to security of persons (article 9) safeguard as to arrest and detention (article 10), freedom of movement (article 15), freedom of assembly, (article 16) freedom of association (article 17), freedom of speech (article 19), and equality of citizens (article 25).

200 captive soldiers released after govt frees 25 'militants'. Hope this doesn't mean that Musharraf is caving into the demands of the Taliban/AQ in the Northwestern Provinces... It does not sound good.

General Waheed said the militant group gave the tribal jirga an “understanding” that foreign militants would be “expelled” from Mehsud areas and security forces would not be attacked if their positions in the area did not change.

Hudna or just another sign that the military has caved/surrendered/submitted to the militant Taliban in the restive provinces? Bazaars in Swat start reopening.
The Bazaars in Mingora, Matta and Khawarakhela of Swat scenic valley have started opening after closure for many days due to ongoing clash between the security forces and militants. The Bazaars were reopened as a result ceasefire brokered by local scholars and dignitaries, who held talks with the militants, the sources said. Law and order situation has started improving after the reopening of Bazaars and shops in the said areas.

The media blackout is still on. From Gulf News in Qatar:
“It is absolutely ridiculous,” Aaj TV’s director of news and current affairs Talat Hussian said.
Hussain, who also conducts a critical talk show with lawyers and politicians, said his channel had been singled out by Musharraf, who also alluded to Aaj TV in his overnight address.

In announcing his emergency decree, the president also declared a clampdown on the vibrant private media, which he said was “promoting negativism and uncertainty.”

The edict bars stations from explicitly covering militant and terrorist strikes, and telecasting content “inciting violence or hatred or any action prejudicial to maintenance of law and order.”
It banned broadcasts that could be regarded as defaming the president, military personnel and other primary state organs.

The blogosphere is spotty. Or not.
News-hungry Pakistanis relied on web services to keep themselves abreast of the fast-changing scenario, but later that too proved ineffective due to heavy Internet traffic.

Huh. I did not know that ISI chief Hamid Gul had been arrested:
Former chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Hamid Gul was arrested here on Sunday in continuing crackdown by the government in emergency-ruled Pakistan... Gul had been at the centre of a controversy after media reports suggested that he was one of the persons named by former premier Benazir Bhutto as posing a threat to her life.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan has given the police the slip.
Leading Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan has escaped from his home in Lahore hours after police put him under house arrest following the imposition of emergency rule by President Pervez Musharraf.

"He was detained along with eight supporters at the house. The supporters are at home but he has slipped away," a close relative told Reuters. "Police are still outside the house."

And lawyers have a protest planned for November 5. They're called the BLACK COATS in this article.

The Pakistani ambassador to the US is confident we understand. (wink-wink) Guess he hasn't gotten a chance to talk to Joe Biden. But the Pentagon comes out strong for Musharraf. And interestingly enough, it's even being bandied about that the coup will bode well for the Pakistani capital markets. Or not.