The Pakistani State of Emergency
November 6, 2007
On November 3, Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, declared a state of emergency, clamping down on the press and electronic media, firing the chief justice and many other judges, and suspending normal civil rights protections in the constitution. In the formal proclamation he based this action on two things: the extremist violence that has plagued Pakistan since July, which was mentioned very briefly, and the judiciary's newfound activism that has interfered with the operation of government, which got nine paragraphs. In the first two days, hundreds of people have been arrested, including political activists from both nonreligious and religious parties; the chief justice; human rights activists; and lawyers who had come out to demonstrate against the emergency. The national parliament and the provincial assemblies will continue to exist for the time being but are unlikely to pose any kind of challenge to the executive.