Saturday, November 3, 2007

Under seige

Today's state of emergency declaration by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who sent troops into the streets, suspended the country's constitution and Supreme Court, and jammed private television broadcasts, is yet another challenge to the Bush administration's idea of foreign policy. Musharraf, who seized power in a coup eight years ago but is considered a vital ally in the war on terror, is supported by billions of dollars in U.S. economic and military assistance. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice condemned the emergency declaration but urged calm. Musharraf defended the move -- necessitated, he said, by threats against the state by Islamic extremists. But critics have long said Musharraf has been planning to assume emergency powers to avoid an expected ruling by Pakistan's Supreme Court barring him from continuing as chief of the military while president. Arrests of pro-democracy activists are expected, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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