For those of you who might have missed what is going on in Pakistan The Reader’s Digest version is that over the past several months the leader of Pakistan General Pervez Musharraf has been attempting to maintain control over the military and the government, while subduing political opposition. In his attempts to maintain pseudo-dictatorial powers Musharraf has, among other things, deported opposition leaders, suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and (not that I am complaining) raided militant Mosques. Needless to say opposition party members were/are not happy.
These problems all came to a head last night when Musharraf declared emergency rule over Pakistan. This action curtailed constitutional safeguards on life and liberty, restricts freedom of movement, banned the Pakistani Supreme Court from rescinding emergency order, and a few other things; basically Pakistan is Musharraf-land now. In response Condi Rice and the White House gang demanded “a quick return to constitutional law” and opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto commented that “this is not an emergency…this is martial law.”
This situation creates a very interesting conundrum for the Bush Administration. Musharraf has been a supporter of The War on Terror, receiving billions of dollars of American aid since 2001, but it is very debatable how effective he has been. So does democracy loving America support a friendly dictator or a new possibly anti-American government that comes about via the will of the people?
Rice has already has stated that “obviously we are going to have to review the situation with aid.” That could be a bluff or a serious threat, only time will tell. But, this is a major but, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell stated the emergency declaration ``does not impact our military support of Pakistan'' …so what Codi targeted sanctions against Musharraf’s favorite booze?
Maybe the course of Musharraf’s and America’s actions in the coming days and weeks will come down to a very simple equation: does Musharraf need America more? Or does America need Musharraf more?