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Pakistan Suspends Constitution

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As you may or may not have heard (the media here is focusing on the hollywood writer's strike) General Musharaff, the current President of Pakistan, has suspended the constitution and hence the civil rights of his people, declared martial law, closed down all of the commercial broadcast networks, and has started arresting and detaining 1000s of protesters in a governmental crackdown on dissent.

His excuse for doing so, it's needed for the "War on Terror". Most people agree however that it's really a move by him to keep power since the constitution makes him ineligible to keep the office after his current term.

This is significant for the USA on several fronts. The most obvious of course is the fact that George Bush is giving Pakistan $80M/month in financial aid for their efforts on the War on Terror and there are plans to sell them advanced fighter jets and other military equipment. Less obvious however is this is another example of the Bush Administration's failures, despite the promises to bring democracy to the area.

Finally, and the point of this topic, could the excuse of the War on Terror be used to pull off the same thing here in the USA and would Americans even protest it much?

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It wouldn't surprise me b/c GWB is capble of anything. The fact that Musharaff was basically a lame duck and on his way out the door shows that nobody wanted him there. The UN has urged Pakistan to go on as usual with the presidential election, and if my memory serves me right, the BBC website said that the Pakistani PM confirmed that are.

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A line from CNN today about this:

Musharref supposedly had the support of Allah, the military, and the U.S. It appears that he is about to lose the support of the military and the U.S. so I hope he has a lot of faith.

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the scariest thing about the situation in pakistan... is that is an unstable "nuclear" country. we seem to constantly worry about countries getting their hands on nulear warhead capabilities, but what about the countries that already have the capability. with all the fanaticism in pakistani region... it's a scary thought.

we had to know that the U.S. could only prop up mushariff's government - for so long. of course, i hope that they can get the unrest under control.

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President Pervez Musharraf's actions appear to have been prompted over fears of Pakistan's internal stability breaking down as a result of moderate forces winning the upcoming scheduled elections. Rightly or wrongly it appears Musharraf feared a electoral victory by a coalition led by former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto would lead to violent civil unrest by the nation's radical islamic factions, which in turn could lead to a civil conflict and/or an internal coup by radical elements within Pakistan's powerful Inter-Service Intellgence (ISI) service and/or other branches of the armed services.

Under such a scenario a key US regional ally, albeit not always the most capable due to the aformentioned internal issues, would be lost and its nuclear arsenal put into jeopardy. Whether or not this would have occured had elections been held is debatable, but recent events over the last few years indicates the sizable militant factions within Pakistan were increasingly turning towards violence as a means to an end.

The US does not face the same destabilizing internal elements and pressures that a state like Pakistan does, thus any comparison to a similar event in US would be like comparing apples to oranges. I am confident though that no suspension of the US Constitution or coup attempt could succeed in the US due to the checks and balances in place within our government and due to the fact our military takes an oath to uphold and protect the US Constitution.

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I forgot to mention Musharraf almost certianly feared that the Pakistani Supreme Court was likely to rule against his recent election to a third term as unconstitional, and since he views himself -and his control of the Pakistani military- as the only thing keeping Pakistan from collapsing and/or becoming an Islamist State, his motives can be seen as even more apparent.

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the scariest thing about the situation in pakistan... is that is an unstable "nuclear" country. we seem to constantly worry about countries getting their hands on nulear warhead capabilities, but what about the countries that already have the capability. with all the fanaticism in pakistani region... it's a scary thought.

we had to know that the U.S. could only prop up mushariff's government - for so long. of course, i hope that they can get the unrest under control.

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The BBC is reporting in this article that Pakistani government officials are stating that elections will go ahead on their scheduled date next January.

The internal crackdown and strict media controls will almost certianly be used to control the election's outcome to one that will produce a majority made up of parties and officials inclined to support his policies just as occured in the boycotted 2002 elections.

One has to wonder that with a new friendly parliament if his first order of business will not be to go about replacing the current Judiciary Branch, esp. the Surpreme Court, with one more of his liking.

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^I am not sure that elections mean much when the press has been closed down, independent broadcasters shutdown or jammed, and anyone disagreeing with Mussaraff is arrested and thrown in jail or worse.

The USA finds itself now between a rock and a hard place. They either continue to fund the government of a dictator to control his people using brutal methods. ($80M - $100M/month buys a lot of enforcement) or let the government fall and be taken over by someone not willing to be bought out by US money and hence take over control of their nuclear weapons.

I can imagine this is the result of the Bush/Cheney approach to foreign policy. First the war in Iraq too the focus off the real enemy in the middle east, the Taliban, and in the last few years they have completely restored themselves along the Afghanastan/Pakistan border. That has led to the current situation in in Pakistan. Second, Bush/Cheney went against 200 years of American policy and actually started a war. They called it a preemptive war, but the reality is they attacked a county that posed no danger to the USA. In doing so, the USA lost all moral ground on what is right and wrong and made it possible to people like Musharaff to claim legitimacy when they do exactly the same thing. The only thing that "premtive wars" prevent is peace.

While Americans were gleefully pouring french wine in the sewers, getting fat while eating their freedom fries, and waving American flags, our government was busy laying the grounds for disaster in the middle east and now we see another result of it. Bush now has 3 wars (including the proxy war between israel and lebanon), 2 destroyed countries, tens of millions of displaced, hundreds of thousands dead, the destruction of a new democracy, and the entire world hating us for it. Unfortunately I don't see the end coming.

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This is significant for the USA on several fronts. The most obvious of course is the fact that George Bush is giving Pakistan $80M/month in financial aid for their efforts on the War on Terror and there are plans to sell them advanced fighter jets and other military equipment.

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How U.S. friendly is the ex-Prime Minister who would be Musharref's main opponent in elections?

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How U.S. friendly is the ex-Prime Minister who would be Musharref's main opponent in elections?

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