Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf today declared “emergency rule,” resulting in the suspension of the nation’s constitution, dismissal of the Supreme Court’s chief justice, and severe restrictions on independent and international media. The New York Times reports:
The emergency act, which analysts and opposition leaders said was more a declaration of martial law, also boldly defied the Bush administration, which had repeatedly urged General Musharraf to avoid such a path and instead move toward democracy. Washington has generously backed the general, sending him more than $10 billion in aid since 2001, mostly for the military. Now the administration finds itself in the bind of having to publicly castigate the man it has described as one of its closest allies in fighting terrorism.
In June, the Washington Post reported that “Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney’s office. The vice president…is close to Musharraf and refuses to brook any U.S. criticism of him.”