Pervez Musharraf defended his 10-day-old emergency rule today, rejecting the US demand to lift it quickly and saying the edict is meant to protect elections. In a Times interview, Pakistan’s president said, “I don’t know, I don’t know” when asked the duration of the suspension of the constitution and the Supreme Court, and the jailing of 2,500 opponents.
Musharraf said Benazir Bhutto was “producing negative vibes” and is under house arrest to prevent incidents she could blame on the government. He said Western media overstates the importance of human rights advocates and, by extension, the level of Bhutto’s support. Meanwhile, the State Department said veteran diplomat John Negroponte, a deputy secretary of state, will visit Islamabad this week to push for a resolution to the situation.