Pakistan Braces for State of Emergency

Stock market reels as Musharraf prepares to expand his powers
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2007 4:47 AM CDT
Pakistani protesters condemn President Pervez Musharraf's government, which carried out an operation against militants holding Islamabad's Red mosque, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 11, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Pervez Musharraf held a meeting this morning to discuss the declaration of a state of emergency in Pakistan, says the Guardian. Although the government claimed that recent suicide attacks and recent belligerent talk from the White House—not to speak of the Barack Obama campaign—may necessitate emergency measures, opponents of Musharraf saw the move as a last-ditch effort to stay in power.

The Islamabad stock market took a dive as Pakistanis speculated on the consequences of a state of emergency: limits to press freedom, postponed elections, and most of all a weakening of the judiciary, lately the main counterbalance to Musharraf's regime. In July the Supreme Court delivered a landmark verdict reinstating its chief justice, whom Musharraf had suspended, and today it hears a petition to end the exile of Benazir Bhutto.