Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Despite Emergency Rule Declaration, Islamic Extremists Seize Pakistani Town
November 6, 2007 10:27 a.m. EST
Julie Farby - AHN News Writer
Islamabad, Pakistan (AHN)-In an effort to clamp down on the growing Islamic militant threat, Pakistan's President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency over the weekend, suspending the constitution, censoring the media, and granting broad powers to police and other authorities to quash dissent.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan's volatile northwest region, Islamic militants seized three police stations and a military post in the town of Matta, after outnumbering Pakistani security and police forces in the area. The security forces reportedly offered no resistance against the militants in the area who swear allegiance to Maulana Fazlullah, a fiery cleric who is accused of fanning dissent by Musharraf.
Despite Musharraff's nationwide crackdown on the media, opposition leaders in Pakistan still managed to call for defiance against the government-led emergency rule declaration.
Deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhury, who is currently under house arrest in the capital of Islamabad, was able to briefly coordinate a telephone conference urging lawyers to revolt against Musharraf's rule of law.
Chaudhury, one of several opposition leaders able to use Musharraf's emergency declaration as a catalyst for renewed protest against the government, said, "I want lawyers to spread my message: the time for sacrifice has come and to stand up for the constitution. There will be no dictatorship."
In response to growing international criticism of Musharraf's emergency declaration, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq said the decision was "purely Pakistan's internal matter," and that parliamentary elections could be delayed by up to three months as a result.
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