Government officials in Pakistan have moved to quash rumours that the President is going to declare a state of emergency following recent violent incidents across the country. Several Pakistani media sources have reported that Pervez Musharraf is ready to adopt emergency presidential powers to tackle fundamentalist Muslim unrest.
This has been denied by the country’s Information Minister, but his deputy, Tariq Azim, has been more ambiguous:
“There is no decision so far. There are options available to the government and I think it would be an irresponsible government which does not keep all the options open. We have considered various options. Emergency powers are one option if the law and order situation further deteriorates.”
A siege at Islamabad’s Red Mosque, a spate of suicide bomb attacks, and mounting Taliban and al-Qaeda influence in the Waziristan region would be the justification for the move. However it would be unacceptable to opposition leaders such as Liaqat Baluch:“If there is a move to impose emergency presidential powers on the people of Pakistan then we would have to resist this supra-constitutional action.” Any state of emergency would probably delay elections due by the end of this year.