Pakistan govt to impose emergency if SC decision delayed

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Islamabad, Nov 2 (UNI) The Pakistan government has decided to impose emergency in the country, if not martial law, if the Supreme Court delays the decision on the eligibility of President Pervez Musharraf.

The Nation newspaper quoted official sources as saying that while the government has taken the decision on emergency, it is considering at the highest level when to impose it: before the SC verdict or after it.

The court hearing petitions challenging Gen Musharraf's re-election today decided that it would hear the case for two days - Monday and Tuesday next week and then on November 12-14.

''Every effort will be made to decide the case in a shortest possible time,'' presiding judge Javed Iqbal said as the Attorney General Malik Muhammad Qayyum categorically denied any intentions on part of President Pervez Musharraf to either impose emergency or martial law in the country.

But the newspaper report claimed that the government is all set to enforce emergency in case SC announces its decision after November 15, when the assemblies will be no more there and President also will be required to shed his uniform.

The official circles believe that SC will announce its decision after November 15 when the President would be left with very little options.

There is also a strong perception among the people close to President that the SC verdict will be against President though it may be a divided one. Sources say that there is a greater likelihood of emergency imposition before the SC's decision.

The first causality with the imposition of emergency will be the forthcoming elections, which are due in the middle of January next year.

Once emergency is imposed, the tenure of National Assembly will be extended while the country will come under governor rule controlled by the federal government along with the dismantling of political governments in the provinces though the same Prime Minister will continue to function.

The powers will be transferred to the governors in the provinces while the political elements will be completely isolated.

It is learnt that President Musharraf wants to keep a minimum of political fatade, engaging political leaders at levels, centre and provinces. The idea is to form small governments at centre and provinces including the political leaders.

The government is deliberating upon a legal framework through which the inclusion of political elements in the future governments will be made possible.

The President does want wholly apolitical governments. It is also being deliberated if the state of emergency could be imposed through an act of parliament.

Sources disclosed that the government has already taken the US government into confidence over the imposition of emergency in Pakistan in view of lingering uncertainty and prevailing law and order situation in NWFP.

The US government, which was earlier, opposed to any idea of imposition of emergency and delay of elections, is now on board with the government if it presses ahead with its decision.

The Press in the US has been supportive of the emergency imposition. It is believed in the US that President needs more power to deal with the situation in the frontier region, probably, to justify emergency imposition that will provide extraordinary powers to President to deal any situation.


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