Questions and answers on the Pakistan crisis. from theStar.com
Q: Why did Musharraf declare a state of emergency in Pakistan?
A: Musharraf cited a need to limit terrorist attacks from rising Islamist extremism. Pakistan has suffered 23 suicide attacks by Islamist militants in the past four months. He also blamed a meddling Supreme Court for leaving the government system “semi-paralyzed.” Critics say Musharraf’s main motivation was to tighten his personal grip on power by pre-empting a looming Supreme Court decision that could have invalidated his Oct. 6 re-election, because he contested while still army chief.
Q: So what did Musharraf do?
A: He fired independent-minded judges, put a stranglehold on the media and granted sweeping powers to the authorities to crush dissent. Thousands of people have been rounded up and thrown in jail.
Q: Why should Musharraf give up his army uniform?
A: Under the constitution, Musharraf can’t run for another term while serving both as president and military leader. He has promised to lead Pakistan into a civilian-led democracy, which wouldn’t be possible if he were still army chief.
Q: Why is Musharraf so reluctant to give up his army job?
A: Musharraf has long resisted calls to shed his uniform for fear that as a civilian president he would lose his tight grip on the forces in a country with a history of military intervention. As army chief, he controls appointments and promotions of army officers.
Q: Why we should be concerned about the Pakistan crisis?
A: Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal. The risk of political instability frequently raises concerns that Islamist radicals could gain control of the weapons.
Q: Why has the US supported Musharraf?
A: US says Pakistan’s help is crucial in efforts to find Islamist militants hiding along its border with Afghanistan.
Courtesy Q & A from theStar.com