Monday, July 23, 2007

Supreme Court Fights Back Against Musharraf

Pakistan's supreme court has overturned Musharraf's suspension of the chief justice. According to The Guardian:

Lawyers and civil society activists whooped with joy at the verdict in favour of Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry - the first time in Pakistan's 60-year history that a civilian has challenged a military leader in court and won. "This is a defining moment for our country - the first time we have true liberty," said Naseer Ullah Khan, a black-suited lawyer on the courthouse steps, where men embraced, shouted, and chanted, "Go, Musharraf, go".

I suspect he won't go without a fight. The pressure is certainly mounting on Musharraf. Just a couple of days ago, The Guardian reported:

A chill has descended over "Mush and Bush", as the Pakistan press dubbed the US-Pakistan axis. And the storming of the Red Mosque 11 days ago - an ostentatious strike against Islamists, killing its leading rebel cleric alongside an unknown number of hostages and students - is unlikely to put him back in favour: this was a seminary Musharraf had let grow since 2002, despite its vociferous endorsement of suicide bombings and the Taliban. While Washington and London continue publicly to characterise Musharraf as the west's best hope of stopping Pakistan's descent into Islamic extremism, in reality they have concluded that it is the general who is easing the path of the jihadis. And he must be stopped.

Gone are the days when he would be warmly described as "one of my best friends" by Bush. So close was the relationship, that the US increased arms exports by 45,000%. Of course, this wouldn't be the first time that a right-wing US administration has armed a dictator. And, as with the previous beneficiary, US troops could soon by operating within his borders. The US has recently been debating military strikes within Pakistan against al-Qaeda. With such mounting pressures, how much longer will it be before Musharraf acts like any other beast that is cornered and lash out at those around him? These are very dangerous times in Pakistan. Faced with two enemies within, and an enemy without, chaos is just around the corner. One must hope that Musharraf can be removed by his own people and democracy, free of foreign interference, can be restored.