View Full Version : Musharraf Lifts Emergency Rule In Pakistan

12-15-2007, 11:35 AM
Musharraf lifts emergency rule in Pakistan


By Natalie Paris and agencies
Last Updated: 10:24am GMT 15/12/2007

President Pervez Musharraf has lifted Pakistan's six-week-old state of emergency and restored the constitution, easing a controversial crackdown that sparked fury among his opponents.

The imposition of emergency rule also raised serious concerns with his Western supporters who urged the president to restore democracy.

Information Minister Nisar Memon declared it a "historic day" as he confirmed that Musharraf had signed an order lifting the emergency.

The president is expected to appear on television and radio to address the nation tonight.

Opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said: "We consider the lifting of the state of emergency an important step forward.

"But more needs to be done for the restoration of democracy."

Meanwhile, two soldiers and three civilians were killed near a Pakistani army camp by a suicide bomber on a bicycle, underscoring a growing number of insurgent attacks this year in which hundreds of people have been killed.

Musharraf suspended the constitution and imposed the emergency on November 3, purging the Supreme Court to fend off challenges to his re-election, which new hand-picked judges later rubber-stamped.

Some lawyers and judges, including Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, who were deposed by Musharraf are still under house arrest.

The president still faces criticism at home and abroad however that the January 8 ballot will be flawed.

Moves that he made on Friday to tweak the constitution and shore up his legal defences appeared to confirm the opinion of many legal experts that the president's case had been weak.

Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum told the Associated Press the president removed a condition from the charter stating that civil servants had to wait two years after their retirement before running for elected office.

Musharraf stepped down as army chief only last month.

The president also moved to take control of his country's nuclear weapons from the prime minister.