Pakistan Crisis (2): Musharraf Summons Army Commanders
Here comes the first signal that there is a serious crisis. Pakistan’s President Musharraf has decided to meet his key army generals for consultation. He is yet to learn the basic lesson…that Pakistan also has civilian Opposition leadership that needs to be consulted.
Otherwise the bluff and bluster game would come to an end sooner than later.
“A crisis meeting of the Pakistan army’s key corps commanders – the country’s kingmakers and coup-plotters – was looming last night as President Pervez Musharraf’s attempts to remove the chief justice ran into a united front of opposition, says The Australian.
“Reports in Pakistan said the 10 lieutenant-generals – commanders of about 20 army divisions – plus other military brass would meet in extraordinary session with the embattled General Musharraf to discuss the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other issues causing national concern.
“General Musharraf suspended Mr Chaudhry on Friday for alleged misconduct, sparking protests by lawyers and opposition parties, in effect calling for the restoration of democracy.
“The move has provoked warnings of a looming constitutional crisis before parliamentary elections expected late this year.
“With remarkable understatement, one report on the summoning of the corps commanders yesterday spoke of the Government being ‘very upset, as it believes its attempt to remove the Chief Justice has turned out to be highly counter-productive’.
“Such meetings of the power elite in Pakistan are rare, and considered of great significance.”
Another important development is the arrival in Islamabad of US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher today. Boucher, who is Washington’s point man for South and Central Asian affairs, arrived from Kabul. This is his second visit to Pakistan in two months.