A copy of the emergency order obtained by The Associated Press justified the declaration on the grounds that "some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive" and "weakening the government's resolve" to fight terrorism.Why are we supporting this man? Are we back to the bad old days of "he's an SOB, but he's our SOB?" This is pure and simple dictatorship. The Bush administration considers Musharraf a vital ally in the war against terror, despite the fact that he has been entirely unable to control the Taliban in the border area next to Afghanistan. Condi Rice, next door in Turkey (trying to keep the Turks from invading Iraqi Kurdistan, I assume), is blethering that the U.S. "does not support extraconstitutional measures" and "urging a quick return to civilian rule." This is balderdash. Musharraf is still in power exactly because he declares a state of emergency every time he is faced with a genuine election (which he would lose; he's massively unpopular in Pakistan). Supporting him merely convinces the rest of the world that Americans really are arrogant, militaristic bastards who are using the "war on terror" to advance a set of principles that have everything to do with power and oil, and nothing whatever to do with freedom and democracy.
It's unfortunate that the known civilian alternatives to Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, have been tried before and found grossly corrupt. In fact, both of them left the country some years ago to avoid arrest on corruption charges; and Bhutto has negotiated her return on the condition that the charges be lifted. The third alternative, of course, is the native Islamic militant political wing. So there aren't any good alternatives for Pakistan: an only moderately competent dictator, versus two known corrupt civilian politicians, versus the Pakistani equivalent of the Taliban.
But shouldn't we allow the Pakistani people to decide on their own what government they want? Isn't that the whole principle of democracy? We've developed much too much of a tendency in recent years to accept the results of democratic elections only if they bring people we like to power. Classic examples here are Hugo Chavez in Venezula and Hamas in Palestine. Whatever you think of them - and I don't like either of them - they were fairly elected (in Chavez' case, at least the first time; and he does have tremendous support among the poor); whereupon we took it on ourselves to declare that those people aren't suited to form a government. Unfortunately for Hamas, there's no oil in the West Bank or Gaza, so they couldn't ignore us the way Chavez does.
But back to Pakistan - every rational observer saw this development coming. It's too bad that the U.S. government (which seems to have thought that having Condi Rice call Musharraf at 3 AM Pakistan time, to urge him not to declare a state of emergency, would do the trick) can no longer be considered a rational observer.