Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto continued her defiance of the Musharraf state of emergency even as the attorney general claimed it would only last for about another month. Musharraf is claiming the state of emergency is necessary in order to crush militants operating in the northwest area of Pakistan. It appears the president believes the first step in crushing insurgents is to arrest thousands of lawyers and activists and to imprison the chief justice of the nation. He has also closed down many TV stations apparently in a bid to prevent militants from watching their favorite TV shows, undoubtedly a novel approach to ending conflict in a nation. Ms. Bhutto was allowed to leave her home, but when she tried visiting the home of Supreme Court Justice Mohammed Chaudhry, police and military units blocked her way. Bhutto supporters shouted, “those holding guns are afraid of an unarmed girl.” Ms. Bhutto is determined to lead a long march to “get Pakistan from the clutches of dictatorship.”
The Musharraf state of emergency has most probably destroyed any vestige of popularity he had within the nation of Pakistan. It has brought to the fore Benazir Bhutto is gaining enormous popularity as the leader of opposition to Musharraf. This creates serious foreign policy problems for the Bush administration — do they continue support for Musharraf or do they switch to Bhutto?