3 November 2007
Dear Pakistani Brothers and Sisters,
As I speak to you today, Pakistan is facing a very dangerous situation. It is suffering from an internal crisis and whatever is happening now is related to the internal disturbance. During such moments for nations, a time comes when difficult decisions have to be taken. For Pakistan too, we will have to take certain important and painful decisions. And if we do not take timely action, then God forbid it could be dangerous to Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Before speaking on anything else, I would like to promise one thing to the nation that whatever I will do and the decision that I take will be on the basis of “Pakistan First”, and this will always remain my guiding principle-. “Pakistan First”, by rising above personal considerations and personal interests, Pakistan First, and I have the same expectation form the nation that it too will think on similar lines.
My dear Brothers and Sisters!
In the past few months, the situation in Pakistan has been changing swiftly and I would like to talk frankly about it. The first thing is that extremism and terrorism are at their peak. At this time, suicide bombings are happening all over the country. Whatever happened in Karachi, followed by the incidents in Rawalpindi and Sargodha, their intensity has increased all over the country.
Extremists are roaming freely without any hindrance in the country, and are not afraid of the law enforcing agencies. In fact, there is hardly any fear of the law enforcing agencies left. In the Frontier province, a lot was already going on and we have been already dealing with it. Its impact has also reached the settled areas and now we will also have to tackle the situation in the southern districts. But the sad thing is that extremism has also spread to Islamabad, the heart of Pakistan, the capital of Pakistan, and the people are extremely worried about it. These extremists are taking the writ of the state in their own hands and want to have a government within the government. And the biggest thing is that these extremists want to foist their own religious ideas, their obscurantist view of Islam, on moderate people. In my view, they are throwing a direct challenge to Pakistan’s sovereignty. This is a very dangerous situation of extremism and terrorism.
Now move a little further. How is the system of governance working? In my view it stands semi-paralyzed today. All senior functionaries of the government have to frequently run to the courts, especially the Supreme Court, they are being sentenced, and they are being subjected to humiliation in these courts, which is resulting in their not taking any decisions. Around 100 suo moto cases are being processed in the Supreme Court and I have been told that there are thousands of applications lying to be taken up . And all these suo moto cases are concerned with the executive, the government departments. So now the system of governance stands paralyzed.
Let’s look at the law enforcement agencies. In my view, these are demoralized, particularly in Islamabad they are in a hopeless situation. They are having no courage left. Why? It is because of the fact that their officers are being punished and they have to visit the Supreme Court, the courts regularly. Among these ten officers, which include two IGs, have been suspended. They have been convicted. This demoralized force, with its morale down, is afraid to take action. They do not want to do anything. They arc sitting idle.
Apart from that, let’s take a look at the democratic system. Hurdles are being created in it. In 1999, when our government came into power, I prepared a strategy of three-stage transition to take the country towards democracy. As in 1999, the country was a failed, defaulted state, the democratic system had been shattered and no government was completing its term. It was a democracy in the name only. Therefore, in Stage One, from 1999 to 2002 that we completed under a certain strategy I had a total control. I ran the government.
Then came, Stage Two, which went on from 2002 to 2007 . It was a democratic system, with an elected National Assembly, Senate, Provincial Assemblies, Local Governments, a system of elected governments as part of democracy. During this period t did oversee the affairs of the state but the government functioned on its own and I remained the President and Army Chief. We completed this stage smoothly. There were some problems, but we created a record, where the Senate, National Assembly, local governments and provincial assemblies completed their term.
Now we are in the final stage of this transition, the Third Stage. Now I had hoped that after the assemblies, that are completing their term by November 15,Presidential election would be held smoothly. Then there were the general elections and whoever won; a new phase of full democracy was to be ushered in as part of political reconciliation. As I said earlier; this transition to complete democracy was intentionally introduced and we wanted to implement it, but in my view, and I am saddened to note, that some elements are creating obstacles in this process and are not allowing it. Now since the time has come and in the next three months we were about to complete this third phase, hurdles are being created.
I think that it is by design, for personal and political gains, and to the detriment of Pakistan, chaos is being created. All these things that I have mentioned, terrorism, extremism, paralysis of government system, demoralized Law Enforcement Agencies, interference in the democratic system, and the resulting obstacles in the democratic system, is beginning an unnecessary chaos and hurdles, have unfortunately had a negative impact on the economic situation of the country and there has been a change in our economic upsurge, the upward movement in our prosperity and now God forbid there are indications that it might show some downturn trends, though it has not yet done so, provided we are able to stop it in time.
I can also see that all investors that were coming to Pakistan, and I can see with great pain that it all is moving down, and now they have stopped whatever the investment that was coming to Pakistan and they are now seeing what is happening in Pakistan, whether it will continue to move forward in a stable manner or we stop investing our money here and invest it somewhere else. I fear that our efforts of the past seven years—, the efforts that we have done for the economic betterment of the people do not get wasted. There has been an infrastructure development, coming up of new roads, sea ports, airports, railways, mobile telephones, land lines, rural communication, building and a construction boom all over the country. Hundreds of new industries are being set up . Moreover development in irrigation system, new dams, canals, brick lining of water courses, construction of all levels of educational and primary and secondary level of health care institutions, all these areas signify a growing and prosperous Pakistan. But I fear that all this may go in waste. And I feel very strongly about it as I have been involved with the entire process and all these development projects and cannot bear to see all this go down.
Overall due to all these reasons, the entire nation has become a victim of uncertainty and I am getting telephone calls from all over country and abroad, from people who want to know what is happening and some even taunt me, question at my decision making ability and ask that why I am not taking some decision. I have been listening to all these taunts and have been witnessing whatever has been going on with a state of disbelief. I had hoped that the judiciary and the government institutions would be able to tackle these issues. But it could not happen, and the situation continues to go from bad to worse and Pakistan is fast moving towards a negative side.
Here I would also like to say that, sitting before the media, before the television, that in the media, at least some channels did not play their role in averting this downslide, this negativism, negative thinking, negative projection, and rather enhanced this atmosphere of uncertainty.
I also feel very sorry for that, because that it is the same media that in 1999 was only the PTV and there was no independence. It is the same media that got independence from me, from my government, as I believed that media should be independent, as I believe that it was the way forward in civilized societies, I have said several times to go towards positivism and stop negativism.
The media must be independent, but it should he with responsibility and I am sad to point out that some channels did not show such tendency. I would like to ask the nation, as to why that happened? Why this situation developed? For me, it is judicial activism and interference of the judiciary, which is a pillar of the state with the other two pillars, the legislative and the executive pillar. It is interference with the system of government and a clash with the other two pillars, the legislative and executive pillars, and interference in their affairs. Because of this, both these institutions, the law-making institutions, are facing difficulties as their writ is being challenged, and the government’s functions paralyzed in all spheres, in all manners. This is the basic issue and began from March 9 when I, sent a reference against the Chief Justice on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, to the Supreme Judicial Council. This was a fully constitutional process and in accordance with all legal requirements. There was nothing personal about it. There were serious allegations and I took a constitutional step. However, let’s leave it aside. But the situation that developed later turned worse. There was breakdown of law and order, and some political elements entered into it, that further deteriorated the situation. I would not like to go in its details. All I would like to say is that if an official of the law enforcement agency committed a mistake, it does not mean that as a result the entire country is destabilized.. The other thing is that this reference, following serious allegations, was referred to the Supreme Judicial Council, and whatever transpired, its judgment, whether I agree with it or not, in my view that the reference with serious allegations was not examined and a verdict was given. This decision was fully accepted by me in complete good faith as it was a decision by the Supreme Court and I accepted it, and showed an attitude of reconciliation, so that the quarrel must end, and one must rise above self-interest to work for Pakistan’s stability and in the country’s favour. However unfortunately, the issue could not be resolved, despite cooperation with maximum and sincere efforts. This was the reference and the judicial issue.
Then in Islamabad, we saw that the tragedy of Lal Masjid came before us, where extremists challenged the writ of the government in the heart of Pakistan, in the capital city of Pakistan, and caused great embarrassment to the country, throughout the world, and only I know how much bad name we earned, that we despite being such a big power could not have our capital in control where they had created a state within a state. Our image, our standing, our stature suffered a great deal. These people resorted to whatever they could do . They martyred police personnel, they held them hostage, and they set shops on fire, they abducted the Chinese, our great friends, held them hostage and beat them up . This caused great embarrassment to me and I had to personally apologize to the Chinese leadership that we are ashamed that despite you being our great friends this has happened to you. And then they set on fire the Ministry of Environment and the vehicles. What should we have done? We were humiliated for several months and the people kept on saying that we were not taking any action. And we were not taking any action because we wanted to protect lives and not take lives. Therefore, when as a last resort we took action, and I again pay tribute to all law enforcing agencies, that they took action and brought to an end all this humiliation and embarrassment. Many of these were martyred and I pray for them. May Allah send them to paradise as they undertook this mission for this nation and this country and not for their own sake, and laid down their lives.
After that unfortunately there was the decision of Supreme Court. And now the situation is that 61 of the terrorists that were declared black, meaning they were confirmed terrorists by the intelligence agencies, were released, and they are all roaming around freely. No one knows that the Rawalpindi blast, or the Karachi or Sargodha blast were their doings. They are now at large, and no one knows what action they will continue to take and keep on causing severe damage to us .
Then those Madaris that were involved in extremism were also ordered to be opened. We in the government want to open up Madaris. It is the government’s plan to establish model Madaris, meeting all standards, for the most poor children, provide them boarding and lodging. There is no such thing that there is someone in the government who is against the Madaris. These children need to be taken to the best places and get the best education and have best places to live. The government is working on a comprehensive plan to provide such facilities. The courts ordered opening of those places that were shut down and now it is being said that the security system will remain the same as it was before and some of these people will look after the security of the mosque. Now a mosque does not need security and we do not know whether these security people will once again take rifles and enter the mosque and we end up from where we started. And now all those elements who were first challenging the government, now their relatives are challenging the government, and the law enforcement agencies are being blamed for whatever action they are taking against extremists. They are also openly showing solidarity with extremists all over the country, while sitting in Islamabad. Now this is the other situation that we are facing.
Now came the Presidential elections. Only a month has passed. During this a procedure was adopted fully according to the law and the constitution. The Election Commission gave a schedule under a time frame. The Chief Election Commissioner examined the nomination papers and these were accepted and then some references were filed, particularly against me that were taken up in the Supreme Court for consideration. Now there is no problem in it. It is a legal process. But then a seven— member bench was set up, later it was made into a nine—member bench, and later an eleven—member bench. The case was thus being prolonged, no decision was being taken and there was a situation of uncertainty. In the presidential election, I am grateful to the assemblies for electing me by giving me 57 per cent votes in the National Assembly, Senate and the four Provincial Assemblies, but the case still lingered on . Unofficial result was announced, but the decision came that there should be no notification. Now the case is continuing, without decision. Now one personality said that he has to attend the marriage ceremony of his daughter so the dates were further extended and the case is hanging and the nation continues in a state of uncertainty.
The Prime Minister too took stock of the situation and wrote to me that the government’s functioning in such circumstances was very difficult.
My Brothers and Sisters!
What is happening in Pakistan? What is happening to us? What is happening to this country? In which direction are we moving?
This country lives in my heart, in my blood and in my soul. I cannot see it go down. Therefore a time for action has come. I reviewed the entire situation. How to stop this downslide? In my view, these three pillars of state; judiciary, executive and legislative – all need to work in harmony so that we can have good governance and can fight extremism and terrorism with full force. This is the sway to bring back the derailed government back on its tracks, before we completely run aground.
After reviewing this situation and after discussing it with all military, government functions, political and non-political friends and expatriate Pakistanis, I took a decision and this decision is basically part of the third Phase of transition to democracy that I have already mentioned. This phase has to be completed, InshaAllah. The hurdles in the way to democracy have to be removed. And what is, and has been my decisions, of completing this third phase, will InshaAllah be completed.
To do this I have declared emergency. I have issued a Provisional Constitution Order that was on the television and you might have seen it. In this respect there will be no change in the government, Prime Minister, Governors, Chief Ministers, all will continue to function, all assemblies — Senate, National Assembly, Provincial Assemblies — will continue to function as they are working now and this process will continue. I have taken this decision. For me this was the easiest way to put Pakistan back on the tracks and the progress on the economic developmental aspects to continue unabated, and the last transition phase to democracy to be completed.
I would like to take this opportunity to speak to the world in general, but particularly to our friends in the West, United States, European Union and the Commonwealth.
I would ask you to kindly understand the criticality of the environment inside Pakistan and around Pakistan. Pakistan is on the verge of destabilization, if not arrested in time now, without loosing any further time, or delaying the issue. The saddest part of everything that saddens me the most, is that after all we have achieved in the past seven years, I see in front of my eyes, Pakistan’s upsurge taking a downward trend. I personally, with all my conviction and with all the facts available to me, consider that inaction at this moment is suicide for Pakistan. And I cannot allow this country to commit suicide.
Therefore I had to take this action in order to preserve the democratic transition that I initiated eight years back. I would like to repeat that what I have already said in Urdu that I started with a three-staged transition. The first stage from 1999 to 2002 where I remained in control, the second stage from 2002 to 2007, five years of democratic rule, all assemblies functioning, local government functioning, I only oversaw it as the Chief of the Army Staff and the President combined. And now I was launching the third phase that was to be completed in a few months, with complete democracy, return to civil rule, myself being only a civilian president, if elected.
It is this third stage that is being subverted today and it is this third stage, which I want to complete with all my conviction. And if we don’t take action, I don’t think we are going into this third stage, I don’t know what chaos and confusion may follow- So, therefore, I request you all to bear with us .
To the critics and idealists against this action, I would like to say, please do not expect or demand your level of democracy, which you learned over a number of centuries. We are also trying to learn and we are doing well. Please give us time. Please also do not demand and expect your level of civil rights, human rights, civil liberties, which you learned over the centuries. We are trying to learn and we are doing very well also. Please give us time.
I would at this time venture to read out an excerpt of President Abraham Lincoln especially to all my listeners in United States. As an idealist, Abraham Lincoln had one consuming passion during the time of supreme crisis and this was to preserve the Union because the Union was in danger. Towards that end, he broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary power, he trampled individual liberties. His jurisdiction was necessity and explaining his sweeping violation of constitutional limits, he wrote in a letter in 1864 and I quote:
My oath to preserve the constitution imposed on me, the duty of preserving by every indispensable means that government, that nation of which the constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation and yet preserve the constitution? By general law, life and limb must be protected. Yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life but a life is never wisely to be given to save a limb. I felt that measures otherwise unconstitutional might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the constitution through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assume this ground and now avow it.
We are also learning democracy. We are going through a difficult stage. It is the nation, which is important, and for every Pakistani, and me Pakistan comes first and any one else’s considerations come after that. I look at this from this point of view. So, whatever I do is for Pakistan and whatever anyone else thinks, comes after Pakistan with all my sincerity. Whatever lam doing is in the interest of Pakistan and therefore, I am doing it with full conviction and my full heart and soul and mind in it.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters!
I hope that you all will understand the criticality of this serious situation. In my view at this stage, whatever I did, there was no other option. I will have no hesitation if I have to render my life for this country. I know how to face the challenges. I never surrender. I always resist and will fight back. Not for me, but for this country and for the people of this nation, for their welfare and prosperity. If you stand by me, I have no doubt that if you keep on supporting with me, InshaAllah Ta’ Allah we will take Pakistan forward on the same path of growth, prosperity and will put it back on tracks. I have no doubt that the nation wants to progress, wants to move forward. The people have concern about the prices of everyday commodities, unemployment and poverty. The people are sick of the state of uncertainty in the name of democracy. The people are sick of these extremists and terrorists who every other day are killing Muslims in the name of Islam. The people are sick of all this.
I want to say to all my brothers and sisters that we will together fight it and will take Pakistan forward. May Allah help you and Pakistan.
Pakistan Paindabad always.
Text of President’s speech
“If we don’t take those decisions then there is a grave danger to the solidarity and security of the country,” he added. He said that he has taken the decision of emergency as his guiding principal has always been “Pakistan first”.
“My guiding principal has always been Pakistan first. I am sure the whole nation thinks on similar pattern.” President Musharraf said terrorism and extremism had reached its pinnacle and the incidents of suicide attacks throughout the country had increased manifold.
“These extremists were roaming around freely in the country while the law enforcing agencies have become demoralised creating concern among the general public,” he added. These elements, he said, were forcibly trying to impose the extremist and backward views of Islam on otherwise moderate people of Pakistan which is a direct challenge to the security of Pakistan. The proclamation attributed constant interference in executive functions that was not limited to the control of terrorist activity, economic policy, price controls, downsizing of corporations and urban planning, has weakened the writ of the government.
“The police force has been completely demoralised and is fast losing its efficacy to fight terrorism and intelligence agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists.” Some hardcore militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released.
“The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property. Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued,” according to the order.
“Some judges have overstepped the limits of judicial authority and took over the executive and legislative functions,” the order pointed. The order said the government was committed to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and stated that it holds the superior judiciary in high esteem.
“It is nonetheless of paramount importance that the Honourable Judges confine the scope of their activity to the judicial function and not assume charge of administration,” the order stated. President Musharraf said it was due to the hurdles being created by some elements having political and vested interests that the upsurge in the country’s economy achieved during the last over seven years was impeding and there were indications of down-slide in the economy.
He said the foreign investors who were pumping in the heavy investments into Pakistan are now hesitant to make their investments due to internal situation and were adopting a wait and see policy.
“We have to check this situation”, he added. The President mentioned the economic turn-around achieved by Pakistan during the last over seven years and said it brought about socio-economic improvement in the life of people. He also mentioned unprecedented development and economic and industrial activities in the country including infrastructure development, construction of roads, flyovers, dams, brick-lining of canals and water courses, fast track development in telecommunication, mobile phones, Information Technology and the setting up of thousands of industries.
The President said there was marked improvement in social sector including health and education, with focus on primary and secondary health and the promotion of educational institutions at every level. He said it was a rising and forward moving Pakistan and if God forbid something happens which ruins what was achieved during the last over seven years, it would be very unfortunate.
“I cannot see it going downward,” the President said and added it was due to this situation that there was a feeling of disappointment and uncertainly among the people and nation. The President said he was receiving telephone calls from the people from home and abroad with the questions that “why I am not taking any decision” to check the situation. “I continued to hear and see all these things quietly and with uncertainty with the hope that the judiciary and the government institutions would be able to tackle the situation”, he said and added but it could not happen and the situation continued to move from bad to worse.
Whereas there has also been a spate of attacks on state infrastructure and on law enforcement agencies;
Whereas some members of the judiciary are working at cross purposes with the executive and legislature in the fight against terrorism and extremism thereby weakening the government and the nation’s resolve diluting the efficacy of its actions to control this menace;
Whereas there has been increasing interference by some members of the judiciary in government policy, adversely affecting economic growth, in particular;
Whereas constant interference in executive functions, including but not limited to the control of terrorist activity, economic policy, price controls, downsizing of corporations and urban planning, has weakened the writ of the government; the police force has been completely demoralised and is fast losing its efficacy to fight terrorism and intelligence agencies have been thwarted in their activities and prevented from pursuing terrorists;
Whereas some hard core militants, extremists, terrorists and suicide bombers, who were arrested and being investigated were ordered to be released. The persons so released have subsequently been involved in heinous terrorist activities, resulting in loss of human life and property. Militants across the country have, thus, been encouraged while law enforcement agencies subdued;
Whereas some judges by overstepping the limits of judicial authority have taken over the executive and legislative functions;
Whereas the government is committed to the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law and holds the superior judiciary in high esteem, it is nonetheless of paramount importance that the honourable judges confine the scope of their activity to the judicial function and not assume charge of administration;
Whereas an important constitutional institution, the Supreme Judicial Council, has been made entirely irrelevant and non est by a recent order and judges have, thus, made themselves immune from inquiry into their conduct and put themselves beyond accountability;
Whereas the humiliating treatment meted out to government officials by some members of the judiciary on a routine basis during court proceedings has demoralised the civil bureaucracy and senior government functionaries, to avoid being harassed, prefer inaction;
Whereas the law and order situation in the country as well as the economy have been adversely affected and trichotomy of powers eroded;
Whereas a situation has thus arisen where the government of the country cannot be carried on in accordance with the constitution and as the constitution provides no solution for this situation, there is no way out except through emergent and extraordinary measures;
And whereas the situation has been reviewed in meetings with the prime minister, governors of all four provinces and with the chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of the armed forces, vice chief of army staff and corps commanders of the Pakistan army;
Now, therefore, in pursuance of the deliberations and decisions of the said meetings, I General Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Army Staff, proclaim emergency throughout Pakistan.
I hereby order and proclaim that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan shall remain in abeyance.
This proclamation shall come into force at once.