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Love this picture …

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Interesting reading of the day.

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Images of the Pathan” by Dr. Charles Lindholm.

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State of emergency in Pakistan

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General Musharraf has gone ahead and ordered a state of emergency in Pakistan, despite the opposition of a Supreme Court,  which must legally ratify it, and his greatest patron, the United States, which has threatened to cut off aid in case of it.

  The Pakistani leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, declared a state of emergency about 6 p.m. local time today, Pakistani television reported.

All members of the Supreme Court were required to sign a new provisional constitutional order mandating the state of emergency, but 8 of the 11 justices signed an order calling the state of emergency illegal and gathered at the Supreme Court building, said Gohar Khan.

The declaration came days before the Supreme Court was expected to rule on the constitutionality of General Musharraf’s re-election as president last month and of his ability to serve as both the country’s president and military leader.

Just after 5 p.m. signs that a state of emergency would be declared started to emerge. All television stations were blocked as news media were reporting a meeting of General Musharraf and his top aides in the president’s office.

A Pakistani intelligence official said that a list had been prepared of prominent Pakistani journalists and opposition politicians who would be detained.

Before transmission was cut off, Pakistani media reported that 1,000 additional police had been deployed in Islamabad, the capital, but as of 5:30 no additional police could be seen. Groups of journalists had gathered in front of the country’s Supreme Court in expectation that judges could be detained.

Government officials have said over the past several days that if a state of emergency were declared, they would not declare martial law …

Those eight justices, including Iftikhar Chaudhry, the Chief Supreme Court Justice and head of the “lawyers’ movement” which crystallized middle-class opposition to Musharraf in the past months, are now under arrest. A new chief justice has been appointed and the constitution suspended — the general is apparently looking to utterly break the lawyers’ movement.

Meanwhile Indian news outlets are reporting that Benazir Bhutto is returning to Pakistan, including one report that had her sitting in a plane already touched down in Karachi. Bhutto and the PPP have already condemned the general’s move and called for resistance against it.

One wonders just what Musharraf is thinking right now. How the general and the politician handle the next few days will be key for Pakistan’s future as both a U.S. ally and as a unified nation. Musharraf is playing a very dangerous game. The military has always been Pakistan’s unifying institution, the bulwark of the nation — due to a large part to its crippling of any other institution that might rival it. Musharraf, for all his probable good intentions, has stripped it of all allies. The political parties, the civil service, the middle class, the Islamists all are now in opposition.  The army now stands alone — will it remain loyal to Musharraf? To what end?

It’s hard to see this ending well.

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My new toy

Pic: You put 725 5.56mm rpm downrange on cyclic and see how you smell …

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Got her this past weekend. She’s a heavy, dirty bitch, but she’ll do.

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