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Last Updated: Monday, 5 November 2007, 17:47 GMT
Pakistani people 'anxious and angry'
Police have dispersed protests by Pakistani lawyers against the country's state of emergency.

President Pervez Musharraf declared the emergency on Saturday, saying he was acting to curb extremism.

Most of the people in Pakistan who contacted the BBC News website condemn the emergency rule as they fear that it will have negative consequences for the future of the country.


Kashif Siraj
Kashif Siraj: The emergency rule will create more tension and violence
There is lots of tension and insecurity in the air. On my way to work today I could see many riot police gathered to disperse crowds.

People are very worried and not just about what is happening on the streets. The economy is a big concern now, there'll be inflation and price hikes.

I wasn't really surprised when I heard about the emergency rule. Musharraf probably got a pretty good idea about whether the Supreme Court was going to rule in his favour or not. He is going to cling to power for as long as he can.

Nobody believes the official reasons given for this action. The security problems are not since yesterday and it's not the insurgents, but the government to blame for the escalation of violence.

The state of emergency is not only not going to solve the existing problems - it will create more tension and more violence.


I believe that the emergency rule is a very good thing. Some people refuse to understand what the country has been going through in the last year.

Emergency rule will sort out the problems with terrorism.
Thousands of innocent people and military personnel are dying, and not just in the tribal areas.

At the moment, Musharraf is the only capable person to deal with this situation. In fact, he should have declared state of emergency long time ago. This is the only way to deal with the increasing militancy in Pakistan.

This is an extreme measure and it is not democratic, but if that's what the country has to come to, then so be it. I think the situation is so serious that we should all sacrifice some of our freedoms, to gain better security.

Musharraf has done many good things to this country. The economy has changed dramatically, infrastructure is better and there's so much more development. Now emergency rule will sort out the problems with terrorism.


This morning I went to the District Court, but I could not get in - the gates were locked. There were about 2,000 lawyers gathered there.

Sardar Tariq Hussain
Sardar Tariq Hussain: We'll continue our struggle
There was a large number of police trying to prevent us from going to work. They were beating us, pushing and treating us in a very rude way. Many were arrested.

We were not allowed to stay there or gather anywhere on the streets. The place was overcrowded, you could not park anywhere, so eventually 30 of us went to the office of a senior advocate of the Supreme Court.

There we passed a resolution against the illegal acts of the government. We all condemn this action - it is going to do nothing good for the country.

The only thing that it will achieve is to make the terrorists stronger.

It is clear to everyone that the move is designed to prolong Musharraf's presidency. This is not just my personal opinion - everyone I know feels that way.

This is a very critical situation. We are all extremely disappointed that such action is taken. We are under pressure and feel very anxious.

We are determined to go to work every day and protest against the government's actions. The struggle will continue until the judiciary gains its independence.


My cousin, who is a lawyer for the Supreme Court in Lahore, got arrested yesterday. He took part in protests during the day and in the evening police came to his house and took him away.

Student protest in Karachi, 5/11/07
Noman Ahmed Burney took this photo of a student protest in Karachi
Since he was arrested he hasn't been in touch with his family. No-one knows where he is. That's what happens with martial law - the army can detain people without giving information about their well-being and whereabouts.

When I heard this news I was at home trying to watch the BBC. The national TV channels are off air and we can only view satellite channels. We have no access to information.

The declaration of emergency rule is illegal and people are very angry about it. I cannot begin to describe the intensity of anger against Musharraf in Lahore and I think that many more people will take to the streets in the days to come.

I cannot begin to describe the intensity of anger against Musharraf in Lahore
Musharraf is trying to save his job and he is prepared to destroy all institutions.

There's a big uncertainty over the future of Pakistan. People don't feel safe.

The emergency rule will create political adversaries. The law and order situation will get worse. The economy will suffer, businesses will be affected badly and prices will go up.

The common man will not be able to survive. The country itself is in danger.


There've been sporadic protests in Islamabad, nothing like what's been happening in Lahore. Some lawyers, NGO workers and students came out to protest.

Yasser Hamdani
Yasser Hamdani: This is an attack on the civil society
There's been a complete shutdown - we don't even know where to go to protest. The army doesn't let people move freely. Various key areas are cordoned off and vehicles are being stopped and turned away.

As far as everyday life goes, everything is normal. But all the TV channels are cut, including the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera. People are hungry for information. Rumours of all kind are circulating.

The declaration of state of emergency is not really directed against the terrorists, as Musharraf says. The people who are being put behind bars are lawyers and human rights activists. This is an attack on the civil society.

The worsening security situation in Pakistan is not a good reason to impose martial law.

The situation has never been so bad for press freedom and democracy. And democracy is the only way to fight terrorism.

I haven't met a single person who supports what Musharraf has done. Even his most staunch supporters condemn his actions. A year ago I was myself on his side, but not any more.

He is behaving like a man who works with terrorists and supports their cause.

Now we are left with a huge uncertainty. Only one thing is certain - elections will be postponed.

I don't understand why the West is not harsher with Musharraf. I am a big fan of Gordon Brown, but he and Condoleezza Rice didn't do anything to prevent this from happening. We are left without support from the outside.

I think the West should impose sanctions against the military regime, because this martial law is illegal.

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