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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 12:31 GMT
Viewpoints: Pakistan's political crisis
Readers in Pakistan describe what life is like under emergency rule and what they think should be done to end the current crisis.


Waqas M. Khattak
Waqas thinks that Bhutto should be prevented from attending the rally
The current situation hasn't created problems for ordinary people in Islamabad. The emergency rule hasn't made any difference.

I personally think that it was a good move by President Musharraf. I was quite depressed for months about what's been going on in the country - the political instability and the bad security situation. I couldn't see a quick solution.

I think the state of emergency is one such solution. I haven't heard of any bomb explosions for a week now, whereas they used to happen almost every day. So it is working.

But it should end soon. That's why it is an emergency - it's a temporary measure and everything should be restored to how it used to be.


Economist Ali Cheema being arrested
The leading economist Ali Cheema was arrested earlier in the week
Since the emergency rule was announced, we don't have access to news and information about what is happening in the country. I've started gathering information from a few different sources, which I then send to a mailing list of about 500 people.

I recently graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences, where students have been very active in protesting against the emergency rule. Two academics from that university have been arrested, including the prominent economist Ali Cheema.

I get eyewitness accounts from students' protests, photos and video that I spread around and post on forums.

I am also active in organising protests in Karachi. There's a group of us - lawyers, students, professionals and housewife's. We meet in secret places and decide where to gather to protest. When we turn up, lots of other people join us.

Students protesting in Lahore - 07/11/2007
Students in Lahore have been protesting against emergency rule
We make sure we don't stay in one place for too long, so that when the police turns up, we are gone.

I don't know if we are making a difference. I think the whole society needs to rise. Everyone can make a difference.

Our group doesn't belong to any political party. We want restoration of democracy, the independence of the judiciary and the media.


Asma Jahangir
Asma Jahangir: Elections without democracy are meaningless
I was put under house arrest for 90 days. I cannot leave the house and nobody can visit me. They've taken my mobile phone and cut off my internet connection.

I am lucky. My other colleagues were put into prison and haven't been able to meet their families. They are in a much worse situation.

But I feel anguish for the people who are protesting, as I can't do anything for them.

By now about 4,000 lawyers and human rights activists have been arrested. They arrest lawyers every single day. Yesterday they arrested 150 of them. Everyone I know is either arrested or in hiding.

They are wrong if they think that they can silence the lawyers in this country. The more they arrest, the more will come out.

How long can this go on for? They can't fight the entire civil society. They will have to seriously reconsider what they are doing.

There's deep anguish in Pakistan at the moment. Pakistani people aspire for democracy. Life is meaningless without freedom of expression and rule of law.

Musharraf needs to release the lawyers and open up the media. Holding elections without democracy is a meaningless exercise.


Wasim Afzal
Wazim Afzal has started publishing news on his business site
We have been deprived of sources of information. We can only watch the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera online, but they are slowing down the internet now and it takes very long time to load a page.

Everyone is quite depressed because of the news blackout. Pakistani people are used to having access to reliable news. With no good source of information, people have started to send text messages, informing each other of what they've heard. Lots of rumours are being circulated.

Because of that I've decided to turn our website, which is originally a commercial site, into a news site. I've put links to different news sites in it and I select audio and video as well as written stories from a variety of sources.

I update the website once or twice an hour. This is all I do now - I've temporarily abandoned my job. Since protests are not allowed, this is my way to contribute towards easing the news blackout. Everybody who believes in freedom should raise their voice.


Sarah Hasan
I work for Aaj TV as an economics reporter. After declaration of emergency rule, our channel has been taken off air. I continue to do my work every day as before. I do my reports, but nobody in Pakistan can see them. We are very frustrated as we are deprived of our civil rights.

The government has disabled cable operators and none of the national news channels, apart from the state-run PTV, can be accessed.

But the people of Pakistan are very eager for news and information. Many have started to buy satellite dishes, so that they can access international news channels, as well as Geo TV and Aaj TV.

If this doesn't end soon, there'll be huge protests
The emergency rule is directed towards the judiciary and the media. President Musharraf said that the media are creating a big hurdle for the government as it increases the rivalry between the judiciary and the government.

Now that there is no news, big rumours are circulating. The lack of information is going to affect the economy. The market crashed on Monday because of the news blackout.

But this cannot continue for too long. The government can't run the country like this. I think that it will end soon. I also think that if it doesn't, there'll be huge protests from students.

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