Hours after imposing emergency rule, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said increasing judicial activism and a spurt in terrorism and extremism had paralysed and demoralised the government prompting him to take the "difficult" decision to save the nation from a "dangerous" juncture.
"Pakistan is at a dangerous crossroads and the time has come for making difficult decisions," the military ruler said late last night in an address to the nation after he declared emergency suspending fundamental rights, including the freedom of the press, and the Constitution and banning political activities.
64-year-old Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless 1999 military coup, said he had seen his leadership threatened by an increasingly defiant court and rising Islamic militancy.
"Extremists are openly roaming," he said, claiming that 61 terrorists have been freed on court orders, an apparent reference to a case that was spearheaded by now-deposed Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftiqar M Chaudhary to press authorities over suspects held without charge by intelligence agencies.
"And no one knows whether any of the these freed men were behind recent bomb attacks," Musharraf said, adding the "government system in my view, is in semi-paralysis as all government functionaries are insulted by courts and law enforcing agencies punished by the judiciary, demoralising them."