Pakistan's embattled President Pervez Musharraf on Saturday night said increasing judicial activism and a spurt in terrorism and extremism had paralysed and demoralised the government prompting him to impose emergency to save the country from a "dangerous" juncture.
"Pakistan is at a dangerous crossroads and the time has come for making difficult decisions," the military ruler said in a late night address to the nation hours after he declared emergency suspending fundamental rights, including the freedom of the press, and the constitution and banning political activities.
Musharraf, who seized control in a 1999 coup, said he had seen his leadership threatened by an increasingly defiant court and rising Islamic militancy.
"Extremists are openly roaming," he said, claiming 61 terrorists have been freed on order from the court, an apparent reference to a case that has been spearheaded by Pakistan's now-deposed Chief Justice Iftiqar M Chaudharyto 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.