Speculation was rife here late tonight that emergency might be imposed in Pakistan at any time in the wake of the volatile situation in the country’s north western parts bordering Afghanistan, overrun by Taliban and al-Qaeda militants, after a senior minister said the condition was ripe for the measure.
Minister of State for Information Tariq Azim told private Geo television channel that condition was ripe for emergency and the government is seriously considering the measure which, however, has not been imposed so far.
Geo TV reported that President Pervez Musharraf had drawn plans to declare emergency in the country for one month that could be extended to three months.
Geo TV quoted well-placed sources as saying that a decision to the effect had been taken at a meeting earlier in the day. It also said that Pakistan Muslim League (QA) president Chaudhry Shujaat had told his party’s women parliamentarians that emergency was likely to be declared.
Earlier in the day, Musharraf pulled out of a planned meeting in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that Pakistani officials had discussed Musharraf’s reason for skipping the meeting with US and Afghan officials, but he would not elaborate, said AP.
“President Musharraf certainly wouldn’t stay back in Islamabad if he didn’t believe he had good and compelling reasons to stay back,” McCormack said. “Certainly we would understand that.”