It can even dissolve parliament.
Under Pakistan's constitution, the president may declare a state of emergency if it is deemed that the country's security is "threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond" the government's authority to control.
If a state of emergency is to be extended beyond two months, it must be approved by a joint sitting of parliament, the constitution says.
Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Pakistan, said the state of emergency would give the government greater control and suspend rights such as to free speech.
Now we start the clock on its way back.
update: Musharraf decided against it. Probably because it would be a bad idea and he is rather unpopular at the moment.
you're really laying it at obama's feet for the no-show? i generally don't believe the first reason leaders give for their actions, which i thought you did too. i obviously don't know as much the internal politics of PK as you, but the "i'm thinking about state of emergency" struck me as "i'm losing power as the drumbeat of elections gets louder and there's a surge of discontent with my rule from all sides, so i'm looking for a desperate way to maintain control." seriously? a 2nd-place primary candidate of one of two parties in the states makes a dumbass comment months before any referendum takes place on his ability to lead from the executive and this comment causes a state of emergency? it just strikes me as a little too convenient. i agree that the comment was bad and ill-advised, but a direct connection between obama's comments and the state-of-emergency comments seems a bit fishy to me. is it possible mush never intended to go to the jirga? if i'm not seeing things correctly, please enlighten me.
Considering that the Foreign Minister and the Interior Ministers name-check Obama in every declaration from Islamabad .... I think its not that farfetched. Of course, in real terms, Obama's comments are just a convenient excuse for Musharraf to reset the panic button. Handy and convenient - but not the sole factor. The NIE and the HR1 bill under legislation are all harsher on Pakistan's role as an ally. Musharraf is now stuck in the middle.
Sepoy: I generally agree with your analyses, but I think too much weight is being accorded to the effects of democratic forces and Mush's unpopularity. Musharraf is a dictator, head of a military regime. Why would he care about truly fair and free elections and democracy when he wouldn't need them except for superificial reasons to maintain a facade? Personally, I don't think that fair and free elections are going to take place, and as such, I'm uncertain of the degree of power that democratic forces can effectively wield for any kind of fundamental change in governance, democracy, representation, etc. I'd say that for all the Obamas', Bushes, and Edwards out there and Musharraf himself, they are more concerned with the international community and American citizens' opinions on how the US' involvement in Pakistan rather than the Pakistani people themselves, or Pakistan's political cultures. Mush cares more about how he's regarded in the West (which influences how much backing and support he is going to recieve in order to stay in power)than Pakistanis or seeking legitimacy from them. In fact, the whole Lal Masjid episode, the reinstatement of the CJ and etc play perfectly into this facade, suspending his intention to impose a state of emergency: he may be a military despot, but 1) he's the only hope we've got due to extremists (the Islamic Peril Myth), and the only person to contain that is someone with an iron fist like Musharraf Babu and 2) he's not all that bad anyway, because he IS "moving" towards "democracy" and thus we can continue to support him with legitimacy. Of course, this is not true, because it remains to be seen whether the judicial arm WILL exercise independence (I wrote about that here http://italiandesi.wordpress.com/2007/08/03/elections-in-pakistan-what-will-the-end-result-be/, so I won't go at length here). So, if he has suspended the planned state of emergency, I don't think it's because he knows that he's deeply unpopular with Pakistanis and is somehow afraid of that; it's because of what he and all his allies think of how this will be received. (Unless there is some movement in Pakistan that is similar/comparable to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran (who was totally backed by the US but was deeply unpopular with the people), in which case there is very real reason to be afraid of pushing the populace's buttons a little too much, in which case my whole comment above is basically off the mark. And we can prepare ourselves for an overtake of the US Embassy in Islamabad).
i would love to say that it's a shame that we don't have a right to declare a state of stupidity and kick him out of office... what a cry baby we have as a president.