Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pakistan's President Musharraf declares emergency

By MATTHEW PENNINGTON, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Saturday, ahead of a crucial Supreme Court ruling on his future as president, thrusting the country deeper into political turmoil as it struggles with spreading Islamic militancy.

The government blocked transmissions of private news channels in several cities and telephone services in the capital, Islamabad, were cut.

Seven Supreme Court judges immediately rejected the emergency, which suspended the current constitution. Police blocked entry to the Supreme Court building and later took the chief justice and other judges away in a convoy, witnesses said.

Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto flew from Dubai on Saturday and was sitting on a plane at Karachi airport, waiting to see if she would be arrested or deported, her spokesman Wajid Hasan said after speaking to the former prime minister by telephone from London.

"The chief of army staff has proclaimed a state of emergency and issued a provisional constitutional order," a newscaster on state Pakistan TV said, adding that Musharraf would address the nation later Saturday.

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