Musharraf decries terrorism, judiciary

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - President Pervez Musharraf addressed the nation early on Sunday, hours after imposing emergency rule, and said terrorism and extremism had reached their limit and Pakistan’s sovereignty was at stake.

Military ruler Musharraf, whose emergency rule proclamation cited rising militancy and a hostile judiciary, said Pakistan’s system of government had become paralyzed by judicial interference and he had imposed emergency rule to complete a transition to civilian-led democratic rule.

“Pakistan has reached a dangerous point, and is undergoing an internal crisis,” he said in a pre-recorded televised address wearing a traditional Sherwani frock coat. “Whatever is happening is because of internal disturbances.

“I fear that if timely action is not taken, then God forbid there is a threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty. I cannot allow this country to commit suicide.”

Musharraf, whose decision drew strong expressions of disappointment from the United States and Britain, appealed to the international community to understand the “criticality” of the situation and accept Pakistan needed time to reach the level of democracy enjoyed in the west.

“Please do not expect or demand your level of democracy which you learned over a number of centuries. Please give us time,” he said.

He was awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on whether he was eligible to run for re-election last month while still army chief. Musharraf said some media channels had added to uncertainty in the country, but did not specify which.