This is a rush transcript from "The Journal Editorial Report," November 10, 2007.
PAUL GIGOT, HOST: This week on the "Journal Editorial Report," crisis in Pakistan. Musharraf's military crackdown leads to a week of violence and unrest. We have a report from the ground.
Big banks in big trouble. Giants like Citigroup face huge subprime losses. Will the market sort it out or will Washington bail them out?
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Our panel debates after the headlines.
GIGOT: Welcome to the "Journal Editorial Report." I'm Paul Gigot.
Violent protests roiled Pakistan this week in the wake of President Musharraf's military crackdown. He declared a state of emergency last Saturday, suspending the constitution, removing the chief justice of the Supreme Court and imposing tough curbs on the media.
Najam Sethi is the editor of the Friday Times and Daily Times of Pakistan. He joins me now on the phone from Lahore.
Thank you for being with us.
NAJAM SETHI, EDITOR, FRIDAY TIMES AND DAILY TIMES: Hi, Paul.
GIGOT: What the latest on the crackdown there? We are told Benazir Bhutto is now under house arrest.
SETHI: Yes, that's right. She tried to lead a protest rally yesterday. They didn't allow her to do that. So she is confined to her home. Nothing terribly serious. There wouldn't have been a big rally anyway. I think the point she was making was she is not a pushover. She wants to negotiate with Musharraf. Is Musharraf will drag his feet then she will show some street power as well.
GIGOT: Is there any sign the crackdowns and arrests are easing up? Are they accelerating?
SETHI: I think we would expect the political parties to jump and try to exploit the situation take over from the lawyers. But that hasn't happened. And the people of this country are in no mood to protest on the streets, though they intensely dislike Musharraf. Musharraf is in command. The violence has been sporadic. The police arrested thousands of people but it tends to release them three or four days keeping only hard core activists behind bars.
GIGOT: Musharraf said he wanted to move up election. Earlier this week they said it would take six or eight months, maybe a year. Now he said he might do it in February. That would only be a month later than the original that will day of January. Why is he doing that?
SETHI: Yes, I think American pressure has worked as has pressure from Benazir Bhutto. She wants to have a working arrangement where the two can put together a government after the elections, in that case, Musharraf has to listen to them. I think the American presence and pressure has been substantial.
GIGOT: Do Pakistanis, broadly across the society, understand the foreign reaction to this crackdown? Do they know Europe and the United States have protested and President Bush has called Musharraf? Is that widely known?
SETHI: Yes, that's widely known. Although the electronic media is off the air, the news channels, the print media is very aggressive and we are very critical of Musharraf. And we are, of course, highlighting all statements emanate interesting western sources, including the U.S. administration. These are all on the front page so everybody can see that the United States and the West is leaning on Musharraf both to hold the elections to keep them free and fair and eventually to take off his uniform and let the army do its job and let politicians get on with life.
GIGOT: Newspapers can publish freely some criticism of the decision?