ISLAMABAD: Why, Mush why?" That’s the question most Pakistani youngsters are asking online. Within minutes of emergency being declared in the country, the Facebook status of a whole lot of Pakistanis changed. From "I want the channels back!!! how do I know whats happening!!!!!damned emergencyyyy" to "sad that a state of emergency has been declared in Pakistan" and "Ohhhh sh**! Martial law!" the www is full of young Pakistanis eager to know all they can about the political crisis in Islamabad.
‘‘There are no news channels beaming except PTV. So there’s no way to find out what the status in Islamabad is,’’ says Rehaan (name changed on request), a media executive from Karachi. ‘‘I got on to the BBC website and read that security has been deployed in the offices of all private TV channels. I tried calling up my cousins in Islamabad but all phone lines are busy."
Across the internet, discussion boards are buzzing with news of the Musharraf-imposed emergency. 20-somethings are messaging back and forth, trying to make some sense of how the situation will impact their daily lives. ‘‘An emergency means that somebody else is making the rules and taking decisions for me. That can never be good,’’ says a Pakistani blogger. "I’m in shock because even though we expected it, it’s just so so sad,’’ says a banker in Karachi.
‘‘Does this mean I can’t go to work? How long will this emergency last? Can’t anybody question Musharraf? How will we know when it has ended?’’ asks a 26-year-old management trainee.
The streets of Karachi are calm so far. But everyone expected this. On the phone from Karachi, a 24-year-old ad-sales executive confides: "There’s sadness and disappointment over the situation but most of all, there’s a huge seense of curiosity. Nobody knows what will happen and that’s very disconcerting."