Despite warnings from U.S. officials, Pervez Musharraf is on the verge of declaring a state of emergency to make certain he maintains his presidency, officials in Pakistan and Washington tell ABC News.
Musharraf fears that Pakistan's supreme court could soon rule that he is no longer eligible to be president, having served longer than Pakistan's constitution allows.
If a state of emergency is declared, Musharraf could seek to cast aside any supreme court action, with the police and military taking the lead.
The threats come as Pakistan spirals into violence.
Today Islamic militants paraded 50 captured Pakistani forces through a northwest province where Taliban and al Qaeda forces have established powerful new bases.
Videos are being distributed on the streets showing boys as young as 14 beheading soldiers who cooperate with the Americans.
In just the last four months, more than 700 people have been killed across Pakistan, half by suicide bombers, more than Pakistan has ever seen.
What makes this wave of violence even more significant is that it is no longer confined to rural areas. The attacks are taking place more and more frequently in large cities, as well.
The United States has provided more than $11 billion since 2001 to help root out terrorists, but the escalating violence and the political instability have Pakistanis fearing more for their own future.
"It could lead to a civil war if proper leadership is not there," retired Pakistani LtGen.Talat Masood said.
Musharraf has told U.S. officials he would continue the fight against terrorism. But if he declares a state of emergency in the coming days, it could seriously add to the tensions in Pakistan.