Pakistan was safer under Musharraf: Former CIA officialMarch 6, 2009
LONDON: A former CIA official, who headed its Bin Laden unit, says the Lahore terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers is a direct result of the West’s insistence on replacing Pervez Musharraf with a democratically-elected president in Pakistan.
Michael Scheuer, who headed the (CIA) Central Intelligence Agency’s counter-terrorism unit dedicated to tracking down al Qaida head Osama bin Laden, also said President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent ceasefire deal with the Taliban in parts of the Northwest province was to blame.
He said the state of Pakistan “is approaching failure, and we really have ourselves to blame for this. Much of the problem that Pakistan has had in the last year is the result of our insisting that democracy return to the country.”
“The result of democracy was putting in Zardari… It is a very tenuous situation and a very bad government to be in charge in that situation,” Scheuer told BBC on Tuesday.
The former CIA agent said the Zardari government was “making various kinds of deals with the tribes in the hope that they will turn west towards Afghanistan and stop bringing their violence to Pakistan proper”.
“This is just another step on the road toward hell if you will.”
Scheuer added: “We are getting to the point [where] unless the Pakistani generals intervene again, you really could have a failed state.”
His comments came after International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat revealed Tuesday that ICC security advisers had warned of the risks of playing cricket in post-Musharraf Pakistan.
“I know for a fact that post the regime change in Pakistan, once Musharraf went”, the advice the ICC got from its security advisers was that they had more confidence under the previous regime, Lorgat said.
“And that’s one of the reasons why we were not confident about holding the Champions Trophy” in Pakistan, he added.
The Champions Trophy was moved away from Pakistan in a January meeting of the ICC.