Archive for September, 2011

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Musharraf vows return to Pakistan

September 10, 2011

By Shahzeb Jillani
BBC News

Former Pakistani President Gen Pervez Musharraf has said he is determined to return to Pakistan by March 2012, even if he is arrested.

“Let them arrest me… I’ll [still] go back,” he told the BBC.

Gen Musharraf is wanted by an anti-terrorist court in Pakistan over accusations he failed to protect the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, from assassination in December 2007.

He describes the case against him as “baseless” and politically led.

Last month, the court ordered the seizure of his properties and freezing of his bank accounts after his continued refusal to respond to the accusations.

“By any stretch of imagination, by any analysis of legal and constitutional issues, I am not involved [in that assassination]. So, I know this case is a hoax and we’ll be able to fight it,” Gen Musharraf told the BBC

US ally

Gen Musharraf ruled Pakistan for nine years until 2008 and played a prominent role on the world stage during his years in power.

As the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, he is is back in the limelight: reflecting on the stark choices he faced at the time and his decision to turn Pakistan into a frontline state in the US “war on terror”.

He insists that no other country sacrificed more in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban than Pakistan.

Under his leadership, Mr Musharraf says, Pakistan achieved several military successes – many of al-Qaeda’s top leaders, such as the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were captured or killed in Pakistan.

But he regrets that those military successes were not followed up by political efforts to achieve peace in the region. As a result, he says, the problem of insurgency on the Pakistan-Afghan border has become much more complicated.

Yesterday’s man?

Gen Musharraf claims come as he is busy positioning himself to return to a leadership role in Pakistan within six months.

“If there is such politicisation that the courts absolutely go berserk and they arrest me or something, which I don’t think is a possibility, well let them arrest me. I’ll go to jail. Let’s see what happens then. I’ll [still] go back.”

General Musharraf’s opponents describe him as “yesterday’s man”, with little or no political support.

But perhaps more important in the Pakistani context is where the military stands: would Pakistan’s top brass really like to see their former boss at the helm of affairs once again?

Over the next six months, the answer to this crucial question could determine whether or not Mr Musharraf has a future in Pakistani politics.

Source: BBC News

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Manmohan Singh, Musharraf came close to striking Kashmir’s solution: WikiLeaks

September 3, 2011

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan had through “back channels” agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, reveals a latest WikiLeaks cable. According to the US embassy cable – dated April 21, 2009 – Singh confirmed this to a visiting US delegation, led by then House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman in April, 2009, saying that the solution included free trade and movement across LoC.

Singh told the US delegation that Delhi and Islamabad had made great progress prior to February 2007, when President Musharraf ran into trouble. “We had reached an understanding in back channels,” he related, says the cable, in which Musharraf had agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir. Singh went on to add that India wanted a strong, stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan and makes no claim on “even an inch” of Pakistani territory.

Singh’s comments authenticate Musharraf’s assertions last year that India and Pakistan had reached that stage, where they were preparing the final draft for the resolution. He had said the two sides shared drafts through “back channels”, and these were in keeping with the four-point template which he had envisaged to resolve the issue. Singh, too, mentions in the cable that the two sides had arrived at the solution through back channels.

Musharraf’s four points included demilitarization, maximum autonomy, making border irrelevant and joint management of the area. Later, however, Pakistani government rejected the formula, saying that it was Musharraf’s personal line of thinking that lacked endorsement either by Pakistani parliament or cabinet. Singh, though, does not make any direct reference to Musharraf’s template in the WikiLeak cable. Musharraf had said, unlike in the case with PM Vajpayee, it was actually with Singh that Pakistan moved towards an agreement over the issue.

Reminding Berman and other US delegates that India had lost more than 150 of its citizens in the Mumbai attacks, Singh said it would be possible to resume dialogue only if Pakistan would “behave as a civilized country and bring the perpetrators to justice”. “Now, Pakistani leaders had to stick by commitments made to PM Vajpayee and repeated to PM Singh in 2005 that they would not permit attacks on India launched from Pakistani soil. If so, huge trade opportunities awaited, according to the Prime Minister, who added that a strong Indian constituency favoured normalized relations,” the cable says.

Recalling the July, 2008, attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Singh asserted that it had been carried out “with the active encouragement” of Pakistan’s ISI and that he had raised the issue with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.

Source: Times of India

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