Posts Tagged ‘Benazir Bhutto’

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Former President Musharraf to return on January 31

November 26, 2011

Dubai: In what appears to be a surprising move, former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has decided to return to Pakistan earlier than he had announced due to the fast-changing political scene in the country.

According to one of his aides, Musharraf will fly back to Pakistan on January 31, 2012, instead of March 23 as was announced by him in a press conference in Dubai earlier this year.

A deepening political crisis and the sharp increase in popularity of Imran Khan in Pakistan have ostensibly prompted Musharraf to take this decision.

Meanwhile, a senior Pakistan government official has revealed to Gulf News that the Pakistani authorities have clearly conveyed to Musharraf the threats to his life in case of his return.

“We advised him to stay out of the country because there are threats to his life not only from extremist groups but also others who don’t want to see him in Pakistan,” the official said.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhuatto, who was assassinated on her return from Dubai in 2007, also faced similar threats and warnings before her return but it was Musharraf, in power at the time, who had warned her.

Musharraf, however, has rubbished these threats and is determined to go back. He will be on a tour of the UK, US and Saudi Arabia for the next month to ensure guarantees for his safe return and the launch of his political campaign to contest the next elections.

The decision has been taken following marathon meetings Musharraf held with his party leaders and supporters who came to Dubai from Pakistan, UK, US and Canada.

The three-day-long parleys concluded yesterday with a decision that it is time for Musharraf to go back as soon as possible. Musharraf, who has been living in self-exile, had launched his political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), in October 2011 in a bid to give a third option to the Pakistani electorate.

Almost finalised

“We have almost finalised our party’s organisational structure in Pakistan and are paving the way for our leader’s return,” Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesperson of the APML told Gulf News in Dubai.

When asked about Musharraf’s early return, he did not confirm the date but did acknowledge that the decision had been taken for Musharraf to go back earlier. He said formal plans of his return would be announced by the end of December.

Some five plane-loads of people will accompany Musharraf to Pakistan. He will start his journey from London and reach Pakistan via Dubai. However, a decision is yet to be taken on whether he will land in Karachi or Islamabad.

Meanwhile, Chaudhry said efforts are on for a possible alliance with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Altaf Hussain’s MQM, while a number of politicians from different factions of Pakistan Muslim League are also in touch to join the APML.

“APML will emerge as a third political force and alternative to the current political parties because the people of Pakistan want change,” Musharraf had said in an earlier meeting and added he would take his chances in a bid to make a comeback to power to save Pakistan.

He said the current government had become completely dysfunctional while the administration structure had broken down and the country was facing political turmoil, in addition to a worsening law and order situation.

The meetings lead by Musharraf also discussed his security plans on his return and also the issue of arrest warrants. Musharraf is facing two arrests warrants including one over the killing of a Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and the another on the murder of Benazir Bhutto.

Source: Gulf News

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Musharraf will not comply with warrant: spokesman

February 12, 2011

LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf will not return to Pakistan to comply with an arrest warrant issued by a court over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, his spokesman in London said Saturday.

“No, he won’t be going back for this hearing,” Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for ex-military ruler Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party, told AFP, adding that the warrant was “totally ridiculous.”

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court earlier Saturday ordered Musharraf, who is currently in self-imposed exile in London, to appear for a hearing on February 19 over claims about the assassination of ex-premier Bhutto in December 2007.

Pakistani prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali said Musharraf was alleged to have been part of a “broad conspiracy” to have his political rival killed before elections but the exact nature of the charges was not clear.

Chaudhry said he had heard that Musharraf, who was president at the time of her death and who stepped down in 2008, was accused of failing to provide adequate security for Bhutto.

“How can the president of a country be made responsible for the non-provision of security? It’s totally ridiculous, you cannot pin criminal responsibility on a president for that,” Chaudhry said.

He accused Pakistan’s judiciary of becoming politicised following Musharraf’s dismissal of the country’s chief justice in 2007, which prompted a constitutional crisis that eventually led to his own resignation.

“It is unfortunate that the judges in Pakistan have literally become a political party,” he said.

“Pakistan’s courts are right now trying to politicise the situation and take on Mr Musharraf after he dismissed the chief justice.”Chaudhry insisted that Musharraf still planned to go back to Pakistan eventually to contest elections, adding: “His return to Pakistan will be a political decision.”– AFP

Source: Dawn

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Charlie Wilson’s War Part 2?

October 20, 2010

Pakistan’s Musharraf is launching a long-shot, long-distance bid to be president again

By ZAIN SHAUKHOUSTON CHRONICLE

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf hopes to retake the leadership of his country, and he is actively campaigning — in Texas.

The former president of Pakistan has a set of Houston meetings planned this week with wealthy Pakistani-Americans and corporate leaders.

He is scheduled to meet today with former President George H.W. Bush and Joanne King Herring, a longtime advocate for development in Afghanistan and Pakistan who was played by actress Julia Roberts in the film Charlie Wilson’s War.

Musharraf, a London resident since he relinquished his presidency in 2008, announced this month the creation of a new political party and a plan to run in Pakistan’s 2013 parliamentary elections.

But he has kicked off his campaign in the U.S., a decision that could say more about the perceived influence of the Pakistani-American community in cities such as Houston than Musharraf’s chances for success, experts say.

Musharraf said he believes connecting with Pakistanis in America will give him enough backing — financially and politically — to carry him to victory in Pakistan.

“I do need financial support, and I would ask the American Pakistani diaspora to support me … because I see darkness in Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “Because I don’t see a political party or a leader in Pakistan to be able to tackle the problems that Pakistan is facing.”

While Musharraf enjoys backing from the Pakistani-American elite, experts say he will be hard-pressed to develop a political base within his country and likely does not stand a chance against more established parties.

He is also in no position to campaign within Pakistan. Safety is a concern after multiple assassination attempts during his presidency, and he would likely face prosecution in connection with several criminal cases currently pending in Pakistani courts, experts said.

Still, Musharraf’s interest in wooing deep-pocketed Pakistani-Americans is revealing, said Walter Andersen, associate director of the South Asia program at John Hopkins University.

Not only do Pakistani-Americans play a role in financially supporting candidates, but their meetings in America are covered by Pakistani news media and seem to give politicians the idea that they are gaining traction, Andersen said.

Former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif also visited U.S. communities while campaigning, he said.

“Whether it works is not important,” Andersen said. “The perception among them (politicians) is that it works.”

Wide-ranging itinerary

U.S. communities don’t play a visible role in Pakistani elections, but Musharraf could stand to gain from his current North America tour, said Jamal Elias, an expert on contemporary Pakistan and chairman of the religious studies department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Musharraf’s itinerary will include stops in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Toronto. He visited Dallas last week.

“Appearing statesman-like is going to help him in Pakistan,” Elias said. “It’s not going to build a constituency, but it may help him.”

There are more than 75,000 people of Pakistani origin in the Houston area, which includes more than 800 doctors, executives in the energy and information technology industries and scores of business owners, according to the Consulate of Pakistan in Houston.

Many of them have in the past contributed financially to political parties in Pakistan and will likely do so again, said M.J. Khan, a former Houston city councilman and member of the Pakistani community.

Khan said he does not send money to Pakistani political candidates, but knows U.S. residents in Houston and elsewhere who do. “They’re an educated community, and they send a lot of resources to Pakistan,” Khan said. “So I think every politician in Pakistan feels the Pakistani-American community is an important group to reach out to.”

Tactics questioned

Some community members – including Sajjad Burki, president of a Houston chapter for a political party headed by Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan – were not sure of the former president’s legitimacy as a candidate. Burki questioned Musharraf’s campaign tactics and priorities.

“It doesn’t make sense for him to be creating a political party and campaigning abroad rather than campaigning in Pakistan,” he said.

Herring, who is hoping to build support for Musharraf’s candidacy, said she planned to back him because of his support for her development efforts in Afghanistan.

“I think that Musharraf is interested in my plan,” Herring said. “I know he is. He supports it.”

Seeks ‘legitimacy’

Musharraf, a retired general, said he hopes a possible election to office will give him “the legitimacy that maybe I didn’t have in the past” as someone who had seized control of the government in a 1999 military coup.

He spent much of a luncheon Tuesday discussing the threats to Pakistan created by instability and lack of development in Afghanistan. Asked how he would solve that and a host of other challenges, Musharraf paused and smiled at his audience.

“First of all, get me elected,” he said.

zain.shauk@chron.com

Source: Chron – Houston and Texas News

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Pakistan needs Musharraf-EXCLUSIVE

September 15, 2009

Written by Mr. Ahmad Subhani

The then little known Pervez Musharraf, the Army Chief, emerged on the political horizon of Pakistan on October 12, 1999, by default, as circumstances forced him to take over the reins of the government The state of affairs prevalent at that time was extremely worrisome. Almost all state institutions had stood ruined. Economy, in particular, was in tatters—-Pakistan was on the verge of being declared a ‘ failed state’.

Since the year 1988, four notables of the country, who have held the reins of power are: Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari. Having gone through their tenures, a bird’s eye view account of their performance is given as under:–

Benazir and Zardari with Daphne BarakPPP leader, Benazir Bhutto, held the office of the prime minister twice—1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996. On both occasions, she was dismissed from office by the then Presidents on charges of corruption, mismanagement and incompetence. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also alleged, that Benazir had a close friendship with Rajev Gandhi; had links with RAW and she had betrayed the Sikh cause by providing names of important Sikh leaders to the Indian Govt. As per press reports, in accordance with her negotiated power sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf, she was granted amnesty and by virtue of NRO, all charges against her, including amassing of mammoth ill-gotten riches, were withdrawn. Unfortunately, she was assassinated soon after her return to Pakistan in December, 2007. The oft-repeated claim of PPP, including Benazir Bhutto, that they had promoted democracy in the country, is a complete hoax; she never conducted in-party elections—-nomination was the norm; she accepted life-Chairmanship of the party without any hesitation and in her “will”, she nominated her husband to be her successor, as if it was a dynastic rule. Democracy was thus confined merely to holding of general elections.

Nawaz SharifNawaz Sharif also held the post of the Prime Minister twice—-from 1990 to 1993 and from 1997 to 1999. In 1993, he was dismissed by the President on charges of corruption, nepotism and incompetence. In 1999, he was ousted by the then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf, when he tried to get rid of him by not allowing his plane to land anywhere in Pakistan Before that, Nawaz  got rid of former Army Chief, General Jahangir Kramat and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He has often claimed of having promoted democracy, independent judiciary and freedom of press in the country. His” love” for “freedom of judiciary, reminds us of the attack by his cronies and goons on the Supreme Court in1997-98, where his   case of misconduct  was being heard .He repeatedly  acted against the spirit of democracy  by  enacting oppressive laws like,  “Ehtisab Accountability Law” and “Anti terrorism Act”. He curbed press freedom by promulgating “Registration of Printing Press and Publication Ordinance 1977” Foreign Currency Accounts were frozen which  drastically undermined the domestic and foreigners’ confidence and led to withdrawal of 13 billion dollars from the FACS, in no time. All economic, social and security parameters had been relegated to their worst ever position.

Taking into consideration the period from 1988 to 1999, it is note-worthy that the “democratic” governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif held five elections during this period, but none of the governments could complete its term, mainly due the intolerance and undemocratic attitude of its leaders… Both the top leaders never accepted the results of the elections. Not only that, both of them accused each other of being “security risk” for the country. Under these trying circumstances, Pervez Musharraf assumed power on October 12, 1999 and as stated earlier, Pakistan was on the brink of disaster then. He accepted the challenge and with great effort and skilful handling, placed its derailed economy back on the track.

A leader is judged by what he delivers. Let us have an idea, what Pervez Musharraf has delivered in his 8-year stint in office. Pakistan economy grew by 100% to become $ 160 billion. Per Capita income grew by 100% to become $ 925. Foreign Reserves grew by 500 % to become $ 17 billion. Exports grew by 100% to become $ 18.5 billion. Direct Foreign Investment grew by 500% to become 8 billion. Poverty decreased by 10 % to become 24%.In 2006, Pakistan was the third fastest growing economy in the World and a preferred destination for investors. During his tenure, record number of projects were started and completed. Higher Education Sector budget that was mere Rs. 200 million in 1999, shot up to Rs.20 billion in 2007. During his tenure, Pakistan got out of IMF’s hold and its remarkable progress was acknowledged also by the World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank. Few adverse factors too came into play near to the end of his reign, due mainly to worldwide food inflation and constant rise in international oil prices. Lapses on the part of Administration also partly contributed to this fiasco since it failed to control hoarding and smuggling of food items. In aggregate, Musharraf has done much more for Pakistan than anyone else had done ever.

General Pervez Musharraf-Saviour of PakistanAs regards his personal qualities, those who know him from close quarters would affirm that as a person, he is honest, straightforward, tolerant and humble. As a ruler, he has exhibited sterling qualities such as, statesmanship, courage, patriotism and incorruptibility. This explains why he has accomplished so much in so little a time. In common parlance, he is called a dictator, yet viewed in the light of his ways of working and behaving, he is far more democratic than most of his so-called democratic adversaries. In fact, it is his democratic policies that have made him unpopular. For instance, he granted un-fettered freedom to the media but media used its new-found freedom in making Musharraf its foremost target. He is he is the only dictator, who has fulfilled the promises he made; shedding of uniform, lifting of emergency, holding of free and fair elections and unconditionally accepting results of the elections. At present, he is the only living Pakistani leader known the World-over and is held in high esteem. He speaks in unequivocal terms with conviction.

Certain allegations have been levelled against him by his opponents. Of these, Kargel War episode, Dr. Qadeer Khan’s case and participation in War on Terrorism have been dealt with, at length, by Pervez Musharraf in his speeches and memoirs (In the Line of Fire). In Lal Masjid’s case, action taken by the Govt. was unavoidable as no Govt. worth its name, could tolerate repeated violations of its writ by miscreants, who persistently indulged in unlawful and immoral activities. In Chief Justice I. M. Chaudhry’s case, reference against him was filed by Musharraf with the Supreme Judicial Council on charge of misconduct involving illegitimate favours extended to his son. The Supreme Court issued a short order dismissing the reference, but the detailed judgment is still awaited! The said case against the C.J., was mishandled and was fully exploited by the politicized lawyers who resorted to street agitation etc. The lawyers’ movement was high jacked by the Opposition, led by Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League. Nawab Akber Bughti’s murder was a simple case blown out of all proportion. He was killed in a military action when Govt. repelled his sponsored terrorist activity launched by his followers who were destroying national assets like, Sui gas installations, railway tracks, bridges etc. Promulgation of PCO and NRO in November, 2007, has also been objected to. As admitted by Pervez Musharraf himself, the PCO issued was unconstitutional, and was rescinded. As for NRO, this was a conciliatory gesture initiated by the President, which, in fact, enabled the present ruling parties’ heavy weights to return from their self imposed exile from abroad and participate in the ensuing elections, which they readily did.

Pervez Musharraf resigned on August 18, 2008 and the PPP Co- Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari took over.The newly elected PPP Govt. has been in place for the last more than an year and a half. Its performance, under the custodianship of Zardari, can best be described as unmitigated disaster. All economic indicators that had been made positive during Mushrraf’s regime have turned negative. The economy has deteriorated so fast and to such an extent, that Pakistan has been declared as one of the failed states of the World. Sky rocketing inflation, ever mounting unemployment, rapidly deteriorating law and order situation , never ending energy crisis—lately joined by flour and sugar crisis, have all rendered the life of the common man miserable. The change of Govt. has proved catastrophic for the nation. This abysmal down slide is the cumulative effect of rampant corruption, all pervading nepotism, gross incompetence and worst governance. It appears that the attention and energies of the ruling class are exclusively focused on grabbing more and more power and pelf through all conceivable means. In this mad race, they have sidelined the masses, who are now being fed on false promises. For a common man, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The “begging bowl”, that was broken during Musharraf’s reign, has been resurrected and the Govt.’s emissaries are roaming all over the World seeking aid from every Tom, Dick and Harry. What a reversal of fortunes indeed! President Zardari is himself leading the charade nonchalantly and unabashedly. Moreover, he has miserably failed to live up to the expectations of the nation in all spheres of national activity.

Pervez Musharraf has on many an occasion, opened up his mind saying, that Pakistan is his first priority. If it is so, won’t he take care of his forlorn baby? Everybody realizes that the gigantic task ahead for resurrecting the country’s  devastated economy and rehabilitating its crippled institutions, is a far more difficult and exacting job now than was the case in 1999, yet a devoted and determined statesman like him, I am sure, has the acumen and capability to meet the challenges coming ahead, undauntedly. He is the only ray of hope for this forsaken nation. I trust, he will respond to this clarion call, at the earliest possible. Wish him God speed.

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PAKISTAN-A SHIP WITHOUT HELMSMAN

August 10, 2009

By Mr. Ahmad Subhani

sinking-shipISLAMABAD, Pakistan—How truthful it has been stated that, “before the creation of Pakistan, there was a statesman without a state; today there exists a state without statesmen. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that the politician thinks of the next election, whereas the statesman thinks of the next generation; a politician looks for the success of his party, the statesman for that of his country. Lastly, a politician never means what he says and never says what he means, but a statesman says what he means and means what he says.”  The foregoing description truly mirrors the condition that has prevailed in Pakistan since its inception. Its founder, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a great statesman and acknowledged so by all those who knew him. The leaders that followed him fit in the description of ‘leader’ as given in the above quotation. Leaving aside the distant past, let us glance through the credentials of the current two major political contenders to the power, namely, Pakistan Peoples Party and Muslim League (Nawaz). Incidentally, both these parties have remained at the helm of affairs, twice in succession during the period 1988 to 1999. PPP is again in power since the year 2008. For brevity sake, I have ventured to recollect here only the salient features of their self-acclaimed “accomplishments” during their tenure to refresh the memory of worthy readers in this respect.

Late Benazir Bhutto, Chair-person of the Peoples Party held the reins of her office during 1988 to 1990 and then again from 1993 to 1996. She was dismissed from office by the then President primarily on the charge of corruption. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also alleged that she had maintained close friendship with the Indian Prime Misnister, Rajev Gandhi; had links with RAW and had betrayed the ‘Khalsa Movement’ by providing names of important sikh leaders of the movement to the Indian Govt. In 1996, President Laghari dismissed her on charges of mismanagement, nepotism and corruption. In those days it was openly talked about that she and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari were robbers; though born with silver spoon in mouth, yet they looted and plundered the national treasury with both hands and transferred the looted money to their accounts in the foreign banks; also they had purchased property and assets worth billion of dollars abroad with the ill-gotten money.

The oft-repeated claim of P.P.P. leaders including Benazir Bhutto, that they had promoted democratic culture in the country is a complete hoax. Apart from her persistent dictatorial stance in her day to day dealings with fellow countrymen that bordered on fascism, she never conducted in-party elections; nominations were the normal course of action. She readily accepted the life- chairmanship of the party without any qualms. Last but not the least, she in her “will”, nominated her husband to be her successor party chairman, as if this all was a dynastic rule. Thus democracy was confined to only holding of elections.

Coming to Nawaz Sharif, he held office of the Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and then from 1997 to 1999. In 1993, he was dismissed by the President on charges of corruption, nepotism and incompetence. In 1999, he was ousted by the then Army Chief, General Pervez Musharraf when Nawaz Sharif tried to eliminate him from the scene by not allowing the aircraft by which Musharraf was returning from Sri Lanka, to land any where in Pakistan. But for the timely intervention of the army the crash of the plane could not have been averted because the plane had run short of fuel and was not at all in a position to fly outside of Pakistan. In fact, it was the third attempt on the part of Nawaz Sharif  to have complete control  and hold over the destiny of the nation. Earlier on, he had  gotten rid of the former Army Chief, Gen. Karamat and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan by underhand means.

The  three “ achievements” of which Nawaz Sharif has been boasting here there and every where are promotion of :-1 Democracy ; 2 Independent Judiciary ;and 3 Freedom of Press. Let us examine this claim on the altar of ground realities. When talking of independence of judiciary, Nawaz’s confrontation with the judiciary readily comes to mind. In 1997, the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court held Nawaz Sharif in contempt of court for passing derogatory  remarks against him and other judges. This episode created a riot in the Supreme Court that eventually led to the Chief Justice’s resignation. Nawaz Sharif had unleashed his entire propaganda machinery to undermine independence of judiciary. He had no patience for independent judges and tried to replace those who disagreed with him. The judges under the political influence, used to pass the judgments first and hear the witnesses later. His political workers and goons physically attacked the Supreme Court, abused the judges and indulged in violence and made the judges flee the court room to save their lives. It, therefore, sounds amusing to hear from the “tamer of the democracy” that his “first order if he returns to power would be to restore the deposed judges.”

As for democracy, the champion of democracy repeatedly trampled the same by issuing draconian laws like “Ehtisab Accountability Law” under which a number of opposition leaders were arrested and detained on fake charges.  “Anti Terrorism Act” empowered the law enforcement agencies to kill a person on mere suspicion and conduct search operations without warrants. This turned the country into a police state. Military courts were set up for the trial of civilians. To reinforce his authority further and to ensure his rule for an indefinite period, a new Islamic order by imposing Shariat (15th Constitutional Amendment) was promulgated enabling him assume unbridled powers as “Amirul Mominin”. All this smacked of establishing ‘theocratic fascism’ in Pakistan.

He now talks of ‘press freedom’ which he tried to curb soon after his assumption of office as Prime Minister. by promulgating ‘Registration of  Printing Press and Publishing Ordinance 1977 which authorized magistrates and sub-inspectors to initiate action including forfeitures of newspaper copies without judicial review and restraint. This led to harassment and intimidation of journalists. Fundamental rights were suspended by imposing a state of emergency in the country, apparently aimed at freezing foreign currency accounts of the people which drastically undermined domestic and foreign investors’ confidence, an idea of which can be had from the fact that almost 13 billion dollars in the FCAS evaporated in no time. His claim to have left a peaceful and progressive Pakistan behind, is a cruel joke played on this nation. All economic social and security parameters had been relegated to the worst ever position when he left.

Finally,Pakistan’s history pertaining to the period from 1988 to 1999 and then since 2008 is a witness to the fact that Nawaz Sharif , Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari have proved to be the spoilers of democracy   and betrayers of peoples’ trust, hopes and aspirations. At present, no other leader of substance is visible who could steer the ship of the state out of the troubled waters to shores of safety. Ex.-President, Pervez Musharraf (1999—2008), did illuminate the dark horizon of our country for a while, when his stupendous efforts and pragmatic approach salvaged the sinking economy and put it on even keel. He brought about remarkable upturn in all spheres of national life and earned acclaim and approbation nationally and internationally. But certain crucial mistakes committed by him during 2007

Onwards which were blown out of all proportions and exploited to the hilt by his adversaries forced his exit from the scene. Now, no body can say when another rescuer like him would surface, to guide the destiny of this virtually lost nation to a successful and vibrant future.

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Where were the lawyers then?

August 9, 2009
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Musharraf blames USA for Trust Deficit

April 27, 2009

Pervez Musharraf with David FrostApril 24, 2009: FORMER Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, blames the United States for what he believes is a ‘trust deficit’ between the two countries.

He says that President Obama has not helped change the US attitude towards Pakistan and that there are very few differences between President Obama and his predecessor. He has also called for Pakistan to take control of the US drones and argued that the Swat Valley must remain in the Pakistani legal system.

Speaking exclusively to Sir David Frost for “Frost Over The World” on Al Jazeera English, he was asked if there was a healthy relationship between Pakistan and the US. “No,” he replied.

“There is, unfortunately, a trust deficit … the worst part of the whole situation is there’s a trust deficit in the United States against the ISI; and in many quarters against the army… These are the two institutions which are the guarantors of stability of Pakistan… Now if you are to fight terrorism and extremism, and these two institutions are to be mistrusted, who in Pakistan is going to fight terrorism and extremism?”

When asked if he thought things had changed for the better under President Obama, he said: “I don’t see any change really. I mean, what are the changes as far as terrorism and extremism is concerned, and as far as our region and Afghanistan is concerned? There is no change. Force is required. He has taken the decision to send more force. So what was happening in the past? There was force requirement and he is following exactly the same strategy.”

Former President Musharraf’s comments came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Pakistan for allowing extremists to control the Swat Valley in north-western Pakistan, resulting in a “mortal threat” to world security.

When asked by Sir David Frost whether he agreed with the current Pakistani government conceding to the Taliban in allowing Sharia law in the Swat Valley, Musharraf said: “Any compromise on a position of strength when you are dealing with them is the wrong way. We must deal politically, but from a position of strength… If it is outside that legal structure you cannot have a challenge to the writ of the Government… Speedy, cheap justice must be ensured within the legal ambit of Pakistan, and the constitution of Pakistan. Denying the constitution of Pakistan, and bringing laws which are different from Pakistan, must not be allowed. “

He also claimed that the Taliban was a greater threat than Al Qaeda, saying: “They get their strength from the population. Al Qaeda doesn’t get strength from the population.”

Musharraf also called for the US drones that patrol Pakistan to be brought under the control of the Pakistani government, arguing that Pakistan does not have the technology available to fight terrorism.

“We cannot allow any foreign force to attack on our side of the border. We must use our own forces. And whatever resources are lacking, Pakistan must be given those resources. What these drones see are obviously much more than we have through human intelligence. We bank on human intelligence, and also some technical intelligence.”

The former President did not dismiss the possibility of returning to power, saying: “Pakistan comes first. I hope and pray that the government that handles Pakistan does well for Pakistan. Progress and development of the state, the welfare and wellbeing of its people.

“If they can ensure this, I’ll be the happiest man. But if this is not ensured, and Pakistan is on a nosedive or a self-destruct mechanism is on… then if I can contribute something to rectify the situation, certainly I will. My life is for the country; for Pakistan.”

Musharraf also spoke of two secret meetings he had held with Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi, in which he claims he warned her twice not to return to Pakistan for fear of assassination.

“She was not supposed to return before the elections… And I told her personally that there were threats. Very, very important threats… She ignored all that… And unfortunately they made a lot of hue and cry against me that I was not allowing her political activity. But it was simply a threat to her life! The next time then she ignored all that. I said, ‘Okay, if she wants to go, let her go! She’s not understanding.’ And then you know what happened.”

Source: http://www.theasiannews.co.uk

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