Backing Musharraf hurting US: Pakistan’s Khan

Pakistani cricket star turned politician, Imran Khan speaks during a news conference to discuss the current situation in Pakistan at the Amnesty International office in Washington January 22, 2008. (REUTERS/Mike Theiler)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Continued U.S. backing of President Pervez Musharraf risks alienating Pakistanis and increasing extremism in the nuclear-armed Islamic country, cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said on Tuesday.

Khan said he came to the United States “to try and convince the politicians in Washington that the policy they have adopted is a disaster for Pakistan and it is a disaster for America.”

His main message to senior U.S. lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was that Washington must apply more pressure to make Musharraf reinstate the senior Pakistani justices who were sacked under emergency rule late last year.

“Sadly, the U.S. administration talked about elections, but did not talk about the reinstatement of the judges, which is the key to holding free and fair elections,” said Khan.

“This flawed policy has not only increased anti-Americanism in Pakistan but it has also inadvertently fueled terrorism in the country,” he added.

Khan’s small Tehrik-e-Insaaf (Movement for Justice) party is boycotting February 18 elections, which he accused Musharraf of planning to rig to ensure a compliant parliament.

Khan, who led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup and founded his own party with Islamic overtones a decade ago, was among thousands of opponents and lawyers Musharraf detained after he imposed emergency rule on November 3.

Although the politicians were released and emergency rule was formally lifted in mid-December, the Supreme Court Chief Justice and other sacked judges have not been reinstated and remain a popular rallying point, Khan said.

He said President George W. Bush’s backing for Musharraf, regarded as a valued U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda, is compounding Pakistan’s problems.

“The strategy should be that only a genuinely elected government should be able to deal with terrorism by mobilizing the people and marginalize the terrorists,” said Khan.

Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999 but was embraced by Washington after the September 11 attacks.

via//Reuters, Boston Globe

Tagged with:
Posted in George W. Bush, International Relations, Pakistan, United States, War on Terror

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Stats (July 2006-)
  • 149,336 unique hits
This site may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.
%d bloggers like this: