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Entries in Pervez Musharraf (7)

Tuesday
May282013

Taliban Issues New Death Threat on Musharraf

Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage(ISLAMABAD, Pakistan) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has enough on his mind without having to worry about a fresh round of death threats.

Musharraf is currently under house arrest on charges stemming from abuse of power while he was the country's leader before going into exile in 2009.

Now, the Pakistani Taliban is again vowing to kill Musharraf as it did before he returned to his native land last March for what turned out to be a failed political comeback.

In a video released over the weekend, a Taliban spokesman said, "Soon we will punish this Satan to death for his wicked deeds...From Balochistan to Waziristan, Musharraf engulfed this country in blood and fire. He is the killer of hundreds of innocent students of Lal Masjid."

Musharraf, who escaped numerous assassination attempts while president, ordered a 2007 operation to ferret out extremists hiding in the Lal Masjid mosque in Islamabad, which ultimately led to more than 100 deaths.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar252013

Former Pakistani Leader Musharraf Begins Political Comeback

Photo by Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage(KARACHI, Pakistan) -- After four years in exile, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf arrived in Karachi on Sunday to mount a political comeback despite persistent death threats from the Taliban.

Musharraf, once the head of the powerful Pakistani military that seized power during a bloodless coup in 1999, only to be sent packing a decade later, will lead his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, when parliamentary elections take place in May.

Although his bloc can only expect minimal gains, the fact that the 69-year-old Musharraf has defied the Pakistani Taliban to return is remarkable, given the group's purported creation of a death squad to kill him.

His reign was marked by numerous assassination attempts against him. However, Musharraf managed to come out unscathed and remained a close ally of the U.S. in an effort to keep al Qaeda and the Taliban from taking over Pakistan while a war raged next door in Afghanistan.

Things began to unravel quickly for Musharraf following the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto with many pointing the finger at the Pakistani president for allegedly organizing the murder.

While denying any involvement in the plot to kill Bhutto, Musharraf nonetheless left Pakistan in 2009 rather than face arrest.  He was able to return Sunday after the government granted him protective bail.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct062011

Musharraf: Afghanistan Is a Proxy War Between India and Pakistan

Riccardo S. Savi/WireImage(WASHINGTON) -- Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Thursday described Afghanistan as a proxy war between India and Pakistan.

He made his comments as part of the rolling panels at the Washington Ideas Forum taking place at the Newseum.

Musharraf added that he is convinced that Osama bin Laden hiding in Abbotabad, Pakistan, was not about Pakistani government complicity, but a “terrible case of negligence” and speculated that the worsening U.S.-Pakistan relationship might be because of the lack of a personal relationship between the leaders of both countries.   

The former Pakistani president said the United States needs to understand Pakistan’s “sensitivities” about Afghanistan’s relationship with India.  

“In Afghanistan, there is some kind of a proxy conflict going on between Pakistan and India,” he said. “India is trying to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan.”

He added that India has a vision of dominating the region and aims to "create a weak Pakistan.”

He complained that India has been training Afghan diplomats, soldiers and intelligence officers and that the training should stop.

Musharraf said personal relationships with President Bush and Colin Powell helped ease tensions. He recalled that Powell said to him, “Let’s talk general to general,” which resulted “in straight upright talking” that resolved issues.

"I wonder whether that exists now, that understanding, that mutual confidence,” he said. “Maybe it is not there and, therefore, yes, there is a total breakdown of confidence and that is what is harming the relationship.”

Asked why recent polling in Pakistan holds the U.S. in low esteem, Musharraf recalled how the U.S. “abandoned” Pakistan in 1989 after the Soviet Union left Afghanistan and imposed subsequent sanctions against Pakistan. That left Pakistan “all alone fending by itself” for 12 years and created a sense among the Pakistani population that it had been betrayed.

The U.S. returned after 9/11, Musharraf said, and what “the people are asking is: How are you sure that we are not to be betrayed again, [that the] same thing will not happen, that [Pakistan] will be used again and betrayed again?”  

Musharraf said that “historical past” has led to mistrust and antipathy against the United States at the people level in light of the U.S. scaledown in Afghanistan planned for 2014.    

Musharraf said bin Laden’s hiding in plain sight in Abbotabad was “a terrible thing” but it was “not complicity, it was a terrible case of negligence which must be explained by Pakistan.”

If bin Laden was hiding there for five years, he said, it would have included two years during his rule, “so whether anyone in this hall believes it or not, I did not know. So therefore, I am 500-percent sure that I didn’t know so, therefore, there was no complicity.”

He also noted that locals said they did not know bin Laden was hiding out in the Abbotabad compound.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May112011

Former Pakistan President: 'Possibility' Officials Knew About Bin Laden

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The former president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, admitted to ABC News that rogue lower-level members of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence Agencies and military may have helped Osama bin Laden hide in plain sight near the capital, Islamabad.

Musharraf also said he agreed with Pakistan's refusal to allow the U.S. back into bin Laden's compound.

In the interview an ABC News Chief Law and Justice Correspondent Chris Cuomo, Musharraf called Osama bin Laden's six-year residence in the military town of Abbottabad, Pakistan, a "big blunder" on the part of Pakistani intelligence.  But he also warned the United States that if it continues to alienate Pakistan as they did in the bin Laden raid, the U.S. will be the "loser."

Musharraf said the Navy SEALs' raid could have also gone far differently than it did, with a seemingly uninterrupted entrance and exit through Pakistani airspace by the U.S. assault team.  According to reports this week, President Obama increased the size of the assault team sent to bin Laden's compound, concerned about a possible battle between U.S. and Pakistani forces.  Musharraf said the confrontation could have happened.

"Certainly it was a violation of our sovereignty, and I don't know if there were armed troops around, and if they saw some helicopters firing in a house without knowing who they are dealing with, there was a possibility of a clash like that, and firing from the Pakistani troops on ground could have taken place," he said.

In the days following the daring nighttime raid on bin Laden's walled compound, questions arose within the U.S. government about Pakistan's role in harboring the terror mastermind, including how much of an ally Pakistan really was in the fight against al Qaeda.  According to Musharraf, the feelings of mistrust are mutual.

"What kind of friend is that, that you haven't taken us into confidence?" he said.  "You can't clap with one hand.  If you don't trust Pakistan, how can Pakistan trust you?"

Musharraf called the belief that Pakistan sides with al Qaeda simply "sad."

Musharraf said instead that there was a possibility that rogue lower-level members of Pakistan's intelligence and military may have had knowledge of bin Laden's location.  He conceded they might have known during the last year of his six-year residency, and said there ought to be an investigation.

Regardless of who knew what, according to Musharraf, was the fact that the U.S. raid was a possible violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, that there was never a deal struck during his tenure to allow the U.S. to make a unilateral attack on Pakistan's soil if bin Laden was found.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May102011

Did Pakistan Know All Along About Plan to Get Osama Bin Laden?

AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A British newspaper claims that a deal was struck almost 10 years ago to allow the U.S. to conduct a raid inside Pakistan for the purpose of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden.

The supposed agreement between then-Presidents George W. Bush and Pervez Musharraf, reported in The Guardian, gave American forces permission to enter Pakistan to get bin Laden and other top al Qaeda leaders.

It was also understood that the Pakistani government would raise objections against any incursion, since it technically violates its national sovereignty.

This is pretty much how the scenario has played out since a team of Navy SEALs, under orders from President Obama, entered Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 1 and killed bin Laden. 

While the Pakistanis have expressed outrage about the operations, they had privately agreed to it in principle.  The Guardian claims such were the terms of the pact that was agreed to by Bush and Musharraf shortly after bin Laden escaped capture from Tora Bora, Afghanistan in December 2001.

A Pakistani senior official familiar with the deal told The Guardian, "As far as our American friends are concerned, they have just implemented the agreement."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Arrest Warrant Issued for Pervez Musharraf

Photo Courtesy - AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- A Pakistan court has issued an arrest warrant for former president Pervez Musharraf, in connection with the 2007 assassination of opposition party leader Benazir Bhutto.

Reports are that the warrant orders Musharraf to appear in court on Feb. 19 to answer to allegations by prosecutors that he failed to provide Bhutto with adequate protection around the time she was assassinated. Prosecutors are claiming that in the period leading up to Bhutto’s death, Musharraf was aware that the Taliban had been targeting Bhutto, but despite this knowledge Musharraf didn’t give the proper protection.

"There is no basis for the case,” Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesperson for Musharraf, told BBC News. “This is a politically motivated court ruling and the [former] president has no intention of complying."

Bhutto served as Pakistan’s prime minister from 1988-1990, and again from 1993-1996. She was assassinated in the city of Rawalpindi in December 2007 while campaigning for the presidency.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct102010

Fiery Musharraf Slams U.S. Assessment of Pakistan

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONDON) -- Pervez Musharraf, the former Pakistani president and general who came to power in coup in 1999 and resigned in 2008, slammed harsh U.S. assessments of Pakistan's fight against militants in an exclusive interview with ABC News.

"Pakistan has always been accused of not doing enough," he said, but he insisted that "Pakistan is doing enough."

Musharraf strongly rejected a recent White House report, which said "the Pakistani military continued to avoid military engagements that would put it in direct conflict with Afghan Taliban or al-Qaida forces in North Waziristan.”

"I totally disagree with this statement," Musharraf said.

ABC News asked the former president about criticism by the Obama administration that the ISI, the Pakistani spy agency, still supports the Taliban.

"I take very strong exception to these statements which have been going on maybe since 2004, because of a misunderstanding of ground realities," he said.

"After defeating the Taliban ... I always was of the view that we need to change strategy. We need to go in for deals," he said. "So my strategy always was to strike a deal, strike a deal to win away Pashtun from the Taliban."

Musharraf said his views were vindicated by the fact that there is now widespread discussion of Afghan authorities coming to some kind of accommodation with elements of the Taliban.

"There are problems that Pakistan is facing. There is no doubt, and nobody should deny that, that we have extremism in our society. We have al Qaeda and Taliban," he said. "But what we need -- we are not understanding -- are what are the causes behind terrorism is always a symptom.”

Musharraf announced in London on Oct. 2 that he was starting a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League.

"I see the condition of Pakistan," he said. "And I see that Pakistan is suffering. And in this darkness that prevails in Pakistan, I don't see any political party which can show the light.”

The former president faces logistical difficulties, however, in his quest to return to Islamabad. He faces legal charges in Pakistan and said he will remain in the United Kingdom for the time being. But, he insisted, "I will be there before the elections."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio