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Musharraf refutes charges against ISI

WASHINGTON: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has rejected allegations that elements from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had supported the Taliban over the years, saying that such accusations were unhelpful in the fight against militants.

“It is absolutely wrong to say that the ISI is still connected to the Taliban. I can give proof that the Pakistan Army has suffered over 2,500 deaths for which al Qaeda and the Taliban were responsible,” he said during a speaking tour of the US.

He admitted that he expected serious repercussions from Taliban elements on his possible return to Pakistan, because he had taken stringent action against them. While acknowledging that the army was unlikely to welcome him back, he said he wanted to return “through the mandate of the people.”

He also scoffed at being compared to current political leaders, especially Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif, adding that all elected governments have failed the country.

“The important thing for an elected government is to deliver to the people and to the state. If that is not happening, then it’s a problem,” Musharraf remarked.

“Unfortunately, the civil governments have never performed. And I repeat, never performed in their history,” he added.

Referring to cases against him, he said that despite serious allegations, there were no cases against him in any court of Pakistan. Out of the many cases filed by the PML-N, some have already fizzled out, while the rest were politically motivated. He vowed to defend all politically-inspired cases.

During other appearances before the US audiences, Musharraf criticised the response of President Asif Ali Zardari and the civilian government to floods that affected 21 million people.

When inquired about the US drone attacks in Pakistan, he stated, “Drone attacks violate

Pakistan’s sovereignty and have caused too many civilian deaths. I always suggested that the drones should be handed over to Pakistan.”

He also declared the statement of former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali regarding Musharraf’s endeavours to have his portrait imprinted on currency notes as a sheer joke, adding that Jamali was either delirious or was overwhelmed by Nawaz Sharif.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2010.

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