Islamabad: Warning that Pakistan “is in danger”, former President Pervez Musharraf today said that its leadership must take cognisance of concerns expressed by world community about security situation in the country but asserted that nobody should dictate any course of action to it. “The country is in danger and if we get bogged down in minor and old issues, there will be problems,” Musharraf said at the airport here before he embarked on a visit to Saudi Arabia.
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“The issue is very serious. Everyone in the world is seeing the seriousness of the issue in Pakistan. Everyone is trying to chart a course of action,” he said. At the same time, he said that Pakistan must chart its own course of action to steer the country out of the problems it is facing.
“And we have to be clear that nobody should dictate any course of action to us. We have to find our own course of action and save this country and move it forward towards progress,” he added. Asked whether he thought the peace deal with the Taliban in northwestern Swat valley would usher in peace and end suicide attacks, Musharraf replied: “Nothing can be said. If the agreement is only for ensuring speedy and cheap justice within the Pakistani legal structure and system, then it is alright. But if (the deal was inked) from a position of weakness, if they want to challenge the writ of government, the deal is dangerous and should not be allowed.”
He said that he believed the army and the administration are thinking about this issue and will take the correct steps. President Asif Ali Zardari recently approved a controversial law to enforce Shariah or Islamic law in Swat to quell a nearly two-year-old Taliban insurgency in the region located just 160 kms from Islamabad. Musharraf had launched a military campaign against the Taliban in Swat in late 2007. Musharraf said no conditions should be attached to the financial aid provided to Pakistan.
“We should not be happy about just getting money. There is interest on it, we are not getting it for free,” he said, referring to the $5 billion aid pledged to Pakistan at a donors’ conference in Tokyo on Friday. The former military ruler was irked when asked if he would be willing to appear before any commission that could be set up to probe the 2007 military operation against radical elements holed up in the Lal Masjid in Islamabad. “It is time to end the lies. Those who say women and children were killed and several hundreds died in the Lal Masjid operation are telling white lies. Only 94 people were killed and all of them were terrorists and extremists. Not a single woman or child was killed,” he said. Musharraf said he would meet King Abdullah during his stay in Saudi Arabia. He said he would also visit London and Prague for interviews and delivering lectures.