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Monday, November 5, 2007

Bhutto Rips Musharraf's 'Power Grab'
n 'GMA' Interview, Calls for Free Elections, Worries Her Country Could Fall Into Terrorists' Hands
They have not only regrouped, but today they exercise large influences in the tribal areas of Pakistan which serve, in some parts, as safe havens for them. They're not knocking on the doors of the frontier province and other states in Pakistan. And they have their eye on Islamabad, too. So, I worry about the expansion of militancy and my report indicates that this group--
Weir: If you were still prime minister, how would you crack down on these terrorists? How would you stop the violence?
Bhutto: I would put together a team of moderate officials who had no sympathy for the militants and the extremists, so I could get good intelligence and I could get good action against the militants whenever they tried any of their activities. And secondly, I would involve the people. The people must be mobilized.
Weir: Gen. Musharraf, in his speech last night, compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, and suspending some civil liberties for the greater good, to preserve the union. That seems like a direct message to the United States. What does this move say about Gen. Musharraf's relationship with the United States, doing this despite great protest from this side of the Atlantic?
Bhutto: Certainly, Gen. Musharraf is trying to convey to the international community that the reason he has acted is because he wants to contain terrorism. But many people in Pakistan believe that it has nothing to do with stopping terrorism and it has everything to do with stopping a court verdict that is coming against him for holding the dual offices of army chief and president. Poor President Lincoln, he must be turning in his grave.
Weir: But the United States has been sending billions of dollars to the Musharraf government there. Does this signify a cutoff between that relationship?
Bhutto: When the United States sends billions of dollars, the United States needs to ask, where has the money gone? At the end of the day, there isn't accountability. And when I look at the situation in Pakistan, I see that poverty and unemployment has increased. The United States is the world's greatest democracy and Gen. Musharraf made a commitment he made a commitment to the international community
He made a commitment to the people of Pakistan that he would hold fair, free and impartial elections, scheduled for this year, in fact scheduled to start on Nov. 15. So, I would like to ask the international community to use that aid and to use that leverage to hold Gen. Musharraf firm to the commitment that he made. He must not be allowed to break that commitment.
It is in Pakistan's interest if fair elections are held and if Gen. Musharraf truly wants to find extremism and truly wants to emulate great leaders like Abraham Lincoln, then he needs to know that such policies lie in following freedom, democracy and building a moderate society by strengthening the judiciary, strengthening the political parties and civil society, not muzzling the press and arresting political activists.
Bhutto Rips Musharraf's 'Power Grab' - Continued
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