Archive for the ‘Nawaz Sharif’ Category

Pakistan to Talk With Militants, New Leaders Say

March 22, 2008
March 22, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Faced with a sharp escalation of suicide bombings in urban areas, the leaders of Pakistan’s new coalition government say they will negotiate with the militants believed to be orchestrating the attacks, and will use military force only as a last resort.That talk has alarmed American officials, who fear it reflects a softening stance toward the militants just as President Pervez Musharraf has given the Bush administration a freer hand to strike at militants using pilotless Predator drones.

Many Pakistanis, however, are convinced that the surge in suicide bombings — 17 in the first 10 weeks of 2008 — is retaliation for three Predator strikes since the beginning of the year. The spike in attacks, combined with the crushing defeat of Mr. Musharraf’s party in February parliamentary elections, has brought demands for change in his American-backed policies.

Speaking in separate interviews, the leaders of Pakistan’s new government coalition — Asif Ali Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Nawaz Sharif, head of the Pakistan Muslim League-N — tried to strike a more independent stance from Washington and repackage the conflict in a more palatable way for Pakistanis.

They said they were determined to set a different course from that of President Musharraf, who has received generous military financial help of more than $10 billion from Washington for his support.

“We are dealing with our own people,” said Mr. Sharif, who was twice prime minister in the 1990s. “We will deal with them very sensibly. And when you have a problem in your own family, you don’t kill your own family. You sit and talk. After all, Britain also got the solution of the problem of Ireland. So what’s the harm in conducting negotiations?”

Mr. Zardari said: “Obviously what they have been doing for the last eight years has not been working. Even a fool knows that.”

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Commentary: Momentous day for Pakistan, Bhutto’s legacy

March 18, 2008
By Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari is the co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party and widower of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in Pakistan in December.

In this handout photo released by Pakistan Parliament House, ...
In this handout photo released by Pakistan Parliament House, Asif Ali Zardari, left, widower of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and co-chairman of Pakistan People’s Party waves as former prime minister Nawaz Sharif looks on during the National assembly’s first session at Parliament House in Islamabad, Pakistan on Monday, March 17, 2008. Pakistan inaugurated a new parliament on Monday dominated by opponents of President Pervez Musharraf who have vowed to crimp his powers and review his U.S.-backed policies against al-Qaida and the Taliban.
(AP Photo/Pakistan Parliament House, HO)

(CNN) — Monday was a momentous day for the people of Pakistan, but a bittersweet day for me.

Sitting in the gallery watching a democratically elected National Assembly headed by the Pakistan Peoples Party and its coalition partners, I thought of the terrible price paid for this moment of liberty. I thought of the many jailed, beaten, tortured, and exiled. I thought of all of those who had their reputations assaulted. I thought of the undermining and dismantling of Pakistani civil society. I thought of the attacks on the independence and autonomy of the judicial system. I thought of the censorship of the press, emergency rule and martial law.

But of course more than anything else, I thought of my beloved wife, Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto, who sacrificed her life for her beliefs and her country. This was the day of her triumph, the vindication of her long battle for the restoration of democracy. For my country, this was a day of celebration. But for me and our children, this day was also a day of tears. Democracy had come to Pakistan, but at a terrible, terrible price.

Last week, the two largest political parties in Pakistan agreed to form a coalition government that would restore democracy and bring stability to our country. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which I lead after the assassination of my wife, has joined the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, to form a broad-based, democratic, liberal government in Pakistan — an umbrella of reconciliation and consensus. The new prime minister, from the PPP, will be announced within the next few days.

In agreeing to form a coalition government Mr. Sharif and I have responded to the mandate given by the people of Pakistan in the February 18 election. Pakistan’s people no longer want to live under the thumb of a dictator. They want an end to terrorism and violence and wish to join the rest of the modern world in the pursuit of peace and prosperity. They want to restore the supremacy of the people’s house, the National Assembly, and free it from the sword of Damocles of a marginal presidency with inflated, unconstitutional authority.

Pakistan’s political leaders and people have suffered from the politics of personal destruction; we have been battered by dictatorship; we have seen civil society taken apart and a free and independent judiciary destroyed. We have seen international assistance, secured in the name of fighting terrorism, diverted towards making Pakistan’s affluent few richer. We have seen progress on education, health and women’s rights stopped and reversed. But now, with renewed confidence in democratic parties like the PPP and PML-N, it is time for the rebirth of a democratic, vital and progressive Pakistan.

Some fear a coalition government would lack the necessary strength to tackle Pakistan’s myriad problems. But cooperation between the country’s biggest political parties, representing an overwhelming majority of the people, would bring greater stability than one-man rule. Together, the PPP and PML-N will be able to build a strong civil society. That would go a long way to erasing the scars of militarism and militancy. We will focus on providing education and employment at the grassroots levels so the country’s youth can play an integral role in building a strong national economy.

Under the rule of Pervez Musharraf, extremists were allowed to thrive along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The key to improving security there is not to make citizens in Pakistan’s tribal areas feel like second-rate citizens kept under lock and key, caught between the threats of violence from militants and the military. Rather, we must let all of our citizens, including those in the Federally Administered Tribal Area, know they are part participants in the growth of Pakistan’s economy and civil society.

Fostering a better level of trust and understanding among the people in the border areas, and delivering on their key needs, is essential to enhancing security in the FATA and throughout Pakistan. While immediate steps must be taken to hunt down identified terrorists, the long-term solution to extremism lies in respecting the will of the people and in providing them with a means of livelihood at every level — food, clothing, shelter, jobs and education. By talking to and respecting our people, we will be able to isolate the extremists and terrorists.

Those of us who are now in a position of leadership seek, in my wife’s words, “a tomorrow better than any of the yesterdays we have ever known.” We see a Pakistan where all children, regardless of their socio-economic standing or their gender, are guaranteed compulsory and quality primary and secondary education. We see a Pakistani educational system of quality teachers, who receive decent salaries, and teach in modern classrooms with state-of-the-art computers and technology. We see a Pakistan where political madrassas that teach hatred are closed, and educational institutions that focus on science and technology flourish.

The PPP has a vision to build a nation that is one of the great capital markets of the world; a revitalized nation that will generate international investment. We look forward to the complete electrification of all of our villages, the purification of our nation’s drinking water, the privatization of the public sector, the expansion of the energy sector, the development of our export industries, the modernization of our ports and the rebuilding our national infrastructure. All of these elements are essential to a Pakistan where a democratically elected government, with the mandate of the people, confronts and marginalizes the forces of extremism and terrorism wherever they may exist in our nation. In other words, I see the Pakistan for which my wife lived and died.

Pakistan’s democracy has not evolved over the past 60 years because the generals believed they should intervene in politics and run the country. The army’s misperception of itself as the country’s only viable institution, and its deep-rooted suspicion of the civilian political process, has prevented democracy from flourishing. The PPP and its allies will reverse the current regime’s suppression of civil society and free speech. We will establish a Press Complaints Commission similar to that of the United Kingdom and stand up for the democratic rights of citizens to freely establish television and radio stations, subject to the basic legal framework.

While the tasks ahead are not easy, the Pakistan Peoples Party plans to work in good faith with its fellow democratic parties and our coalition allies to achieve our goal of building a new, progressive Pakistan. Everything will not come at once. The reformation of Pakistan — politically, economically and socially — will be a long and complex process. But we are determined to begin and we are determined to succeed.

We did not come this far, we did not sacrifice this much, to fail.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

Muhammad Calls For Urgent Action to Keep Peace in Pakistan

March 17, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I want to bring in your kind notice that a strong group within the Pakistani administration, who always exploited anti-American feeling for achieving their unlterior motives, has been making last-ditch effort to bring a revolution in Pakistan on the pattern of Iran.

If that happens it will be disastrous not only for Pakistan, but also for the whole world particularly the United States.

These people are still providing support to terrorists based in tribal areas. There are still training camps in the tribal areas where suicide bombers are being trained.

It is interesting to note that former prime minister and head of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Sharif in statement alleged that the Bush administration does not want reinstatement of judges removed by President Pervez Musharraf.

Actually he is trying to spark anti-American feeling.Today the terrorists carried out another attack.

A suicide bomber Monday killed SHO among two policemen and injured seven others in Pakistan’s violence-plagued northern Swat valley, police said. The suicide bomber blew himself up inside barracks in Mingora Police Line, the main city in the region where Pakistani troops have been battling Islamic militants for the past several months.

The mountainous, snow-capped Swat region is renowned for its ancient Buddhist relics and once attracted large numbers of foreign and local tourists, but has been beset by recent violence blamed on pro-Taliban militants.The injured policemen were reportedly in critical condition, the hospital sources said. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital.

Dear Sir, the United States must show hurry in taking control of the situation otherwise later it cannot be controlled. Please pray for us.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Bhutto party set to name Pakistan PM candidate

March 6, 2008
by Rana Jawad

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – The party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was expected Thursday to nominate Pakistan‘s new prime minister to lead a parliament that could decide the fate of President Pervez Musharraf.

Vice chairman of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Makhdoom ...
Vice chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Makhdoom Amin Fahim (L), who is widely expected to be nominated for the post of prime minister and former premier Nawaz Sharif attend a joint meeting of MPs from three coalition partners in Islamabad, on February 27.(AFP/File/Aamir Qureshi)

Pakistan People’s Party vice-chief Makhdoom Amin Fahim is the frontrunner to be nominated by the party’s MPs, who are meeting in Islamabad just over two weeks after the PPP scooped the most seats in parliamentary elections.

Musharraf, a key ally in the US-led “war on terror”, saw his backers trounced in the polls and must now deal with a coalition that includes not only the PPP but also his archfoe, former premier Nawaz Sharif.

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Pakistan coalition partners thrash out PM choice

February 22, 2008
by Danny Kemp

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistan‘s two biggest opposition parties sought to thrash out their choice for premier Friday after agreeing to form a coalition government that could drive President Pervez Musharraf from power.
An anti-Musharraf lawyer throws a teargas shell towards police ... 
An  anti-Musharraf lawyer throws a teargas shell towards police during a protest rally in Karachi on February 21. Pakistan’s two biggest opposition parties sought to thrash out their choice for premier after agreeing to form a coalition government that could drive President Pervez Musharraf from power.
(AFP/Rizwan Tabassum) 

Ex-premier Nawaz Sharif and the widowed husband of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto said their parties, once bitter rivals, would join forces after trouncing Musharraf’s allies in elections earlier in the week.

Officials from both parties said the frontrunner to be prime minister was Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the widely respected vice president of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

After Friday's prayers, Pakistani Muslims shout slogans as they ... 

Two Leading Parties in Pakistan Agree to “Common Agenda”

February 21, 2008

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan‘s two main opposition parties announced Thursday they would form a new government together after their victory over President Pervez Musharraf‘s allies in elections this week.

The two leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party of slain former premier Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League-N led by Nawaz Sharif made the announcement at a joint news conference after meeting in Islamabad.

“We have agreed on a common agenda. We will work together to form a government together in the center and in the provinces,” Sharif said.

Pakistan: Muhammad Reports on February 21, 2008

February 21, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope you may be in the best spirit of life.

You are the hope of millions of people living in the rugged mountains on Pak-Afghan border. You have given your time to them. I think the tribesmen of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas will never forget your cooperation and kindness.

The situation in Pakistan is still uncertain as the politicians are not ready to accept each others. They forget one thing that the country is at war with terrorists. Most of the people think that some of the political parties are being financed by the terrorists and this is the reason they want ouster of President Musharraf at all cost.

I want to inform you ouster of Musharraf will strengthen the position of terrorists. It is ironic that terrorists have diverted the attention of world from the real issue. The real issue of Pakistan and world is the elimination of terrorism. Elimination of terrorism is must for democracy and civilisation in Pakistan and tribal areas.

In the presence of terrorists a civilised society cannot be created. Women cannot walk in Pakistan freely. They are being harassad or raped by the terrorists. In the present elections the women were barred from casting their votes. I think the politicians have no right to ask Musharraf to quit.

These corrupt politicians are responsible for the choas and anarchy in the country. The News running a campaign against Musharraf in its editorial discussed the situation. Both the main political heavyweights, Mian Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, did not wait for a day before making the demand that President Pervez Musharraf should quit as the people of Pakistan have given their overwhelming mandate against him.

An equally belligerent presidency firmly rejected this demand within hours stating that the president had been elected for five years, and that was here to stay and would work with whoever formed the government. In this some may see the sowing of a potentially (mutually) destructive confrontation in future.

As for the demand that the president step down, there is immense weight in it for the simple reason that the election was in fact a referendum on the president and his policies.

However, fulfilling the demand may be easier said than done. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the president will go down, so to speak, without a fight, though in most democratic and/or civilized countries by now this would have happened. A key factor in this whole situation will be the extent of the backing that the president receives both from the military and Washington.

The PPP and the PML-N have won against heavy odds and after a bitter struggle in which they have offered huge sacrifices — of life, freedoms, prestige, finances, comfort and all. The people of Pakistan have recognized these sacrifices and repaid them with their support and confidence. The parties now have to move on very cautiously to consolidate their gains and ensure that a smooth transition of power takes place in the shortest possible time so that focus can return to the real issues waiting to be addressed.

A premature and unnecessary confrontation with the president would therefore not be in order.The first task of the winners should be to see that the president immediately summons parliament and that the issue of the formation of the government and the leader of the house is decided in a timely fashion.

The PPP and the PML-N have to work together not to rock the boat before it starts sailing. They should set all the contentious issues aside, including, for the moment, that of the restoration of the judges, to get to the next step of the political process.

There should now be no hesitation and embarrassment for Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif to meet the president and discuss with him the next step — of course this will be from a position of great strength and as the voice of the people of Pakistan. The mindset of the leadership must change from that of a persecuted band of unwanted non-entities to genuine claimants of power asking their due share of power.

The issue of Mr Musharraf resigning should be left for a time when he tries to block the people’s mandate and acts in the old ways of a commando not ready to listen to anyone in his bunker.

Mr Musharraf should accept the reality and realize that if he fights it out and stays, it could be as a lame duck president. He should undo all that he has done in the past and this means freeing all political prisoners, deposed judges and lawyers and undoing the curbs imposed on the media including unwarranted bans on certain television anchors.

The managements themselves should have acted since PEMRA has no authority or reason not to listen to the voice of the two main party leaders, one of whom said on Feb 19 that he would even consider disbanding it altogether. By not listening to these popular demands Mr Musharraf is not making the transition to democracy smooth.

If there is any sinister design in following such a course, it will be highly regrettable. People remember the 1970 election as free and fair and give credit to General Yahya Khan but they also remember that he refused to accept the mandate and the consequences were disastrous for the country. The president should now change course and accept the people’s verdict.

Egos should not play any role at this time of national reconciliation.

I have several questions from the politicians and some of the journalists. They are corrupt people, therefore, they will not anwser my questions.

Dear Sir, situation in our areas is very very critical as the terrorists have still been ruling the areas. The US must tell Musharraf and army leadership to take practical steps for elimination of terrorists. They must be directed to at least to abandon the idea of making deal with terrorists or Taliban in tribal areas as they are criminals and there is no justification for making deal with terrorists. Terrorists should be dealt as criminals.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Muhammad From Pakistan: Musharraf Standing Up To Terrorists

February 20, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope you and your team will be alright.

There is still confusion in Pakistan as politicians have started another war for the power.

Some of the leaders including Mian Nawaz Sharif, whose party Pakistan Muslim League has won some seats in the election have demanded of President Musharraf to resign. I want to inform you some of the parties demanding Musharraf’s resignation are actually being supported by terrorists. They have been creating choas and anarchy in the country.

I will repeat my words that presence of Musharraf is essential for giving a crushing defeat to terrorists. Musharraf is the only hurdle in way of terrorists. The US must extend full support to the president.

According to media reports, the presidency has contacted with Co-chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Asif Ali Zardari to discuss formation of the next government and future political scenario of the country.

Close aides of the president have contacted the PPP leader and offered cooperation from Muslim League-Q and MQM for formation of the next government, the President House sources said.

The presidential aides also tried to take Zardari into confidence. According to the sources, Asif Ali Zardari told them the government was failed to fulfill the understanding reached with Benazir Bhutto, now all options are open before him to take any decision. Zardari said he doesn’t have trust over the president house and he will decide future line of action after consultation with the party colleagues.

It is heartening to note that efforts by US, Britain and other western countries are underway for the formation of modern, liberal and democratic set up in the country following the announcement of general elections’ results. In this connection, the officials of US Embassy are contacting all the political leaders.

Co-Chairman, Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardari called on the US Ambassador, Ann W. Paterson and other officials here at US Consulate.

Caretaker Minister for Information, Nisar A. Memon and and General Secretary of Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Mushahid Hussain Sayed also met with the US officials.The US Consul General Bryan D. Hunt called on PML-N Chief, Nawaz Sharif and had an exchange of views with relation to the formation of central government.

“US, Britain and other western countries want to see a modern, liberal and democratic set up in the country,” said the diplomatic sources, adding, the objective of these meetings is to combine all the political forces for strengthening the democratic institutions of Pakistan.
The political parties have been urged to focus on the larger interest of the country rather than their personal interests and form a strong government that could complete its five- year term. The US senator used the word being used by you for Musharraf imperfect. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf displayed “a kind of grace in accepting” the defeat of his allies in elections, US senator and poll monitor John Kerry told reporters Wednesday.

“We would like to say he kept his promise to hold elections. Imperfect as it was, it produced results… and he showed a kind of grace in accepting what people had said,” Kerry said in New Delhi, a day after meeting Musharraf in Islamabad.

Dear Sir, I want to inform you confusion in the country will certainly be used by the terrorists for achieving their ulterior motives. They are still sitting in the tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border making plans for more attacks in the world.

Caretaker Interior minister Hamid Nawaz has said, “The backbone of terrorists had been broken in Pakistan”.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad – the interior minister said that no terrorist attacks would be possible in the country now, except in the tribal areas. He also said that a six point strategy had been prepared to maintain law and order and to route out terrorism from the country.

Dear Sir, the people of tribal areas will never your cooperation with them in the war on terrorism. You have done a lot for them.  They are glad you travel in safety.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad KhurshidKhar

Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan

Pakistan: Musharraf under pressure to resign

February 19, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf came under pressure to resign Tuesday, a day after his allies in parliament suffered a devastating defeat at the polls. Lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, a hero of pro-democracy protests last year and a dark-horse contender to be next prime minister, on Tuesday called on pro-U.S. Musharraf to step down.
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose party was a big winner in Monday’s vote, said he would meet with the other leaders of other parties to decide whether to impeach Musharraf when the next parliament convenes.
“He is completely finished. He has no option,” but resigning, says retired Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, Pakistan’s former army chief. “It will be very embarrassing for him to stay on with a hostile parliament.”

The official tally from Monday’s election has not been completed yet, but state television reported that Musharraf’s supporters in the former ruling party had so far managed to win just 39 of 272 seats up for grabs in the National Assembly, the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament.

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United Pakistan (May) Stand

February 18, 2008

By Haider Ali Hussein Mullick
The Washington Post

While most Americans are closely watching their state primaries, Pakistanis are getting ready to vote in a parliamentary election on Monday. On the ballot are Pakistan’s stability, President Pervez Musharraf’s political fate, and the future of the U.S-Pakistan strategic relationship. An environment of rising domestic terrorism, economic uncertainty, and political polarization has made Pakistan a top national security priority for all leading American presidential candidates. The question of the day is, Who will win?
Pakistan's Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam (JUI) party leader Maulana ... 
Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulma-e-Islam (JUI) party leader Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman casts his vote at a polling station in Dera Ismael Khan February 18, 2008. Fears of violence overshadowed Pakistan’s general election on Monday with 80,000 troops backing up police to watch over a vote that could return a parliament set on driving President Pervez Musharraf from office.
REUTERS/Mustansar Baloch (PAKISTAN)

But don’t expect a blowout victory on Monday. Indeed, a national consensus government looks increasingly likely – and that may just be what Pakistan needs. Here is why:

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Pakistan People Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, second ...
Pakistan People Party co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, second from right, casts his vote at Ghulam Haider School polling station in his hometown of Nawabshah, Pakistan, Monday, Feb. 18, 2008. Voters will choose 272 members of the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament, for a five-year term.(AP Photo/Shakil Adil)