Washington, June 9: Blaming ‘a strategic shift of US policy towards India’ for an ‘acute deficit of trust’ between Washington and Islamabad, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has suggested ‘open and frank’ talks to restore the trust.
Musharraf also hit out at India and Afghanistan for allegedly maligning Pakistan’s military and intelligence, and accused New Delhi of propping up an anti-Pakistan regime in Kabul.
‘The abandonment of Pakistan after 1989, with a strategic shift of US policy towards India and military sanctions against Pakistan, cost US-Pakistan relations very dearly,’ he wrote for CNN, suggesting that in Pakistan’s public mind the US ‘used’ Pakistan and then ‘abandoned it’.
The alleged ‘US nuclear policy of appeasement and strategic co-operation with India against Pakistan is taken by the man on the street in Pakistan as very partisan and an act of animosity against our national interest’, Musharraf wrote.
Also blaming what he called the ‘malicious role of India and the Afghan government itself in maligning Pakistan’s military and intelligence’, Musharraf said: ‘We know what Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad especially are doing.
‘We also know that Afghan intelligence, military and foreign service personnel go for training in India,’ he said. ‘Not a single one comes to Pakistan despite Pakistan’s longstanding offer of free training since my time in office.’
Musharraf, the then army chief, seized power in 1999. He ruled Pakistan until 2008. He now lives in London.
Calling for a stop to what he dubbed ‘the ulterior Indian motive of creating an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan’, Musharraf said: ‘Only the US can ensure such an essential change.’
Harping on Kashmir, he said the ‘dispute needs an urgent, amicable settlement. That is the core towards stopping the religious militancy of the Kashmir-orientated mujahedeen’.
On its part, Musharraf admitted that Pakistan needs to explain clearly why it was not acting against the Haqqani group (of Taliban) or when the military would operate in North Waziristan.
Blaming incompetence for Pakistan’s failure to find Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, he suggested that Pakistani intelligence agencies should be purged of any elements who may not be committed to the official line of fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
US commandos sneaked into Pakistan May 2 and gunned down Osama at his hideout in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, plunging Washington-Islamabad ties to a new low.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)