Former ISI chief foresees Iran-like revolution in Pakistan

February 15th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Feb 15 (IANS) Former chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Hamid Gul, believes “an Iran-like revolution” is possible in the country if President Pervez Musharraf does not step down immediately. In a hard-hitting interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Gul also didn’t rule out the forcible removal of Musharraf.

If Musharraf does not step down, Gul said: “We may have to think (about forcibly removing him) because, after all, the country is more important.

“We don’t want the army and people to be clashing on the streets. That would be a disaster - a civil war or if we are lucky a revolution, something like the Iranian revolution (against the Shah in 1979).”

Gul said Pakistan was ripe for such possibilities. “As a trained military man, one is obliged to think of these possibilities. And one is obliged to act as well,” he said.

Asked whether this meant his advocating a coup against Musharraf, he said evasively: “No, we are the ex-servicemen, not the serving men. I am saying to link arms with civil society - with the lawyers, the students. If we join them, it will have greater pressure on Pervez Musharraf to get out of office.”

The former spy boss, who mentored the Taliban, said: “Musharraf is the only impediment. If he goes, the judiciary can be restored to its original place. This will bring instant relief to people - the relief is a psychological phenomenon.

“I hope Musharraf does pay heed to our advice and steps down. This will be good for him, the army and the nation. Everything else will fall in place.”

Gul said if Musharraf stays adamant, the politicians should join hands to save Pakistan. After the Feb 18 elections, they should refuse to take oath till he resigns.

“What will be his options? With civil society up in arms already supporting them, they will get a big moral boost. He will have no choice and America - who wants Pervez Mushharraf to continue in office - would have failed,” he said.

Asked who will rise against Musharraf when opposition has been suppressed, Gul said that if the army stays out of the body politic - as army chief Gen Kayani has hinted - all elected representatives should refuse to take oath till Musharraf steps down.

In reply to allegations in Benazir Bhutto’s recently released book in which she mentioned him as one of the four senior members of the set-up plotting to kill her, Gul said he was shocked because he had served as ISI director general during her first tenure and enjoyed an excellent relationship with her.

“We enjoyed very good social relations. She used to send me books. She would write letters to me and I would write to her,” Gul said.

Though they had differences, he said “that could not have possibly become the basis of allegations”.

Gul said he had sent her a legal notice and later suggested to Asif Zardari that they demand a trial.

He was ready to defend himself, he said.

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