Pak Army should force Musharraf to quit in national interest: ICG

January 4th, 2008 - 1:24 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Jan 4 (ANI): The Pakistan Army should force President Pervez Musharraf to quit during the next two months in the interest of national reconciliation, a Brussels-based think tank has said.
“It is time to recognise that democracy, not an artificially propped up, defrocked, widely despised regime is the best chance to provide stability and turn back extremists’ gains,” said Robert Templer, International Crisis Group’s Asia Programme Director.
“If Musharraf refuses to resign voluntarily, it is in the interest of the military establishment, his sole bastion of support, to distance itself from its former chief lest it, instead of him become the target of public hostility,” the ICG said.
“Particularly the US… should encourage the military leadership under General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani’s command to protect its ability to continue to serve Pakistan by persuading Musharraf to resign in the interest of national reconciliation.”
The ICG, which has been highly critical of the Musharraf regime, and said concerns that the security situation in Pakistan would become worse if Musharraf quit were misplaced.
“By continuing to back him, Western Governments might not just lose the battle for Pakistani hearts and minds, but could also be faced with the nightmare prospect of a nuclear-armed, Muslim country of 165 million descending into violent internal conflict from which only extremist forces would stand to gain,” it said.
The ICG said that Muhammedmian Soomro should take-over as interim President and appoint a caretaker government in consultation with all major political parties to oversee the election process.
The News quoted the ICG as saying that the postponement of an election from January 8 to February 18 was ‘reasonable.
These other steps included the full restoration of the Constitution and an independent judiciary, the reconstitution of an election commission acceptable to all major parties, and the transfer of power to elected civilian hands. (ANI)

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