Australian Foreign Minister calls Musharraf a dictator

November 14th, 2007 - 8:37 am ICT by admin  
“He’s certainly by certain standards … a dictator. Our message to President Musharraf is to get back on to the path of democracy,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Downer as telling ABC TV.

“Our mission in Islamabad attended a briefing given by President Musharraf yesterday. It seems to me there is no doubt that the real reason he has done what he has done and declared a state of emergency was because he was concerned the Supreme Court was going to rule his recent election unconstitutional. He thought the consequences of that would be chaotic,” Downer added.

“We would, of course, much rather he had stuck with constitutional processes,” Downer said, adding that the Howard Government’s message to Musharraf remained the same as it has been since Saturday.

“Get back onto the path of democracy as quickly as possible. I want to see the parliamentary elections go ahead as scheduled in the middle of January next year,” he said.

Musharraf has said he declared the state of emergency because of increasing Islamist violence in the strategically vital central Asian nation.

Downer rejected the idea that the decision would lead to calm in Pakistan.

“I don’t believe, in the end, Pakistan is going to be more stable if it’s not a democracy. I think the best path to stability in Pakistan is the path of democracy,” the Australian Foreign Minister said.

Downer also addressed the key role of Pakistan in the US-led war against Islamists known as the “war on terror”.

“He (General Musharraf) is opposed to Islamic extremism. After 9/11 in 2001, the Pakistanis were told in no uncertain terms by the Americans to do a 180-degree u-turn and oppose the Taliban extremism and terrorism. They’ve done a reasonable job, they haven’t done a perfect job and there are still enormous problems in the federally administered territories of Pakistan,” Downer said.

He pointed to the so-called Pakistani badlands, including the semi-autonomous Baluchistan province as areas that continued to offer help to Islamists. (ANI)

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