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Musharraf Calls Karzai Remarks on US-Pakistani Conflict 'Preposterous'

  • Ayesha Tanzeem

A recent comment by Afghan president Hamid Karzai, on the prospect of a war between the United States and Pakistan, is drawing criticism from former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Musharraf this week advised Mr. Karzai to avoid speculating on such a “disastrous” possibility.

Mr. Musharraf’s remarks came following an appearance on a “The Platform,” a television program co-produced by the Voice of America and the Pakistani cable network “Express 24/7.”

It was a response to President Karzai’s recent remark to a Pakistani TV channel, that in case of a war between Pakistan and the US, Afghanistan would side with its neighbor.

While he thanked Mr. Karzai for making what he called “a pro-Pakistani statement,” Mr. Musharraf took him to task for the comment.

“I think this kind of thinking is preposterous. That the United States fighting Pakistan and Afghanistan on Pakistan side. I think this is preposterous thinking and I think he should drop such thoughts. There is no battle going on. There is no war going on between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That is unthinkable,” Musharraf said.

The relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. has been very tense during the last few months.

Pakistan considered the May 2 raid that killed Osama Bin Laden a violation of its sovereignty. And many analysts say the Pakistani military and intelligence services were humiliated, both because Bin Laden had lived literally in their backyard for years without their knowledge, and also because their ally, the US, did not take them into confidence about the raid.

With the United States demanding more action against the deadly Haqqani network, there is speculation in Pakistan about how the military might react should the U.S. decide to put troops into North Waziristan, the Haqqanis’ alleged safe haven -- hence the question that was posed to Mr. Karzai.

General Musharraf said he considers such speculation dangerous and counter-productive.

“I think Afghanistan should focus on stabilizing Afghanistan. Dealing with Taliban and Al Qaeda instead of being on Pakistan’s side against the United States. I don’t understand what kind of thought this is,” Musharraf said.

Since Mr. Karzai made the statement, his spokesman has been trying to explain the comments and has even suggested they were “misinterpreted” by the Pakistani media.