Hillary Clinton’s Pakistan ignorance
* Believes Musharraf contesting elections for parliament
By Khalid Hasan: Daily Times, January 28, 2008
WASHINGTON: US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s knowledge of even basic facts about Pakistan has been described as “surprisingly poor” in someone who should know better after eight years in the White House and a trip to Pakistan.
According to Thomas Houlahan, director of the Military Assessment Programme at the Centre for Security and Science, Hillary had told Wolf Blitzer of CNN in an interview after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, “If President Musharraf wishes to stand for election, then he should abide by the same rules that every other candidate will have to follow.” She obviously did not know that the upcoming elections are for the next parliament and, further, that President Musharraf has already had himself elected as president for the next five years by the national and provincial legislatures. She did not know that he is not required to run for parliament.
In a later interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Hillary, in an answer to a question about the delay in elections in Pakistan, said, “I think it will be very difficult to have a real election. You know, Nawaz Sharif has said he’s not going to compete. The PPP is in disarray with Benazir’s assassination. He (President Pervez Musharraf) could be the only person on the ballot. I don’t think that’s a real election.”
Houlahan comments, “That hit me. Senator Clinton really didn’t know that the upcoming elections were for individual seats in Pakistan’s parliament. She actually believed that Benazir, Nawaz and Musharraf would be facing off as individual candidates for leadership of the country in the upcoming elections. Sen Clinton didn’t know that Nawaz Sharif isn’t allowed to run for office in Pakistan because of a felony conviction. She didn’t know that President Musharraf won’t be on the ballot because he’s already been elected. Clinton, a candidate for the leadership of the free world, apparently doesn’t know the first thing about the country referred to by some as ‘the most dangerous place on earth’.”