Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holbrooke dismisses chances of Musharraf comeback

Holbrooke dismisses chances of Musharraf comeback
Dawn, Nov 17, 2010

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has very little chance of regaining power in 2013 elections and any return to military rule would be a disaster, a senior US official said on Wednesday.

“He has about as much chance of coming back to power as (former Soviet) President (Mikhail) Gorbachev,” Richard Holbrooke told a gathering of US diplomats and security experts.

Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 in a bloodless military coup, announced last month in London he had created a new party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, with an eye to competing in the 2013 polls.

Musharraf, who has lived in self-imposed exile since he stepped down under threat of impeachment in 2008, has said he believes he has “an even chance” of regaining power.

Holbrooke said Musharraf’s comments should be taken with “considerable skepticism” and that the former Pakistani ruler was responsible in large part for the current struggle against extremism in the region.

“Had he fulfilled his promises to President Bush to restore democracy, close down the extreme madrassas and do the right thing in the tribal areas, we wouldn’t be in the situation we are today. He didn’t keep his word,” Holbrooke said.

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