Not wanting to believe it from one source, I also checked DAWN today... and it was again mentioned, as well as a few other issues Musharraf wanted to get off his chest.
INRE Musharraf impeachment, an action the PPP threatened as far back as Dec 17th, Musharraf had these comments:
Musharraf also said he would resign if a government that emerged from elections, now scheduled for next month, sought his impeachment.
“If impeachment were their intention and they don't want to go along in a harmonious manner, I would like to quit the scene,” Musharraf said when asked what would happen if Pakistan People’s Party emerged a winner in the elections and mounted a bid to oust him with the support of Sharif's party. “If that happens, let me assure you that I would be leaving office before they would do anything.”
This is not only less than desirable news for the west, I have to question the wisdom of his statement. If they want Musharraf gone, they only have to wave the impeachment flag, and he's out the door. This is a sign of one tired leader. Unfortunately, turning the mantle over begs the question... who will the world inherit in his stead? Benazir's PPP leadership has proven to be even more corrupt, and even less devoted to cleaning out the militants in their midst.
On the other issues, I have previously posted about the dangerous "cowboy policy" advocated by all the leading Dem candidates INRE Pakistan. Musharraf had a few choice words for the Dem candidates as a whole.
President Musharraf said any unilateral action by U.S.-led coalition forces against militants in Pakistan will be regarded as an invasion, Singapore's The Straits Times reported Friday. He said Islamabad will resist any entry by coalition forces in the tribal areas to hunt down militants, regarding that as a breach of Pakistan's sovereignty. “I challenge anybody coming into our mountains. They would regret the day,” he told the newspaper in an interview conducted in Rawalpindi.
To Hillary in particular, INRE her chutzpah in suggesting that Pakistan should share control over their nuke arsenal with the US and Britain:
He criticised Hillary Clinton's proposal to deploy a U.S., and possibly a British, team to safeguard Pakistan's nuclear assets. Her statement, Musharraf said, was an “intrusion into our privacy, into our sensitivity ... She doesn't seem to understand how well-guarded these assets are.”
Per The National Terror Alert Response Center's article, Dec 30th, 2007, the US is already prepared to step in... if needed... to help safeguard Pak's nuke arsenal (HT to Ray Robison).
There are reports that U.S. special forces snatch squads are on standby, awaiting orders to seize or disable Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the event of a collapse of government authority or the outbreak of civil war in Pakistan.
The snatch teams, including volunteer scientists from America’s Nuclear Emergency Search Team organization, are under orders to take control of an estimated 60 warheads located in six to 10 high-security Pakistani military bases.
Military sources say contingency plans are being continually being reviewed and re-evaluated to prevent any of Pakistan’s atomic weapons falling into the hands of Islamic extremists if President Pervez Musharraf’s administration appears threatened by civil unrest.
Whether this plan is in place with Musharraf's blessings is a moot point. If the Musharraf govt is threatened by any sort of coup, his blessings would hardly be needed, as his power would be diminished to the point of no influence.
Yet for one proclaiming to be the "experienced" candidate, Hillary's lack of knowledge of this contingency plan, and her utter lack of diplomacy by publicly slapping Musharraf in the face by suggesting Pakistan is incapable of safeguarding their own arsenal, demonstrates again the dishonesty of her candidacy and the question of her ability to be the leader of the free world. That she and other Dems should advocate this "cowboy policy" toward a fragile ally, yet criticize Bush, is the height of hypocrisy.
To compound an already disingenuous "hand of friendship" with an ally, Harry Reid writes yet another infamous letter... this time to Bush... "demanding" that the US should make any Pakistani aid dollars conditional on Musharraf restoring "freedom of the press and of association, free all political prisoners detained during the crackdown, reinstate judges dismissed in November, and support a UN investigation into Bhutto’s death." Not only is it offensive to hear a US Congressman dictate mandates to a foreign ally, one has to wonder why he'd prefer the proven corrupt UN over Scotland Yard....
All this, predictably, went over like a lead balloon.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Sadiq said conditions should not be put on the “very important” relationship between the two countries.
“We believe that any conditionalities attached to this relationship, or assistance, is not beneficial,” Sadiq said.
“In Pakistan, decisions won’t be taken because somebody demands them. They’ll be taken according to our own laws and the conditions in this country,” he added.
Musharraf had his own, to the point response to Dingy Harry.
"Over the last 6 years, we have received a total of around $9 billion. More than half for fighting terrorism ... If the Americans don't want to pay any more, they should ask other people to help them. But the fight against terrorism would suffer," Musharraf said.
With US "allies" like the DNC, who the heck needs enemies?
I'll wager a guess that Musharraf is looking over the US POTUS selection himself, and not seeing anyone the calibre of Bush with which to ally in the coming terms. And should he not only have to deal with the next "intrusive" US President, but an uncooperative coalition in his own government, he's more than willing to throw in the towel and let the burden of stability and the war with militant lie on other - most likely less adept - shoulders.