Musharraf accuses allies of abandoning him


Islamabad : Pakistan's embattled President Pervez Musharraf has blasted the country's ruling coalition for abandoning him during the crisis over his suspension of the country's chief justice, a press report said Thursday.

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"I bluntly say that you always leave me alone in time of trial and tribulation," Pakistan's The News quoted the president as saying Wednesday at a closed parliamentary meeting of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q), which is his political power base, and smaller parties that comprise the coalition.

The MPs' support was absent not only in the growing confrontation with the opposition over his removal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry for alleged misconduct, but during other crises like the 2004 exposure of proliferation by former nuclear programme chief Abdul Qadeer Khan, he said.

"You are not delivering. You have lost the war of nerves," said the president, who will seek re-election from parliament in October. "If I myself have to do everything then you are for what purpose?"

After enjoying almost complete supremacy since he seized power in a coup in 1999, the army general is now besieged by increasing Talibanisation by Islamic militants, a festering separatist conflict in the Balochistan province, acute energy shortages and the Chaudhry crisis, which has rallied lawyers, opposition forces and civil society groups against him.

According to insiders attending the meeting in Islamabad, he looked visibly shaken but remained defiant, saying the country would be in deep crisis without him.

"You do not know the problems for Pakistan if I am left out," he said, warning that the Taliban would no longer just plague the provinces but emerge strongly in main cities like Karachi and Lahore.

The president is a key ally of the US in the fight against terrorism and is regarded as a bulwark against extremism in Pakistan. But US officials this week expressed concern at rigorous new curbs on the media ordered by the president amid their strident coverage of the judicial crisis.