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Musharraf Among World’s 10 ‘Worst Dictators’

NEW YORK, Feb 19 (Bernama) — As Pakistan takes a major step towards restoring democracy with the general election Monday, the trouble-torn nation’s President Pervez Musharraf had the ignominy of being named the eighth ‘worst dictator’ in the world by a popular magazine here.

“In recent months, Musharraf suspended Pakistan’s Constitution, shut down the courts, arrested several thousand dissidents and passed a law removing challenges to his continuation as President,” the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted the Parade magazine as saying.

“He allowed former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan but barred Sharif from running in elections.

While Bhutto was assassinated – an act that some observers tie to Musharraf’s government.

At the same time, it noted that the United States considers Pakistan a “valuable economic and political ally”.

“Americans bought almost US$3 billion worth of Pakistani cotton clothing and fabrics in 2007. Even after Musharraf suspended the Constitution, President George W. Bush said Musharraf had ‘advanced democracy in Pakistan.’

The U.S. has given him more than US$ 7 billion in military aid in the last six years, which critics say has largely been spent on arms to fight India, not terrorists,” the magazine noted.

While Musharraf was listed No 8 in the ranking, the No 1 slot as the worst dictator was given to North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il.

Kim “runs the most isolated, repressive regime in the world. His citizens have no access to information other than government propaganda.

His harsh system includes collective punishment (three generations of a family can be punished for one member’s alleged crime); detainment of roughly 200,000 citizens in labour camps; and the capture, torture and jailing of those who try to flee to China,” the magazine said.