Former Pakistani defence officers demand Musharraf’s exit


Islamabad : A clutch of retired three and four-star level armed forces officers in Pakistan has demanded that President Pervez Musharraf quit in the larger interests of the country.

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They also said that a national government must be constituted in consultation with all the political parties instead of holding a general election under the present caretaker set-up.

The demand Tuesday came from, among others, Lt. Gen. (retd) Faiz Ali Chishti, Lt. Gen. (retd) Talat Masood, former ISI chief Lt. Gen. (retd) Hameed Gul, Lt. Gen. (retd) Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani, Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, Admiral (retd) Karamat Rehman Niazi, and Admiral (retd) Iftikhar Sarosh.

They spoke at a seminar in the twin city of Rawalpindi and later addressed journalists.

Chishti said that he did not trust the present caretaker set-up, which he described as a “qabza group” or one that was ruling illegally.

“Answering a question, he said after the defeat in the Kargil war (of 1999), President Musharraf should have faced a court martial,” The News reported Wednesday.

According to Chishti, the country did not face any external threat but only faced internal threats.

Masood said that with Musharraf in power, the three pillars of the state had been abolished with the army getting involved in politics.

Several resolutions were passed unanimously at the seminar, one of them stating that Musharraf’s presence was strengthening elements in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and in the Northern Areas that were destabilising the country.

Another resolution said a national government comprising political leaders of all the provinces must be formed and it should function in an unbiased manner.

A third resolution demanded an independent election commission.

A fourth resolution lauded the statement of the new Pakistan Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, asking army officers to stay away from politics and politicians.

The resolution also hoped that Kayani would restore the image of the Pakistan Army.