NEW YORK, Jan 24: Former president Pervez Musharraf criticised US drone strikes in Pakistan, the lack of respect the attacks showed, and the failure of the United States to capture Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Mr Musharraf made these observations in an interview on CNN on Saturday in which he said Pakistan was being treated ‘unequally’ by the US as compared to other countries.
“Pakistan is being treated so unequally while we are the ones who are in the lead role fighting the global war on terror,” he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during the ‘The Situation Room’ programme.
“This is what hurts Pakistan. It hurts the leadership. Indeed, it hurts the government. It hurts the people of Pakistan,” said Musharraf who is on a private speech-making visit to the US.
Mr Musharraf, who agreed to join the Bush administration’s war on terror after the Sept 11 attacks without any pre-conditions, never complained about the mistreatment when he was at the helm of affairs in Pakistan for nine years.
Asked why Osama had not been captured, despite reports he was holed up somewhere along the Pakistan-Afghan border, Mr Musharraf said: “I would like to ask the US why he hasn’t been found. They have their intelligence. There are … you have more intelligence capability. I would like to ask the United States, why Mullah Omar has not been found, who is the leader of …the Taliban in Afghanistan?”
The former president said he was uncomfortable about US air strikes.
“Nobody in Pakistan is comfortable with the strikes across the border. There is no doubt in that. Public opinion is very much against it,” he said.
Asked whether he was concerned that the strikes were continuing under President Barack Obama, Pervez Musharraf said: “I have always been saying that policies don’t change with personalities; policies have national interest, and policies depend on an environment.”