Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Pakistan must act to restore real democracy

10th July 1007

Pakistan is a strange bedfellow in the battle against terrorism; Charles Tannock MEP warns against too much faith in the Musharraf military regime

Strasbourg, 10th July -- Is Pakistan's President Musharraf still someone the west can in full confidence reliably do business with, asks Charles Tannock, Conservative Spokesman in the European Parliament for Foreign Affairs on the day the Pakistan Army stormed the red mosque killing 50 militants.

In calling for democratic leaders to be allowed back into Pakistan, Dr Tannock warned that Britain is playing with fire by fully trusting a military regime which at once reassures the west that it is fighting terrorism whilst failing to close down the hard-line Deobandi madrassas which are a breeding ground for Islamist jihadis.

Dr Tannock said:

"The EU should rightly fear instability in an islamic state with nuclear weapons and I call on President Musharraf to allow two former secular civilian prime ministers to return from exile and campaign in free and fair elections against dangerous extremists and help build a tolerant and democratic country that can survive him.

"We must be slightly sceptical as to the real determination of President Musharraf to stamp out radical islamist jihadis. The storming of the red mosque is impressive but Musharraf allowed the Al Quaeda linked militants to fester there since January as the security forces ignored the illegal occupation of land, the stockpiling of weapons and abduction of women into the mosque complex.

"Was this in order to engineer a bloody showdown to demonstrate the risk posed by extremists and prove President's anti-terrorist stance to the west, which has been more critical recently, following claims by Afghanistan that the Pakistani military inter services intelligence agency has been secretly helping Taleban forces regroup in the border region?
"For sure this crisis is a welcome distraction for President Musharaff under pressure for dismissing his Chief Justice and attempting to justify 5 more years in power."