Slamming the West for supporting the "dictatorship" of President Pervez Musharraf, former premier Benazir Bhutto has said that by doing so they have "empowered" the General to defy the world and "cooperate" with the forces of terror.
"By acquiescing to the Musharaf dictatorship, the West has empowered him to defy the world and cooperate with the forces of terror. West chooses to apply human rights standards when politically expedient," the PPP leader said.
"By supporting military dictatorship the west was inadvertently supporting militancy and terrorism," she said in her address to the John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in the US on Tuesday.
Bhutto said the international support for the military dictatorship in Pakistan for short-term strategic reasons was a mistake.
"Afghanistan was a tragic case in point of how retreating from the principles of human rights and democracy can have the most tragic unanticipated consequences," she said in her address, the text of which was circulated by her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) here on Wednesday.
Opposing Musharraf's plans to get re-elected by the existing assemblies, she said "opposition parties believe that the elections cannot be free and fair under an army Chief occupying the office of the President.
Assemblies elected for five years terms couldn't elect a President twice giving him ten years as President".
The PPP leader suggested that "the best exit route for Musharraf's military regime is to adopt the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy's demand that a national government be formed to hold fair and free elections with election reforms as suggested by the Opposition."
Bhutto said democracy in Pakistan and the Muslim world at large was crucial at this point of time to avert the dangers posed to its future by terrorism and sectarianism.
"As Pakistan was poised to go for general elections this year, the polls provide an opportunity this year for the restoration of democracy. Free polls have become vital to save the Pakistan federation from disintegration and end terrorism and poverty," she said.
Debunking the claim of enlightened moderation by Musharraf, she said, "we cannot say Islamabad respects human rights.
While elected Prime Ministers are forced into exile, we cannot say Pakistan has human rights. While National Accountability Bureau finds corruption only in the opposition and not in the ruling party, we cannot say Pakistan has Justice", she said.