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Musharraf should get serious: Asma

The renowned human rights activist says the president must get cracking on terror camps inside Pakistan.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 15:18 IST

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is facing a "huge credibility crisis" and needs to demonstrate that there are no terrorist training camps inside his country by denying immunity to militants, noted human rights activist Asma Jahangir has said.

"I would not have first hand knowledge" of any such terrorist camps inside Pakistan," the head of Pakistan's Human Rights Commission said during the course of a presentation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace here.

She was asked about the terrorist infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir.

"However I would like to stress that there is a huge credibility crisis for the General. Huge... He has to really demonstrate that they (terrorist training camps) are not there and by demonstrating I mean that we have to ensure that there is no immunity for these people," Jahangir said during an interactive session at the end of her formal presentation on "Transition in Pakistan".

"We cannot demonstrate if we are going to give them the kid glove... I believe we have to really be more serious about it. It can't go on for ever," she said.

Asked about the prospects of the Indo-Pak dialogue, Jahangir said, "There are hitches. There will always be.

But I hope that we will continue to at least talk to each other because by not talking it can become dangerous to both".

In her formal presentation, Jahangir slammed the regime of Gen Musharraf and cautioned the powers that be sitting in Washington of the goings on in Pakistan stressing that the inability to figure out what was really taking place in the administration of Musharraf is leading to increasing resentment among the people of the country.

"There is no semblance of democracy... Institutions have stopped working, " Jahangir said and added that the military dictatorship has become dysfunctional "and simply not working".

The human rights advocate was quite skeptical of the fashion in which Gen Musharraf is going to run the elections of next year often seen in the framework of "free and fair" polls.

In 2002 there was a "large effort" at pre-rigging the elections and for 2007 the situation is not going to be any different.

"They (meaning the military) would have to rig it to win it", Jahangir said, "There are no signs of free and fair elections".

One of the major focus of Jahangir's presentation was on the role of Pakistan Human Rights Commission in tracking down disappearances, the categories of people that would include Baloch nationalists, religious minorities like Hindus often picked up when relationship went sour with India, so called terror suspects and even journalists, especially from Sindh and Punjab.

The Pakistani human rights advocate dismissed the notion that the military operation in Balochistan had anything to do with either the Al-Qaeda or the war on terror, rather the military regime is "only after the oil and natural gas resources" of Balochistan.

Jahangir was optimistic of the future of Pakistan and in the yearning of the people for genuine democracy.

The Pakistani human rights advocate argued that leadership in the country did not confine itself to the existing ones or the ones that had been tossed out in the recent past.

"We have raw material. We need a new and right environment," she said: "You don't get rid of democracy for a failed leadership".