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Pervez books a place for himself

india Updated: Sep 28, 2006 14:56 IST
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Indians await his spiel on Kargil, Americans want to know more of the purported threat to bomb Pakistan "back into the Stone Age", and Pakistanis are perhaps looking for everything from cover to cover.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, recharged with a clean bill of health from a Texas hospital, is all set for a high-profile launch of his memoir, In the Line of Fire, in New York on Monday. 

Musharraf is perhaps the first head of state to use an official visit to the US to promote his book from a host of platforms, including the White House podium with a little help from the US president.

Musharraf has reportedly said the Pakistani military began preparations for the 1999 Kargil incursion months before the conflict in May. This, he says, was in response to activities on the Indian side.

The book suggests that Nawaz Sharif, the then Pakistani premier, was aware of the army's plan before he hosted his Indian counterpart A.B. Vajpayee in Lahore in March 1999.

In the US, Musharraf has whetted the appetite of Americans by saying that the US threatened to bomb Pakistan back into the Stone Age if it did not cooperate in the war on terror. The comment on CBS News's 60 Minutes is seen as a bid to boost the sales of the 368-page tome, priced at $28.

Musharraf's refusal — later at a White House press meet — to take questions on the issue on the grounds that he was "honour-bound" to his publisher is also being regarded as part of the same strategy.  But he has drawn flak for this. "International diplomacy has always been dependent on external factors, but it has seldom hinged on the terms of a book contract," said The Los Angeles Times.

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