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A query Musharraf didn't answer...

He has not revealed his family's reaction to the fact that he had two romantic affairs before his marriage!

india Updated: Oct 23, 2006 12:29 IST

While aggressively marketing his book In The Line Of Fire", now launched in Urdu, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has answers for all queries but one.

It is the reaction of wife Sehba and family to his revelation that he had two romances before his marriage.

With a smile, Musharraf parried the question on his family's reaction to his pre-marital romances at the launch of the Urdu version of his book titled Sab Se Pehle Pakistan (Pakistan First).

"I will pass this question. It is a sensitive issue," he replied at the meeting attended among others by his wife Sehba and mother Zareen.

Musharraf dedicated the Urdu version to his mother, who he said never believed that he would one day write a book.

Sehba and son Bilal and daughter Aaliya continued to encourage him to write the book even though he had hectic official engagements.

In the English version, Musharraf wrote about his first romance at the age of 15. He later fell in love with a Bengali girl in Karachi while in his teens.

"She is happily married now, and lives in Bangladesh," Musharraf wrote in his book without disclosing the identity of his early love.

Defending the decision to write the book while in office, he said: "We need to have a sense of time and my sense of time is always right."

Musharraf said the main objective of the book was to promote "Pakistan's perspective on key issues and rectify its distorted image in the world".

To a question, he said besides relying on his memory to narrate events in his book, he had consulted official documents and got inputs from his aides.

Conceding that when he set out to write the book about two years ago, it seemed a formidable task, he said: "Even my mother never thought I could ever write a book, leave aside a bestseller."

Rejecting criticism on the book, he said: "I give no lift to it." However, he said he found it disturbing when critics said he was into self-projection, boastful and arrogant.

"Certainly, this is misplaced criticism," Musharraf said.

He said the proceeds of the book would go to charity being set up to help rural youth get employment.

Syed Salam, the chief executive of Ferozesons, the publishing company that brought out the Urdu version of Musharraf's autobiography, said the book was being published in Chinese and Russian languages as well besides Hindi.

He said the company was seriously considering translating the book into French, Dutch, German as well as Pakistan's regional languages.

First Published: Oct 23, 2006 12:29 IST