Military rule led to Pak's break-up: Ex-PMs

Bhutto and Sharif said the army's involvement in politics was turning out to be increasingly divisive and asked the generals to learn from the past.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 16:49 IST

Blaming the military rule for the 1971 break-up of Pakistan, its former prime ministerson Fridaysaid the army's involvement in politics was turning out to be increasingly divisive and asked the generals to learn from the past.

In a scathing attack on the army on the eve of 35th anniversary of creation of Bangladesh, former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, both of whom are in exile, said the army generals had harmed the country more than its arch rival the Indian Army.

Asserting that the Indian army was far professionally superior, deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif said the Indian army did not harm Pakistan as much as the Pakistani generals.

"That is why we have to continuously face the ignominy of being called a failed state," he was quoted as saying by Dawn.

Bhutto said the restoration of democracy under her father ZA Bhutto saved the country from disintegrating further.

The nation should learn from history and avoid repeating mistakes.

Military dictatorship of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan oversaw the disintegration of the country.

Since then two military dictatorships (Zia and Musharraf) have sowed the seeds of hatred in the smaller provinces, she said referring Waziristan and Balochistan.

Sharif, who was speaking at a meeting of Pakistan Muslim League-N to finalise the party's strategy in the next polls, said while the Indian Army and its intelligence agencies remained focused on defending their country, the Pakistani Army undermined its professionalism by wasting its time and energy playing political games.

The ousted prime minister said India proudly claimed to be the world's largest democracy and the world accepted it as such because it certainly was a functioning democracy whereas in Pakistan, it was a one-man show and nobody knows where this gentleman is taking our country.

In Pakistan one individual has taken upon himself to offer all kinds of options on Kashmir without consulting parliament or any political party whereas in India the entire parliament is briefed and consulted on the subject all the time, he said.

Sharif said the generals had used the Pakistan army in NWFP for killing innocent people at the behest of US President Bush and asked where is Pakistan's interest in this.

Musharraf has been carrying out the orders of Bush without any regard to national interests and the tragedies of Bajaur and Dargai (where 42 soldiers were killed in a suicide attack) had become wounds on the national conscience and would not heal quickly, he said.

Noting that the Generals have been ruling Pakistan directly or indirectly since 1977 for nearly twenty-five years, except for a brief period of five years of democratic government, Bhutto said the problem in the country was military rule and the solution was restoration of democracy.

First Published: Dec 15, 2006 16:49 IST