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Oppn accuses Prez of leaking state secrets

Former premier Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party accuses Musharraf of using state resources to promote his book.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2006 14:41 IST
Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Political opponents of Pakistan's military ruler President Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday accused him of divulging state secrets in his controversial new memoir.

The general, who ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup seven years ago, launched his autobiography in New York on Monday during his high-profile official trip to the United States.

The book, In the Line of Fire, contains explosive details on how the United States persuaded Islamabad to join the "war on terror" and a first-hand account of see-sawing relations with neighbouring India.

He said US intelligence paid Pakistan millions of dollars for handing over hundreds of Al-Qaeda suspects, and that Washington had threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" if it did not back the "war on terror".

The book has also come under fire at home over Musharraf's remarks that Pakistan's nuclear programme was not fully operational in 1999 when the country was embroiled in the Kargil conflict with India.

Ahsan Iqbal, spokesman for Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party, said that was a state secret, which should not have been leaked by the president.

"He has also violated the official secrecy law by talking about how Pakistan was coerced into joining the US-led war in Afghanistan," Iqbal said. He also called the memoir a "pack of lies."

Former premier Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party meanwhile accused Musharraf of using state resources to promote his book.

"It is a failed attempt at self-glorification and self-adulation by the general," Bhutto's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.

"It opens up the dangerous prospects of the sitting chief of staff of the air force and the navy to also pen their memoirs and then set out in official jets for promotional campaigns," Babar said.

A powerful alliance of six Islamic fundamentalist parties, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), also charged that Musharraf had violated his oath of office.

"He has no constitutional right to use state expense to sell the book and reveal state secrets to generate interest," senior alliance leader Liaqat Baluch said.

He said the opposition would raise the issue in parliament when it meets next month.

First Published: Sep 27, 2006 12:03 IST