'Biden played key role in forcing Musharraf shed uniform'
US Vice President-elect Joseph Biden played a key role in forcing former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf to quit as army chief and in restoring democracy in Pakistan, PM Yusuf Raza Gilani said.world Updated: Jan 12, 2009 17:30 IST
US Vice President-elect Joseph Biden played a key role in forcing former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf to quit as army chief and in restoring democracy in Pakistan, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said on Monday.
The prime minister was replying to a question on why Biden had been given the highest Pakistan civilian award Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam. He said that Biden played a very effective role as chairman of the US foreign relations committee in restoring democracy in Pakistan.
He said it was due to Biden's efforts that Musharraf quit as army chief.
Musharraf grabbed power in 1999 after dismissing the elected government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and in December 2007, quit as army chief after getting himself elected as president for another five years. However, he had to resign as president in August last year after national and international pressure.
Gilani said Biden has been pro-Pakistan and had done "a lot for us".
Last week President Asif Ali Zardari also decorated US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher with Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam, inviting criticism from opposition parties and social circles.
Boucher was awarded the medal only an hour after he announced that US cannot stop drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan and termed the strikes imperative.
At least 100 people have been killed in the drone attacks since the US launched its anti-Al-Queda operations in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The prime minister said the drone attacks were not permitted and hoped that with the leadership change in the US, the policy on the strikes also might change. He said Pakistan had been asking the US to stop the attacks.
However, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other opposition parties say the drones' attacks are being carried out with the Pakistani government's consent.
"The government has permitted the US to kill our people," Tehrik-e-Insaaf chief Imran Khan said.
First Published: Jan 12, 2009 17:29 IST