Islamabad, Feb.24 : A retired Pakistan Major General, who was part of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has spilled the beans on how the 2002 general elections in the country were rigged.
According to The Dawn, Major General Ehtesham Zamir has admitted his guilt of manipulating the 2002 elections, and has directly blamed General Musharraf for ordering him to do so.
Talking to The News, the head of the ISI's political cell in 2002, admitted manipulating the last elections at the behest of President Musharraf and termed the defeat of the King's party, the PML-Q, this time "a reaction of the unnatural dispensation (installed in 2002)." Zamir said the ISI together with the NAB was instrumental in pressing the lawmakers to join the pro-Musharraf camp to form the government to support his stay in power.
Zamir admitted that he had pushed the country back instead of taking it forward, and felt ashamed of his role and conduct. He said the country would not have faced such regression had the political management was not carried out by the ISI in 2002. But he also put some responsibility of the political disaster on the PML-Q as well.
The former No: 2 of the ISI called for the closure of political cell in the agency, confessing that it was part of the problem due to its involvement in forging unnatural alliances, contrary to public wishes. Zamir's blaming Musharraf for creating this unnatural alliance rings true as another former top associate of Musharraf, Lt-Gen (retired) Jamshed Gulzar Kiyani has already disclosed that majority of the corps commanders, in several meetings, had opposed Musharraf's decision of patronising the leadership of the King's party. He said one of their colleagues, who was an accountability chief at that time, had sought permission many times for proceeding against the King's party top leaders but was always denied.
Kiyani asked Musharraf to quit, the sooner the better, as otherwise the country would be in a serious trouble.
Ma-Gen (retd) Ehtesham Zamir termed the 2008 elections 'fairer than 2002'. He said the reason behind their fairness is that there was relatively less interference of intelligence agencies this time as compared to the last time. But he stopped short of saying that there was zero interference in the 2008 polls.
Asked who directed him from the government side and if there was somebody else, not President Musharraf, he said: "Obviously on the directives of President Musharraf."
Responding to a question regarding corruption cases that were used as pressure tactics on lawmakers, he said: "Yes! This tool was used, not only by the ISI. The NAB was also involved in this exercise."