American Jews a worried lot after Musharraf's ouster

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Washington, Aug 21 : The ouster of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has put the American Jews in a dilemma to the effect that whether Pakistan will continue to keep the door open for them, as during Musharraf's era.

"With Musharraf out, it's not clear whether or not the open door Jewish organisational leaders have had in Islamabad is in danger of slamming shut," says a report circulated by JTA, a Jewish news agency.

The report said that with the control of the world's only nuclear-armed Muslim state up in the air, many Jewish and Israeli observers are watching the political turmoil in Pakistan "with unease".

The commentary recalled that Musharraf had "some ties to Jewish groups" and in 2005 addressed a Jewish gathering in New York, where he said Pakistan would "establish ties with Israel" after the Palestinians had a state.

During that same visit, Musharraf also shook hands with then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon at the UN General Assembly. Musharraf also is rumoured to have exchanged letters of friendship with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

"It's a big plus for the Jewish people to have an opening to the world's only nuclear-armed Muslim country," American Jewish Congress International Affairs senior adviser David Twersky said of the relationship between American Jewish groups and Musharraf.

"I hope the idea of being open to American Jews doesn't get thrown out with Musharraf," he added.

American Jewish Congress Chairman Jack Rosen, who in the past met Musharraf on several occasions on issues of Jewish interest, said that he was confident that the new government in Pakistan "would not sever" the country's dialogue with the Jews.

"I know everybody wants to talk about Musharraf the individual, who was at the centre of the stage for the past few years, and everyone wonders what happens next," said Rosen, who is also chairman of the Council for World Jewry, which is affiliated with the Congress.

He added: "Our reason for having initiated the contact, and his reason, doesn't change with the new administration. For moderate Muslim leaders around the world, which includes Pakistan, they want to engage America, they want to engage the West, they want to have a dialogue with members of other faiths. That doesn't falter with Musharraf leaving."

ANI

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