Ex ISI chief trying to rally Pakistan right wing together

Hamid Gul
Lahore, May 10: Former ISI chief Hamid Gul is trying to convince PML-N chief and former premier Nawaz Sharif to forge a "right-wing political alliance" to cash in on public anger in the wake of the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden last week.

The former spy chief believes Pakistan's right wing parties have a "bright chance" of winning the next general election after the departure of US forces from Afghanistan, a situation similar to the one when Soviet forces withdrew from the war-torn country in 1989, a source in the PML-N told PTI .

"Gul is trying to forge an alliance of right-wingers and urging leaders to shun their differences with the powers that matter," the source said.

During his stint as ISI chief, Gul had funded the formation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, an alliance of right-wing parties, including Nawaz Sharif's PML, in 1988.

The military backed the formation of the IJI to take on the civilian government led by slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.

Gul, known for his open support to mujahideen and Islamist groups, now believes the PML-N and right-wing parties are in a good position to cash in on public anger and disenchantment with the current PPP-led government in the aftermath of the killing of bin Laden in a raid by US special forces.

"The PML-N, along with some religious parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami, is keen to pressure the PPP government," the source contended.

Sharif, who recently returned to Pakistan after a long stay in London to convalesce following heart surgery, has expressed concern at the US operation that killed bin Laden in the garrison city of Abbottabad.

The incident put Pakistan's sovereignty at stake, he said.

"The Abbottabad operation was a serious attack on the sovereignty of Pakistan and the nation is looking to recent developments with concern and wants to know who is responsible for the situation," he said.

Incidents like the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, who was arrested for killing two Pakistanis in Lahore in January, and the killing of bin Laden have threatened the solidarity and integrity of the country, Sharif claimed.

"If no notice is taken of such incidents, then the independence, sovereignty and honour of the country will be at stake. The country is in a very dangerous situation and the people must come together to help it out of this stage," he said.

Reiterating his contention that President Asif Ali Zardari was a threat to democracy and national integrity, Sharif said the media should judge whether he was right or wrong.

"Everything I said regarding the President a year and a half ago has now proved true," Sharif said.


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