US supporting Mush a miscalculation: Benazir

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Islamabad, Sep 26: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has termed ''a strategic miscalculation'' the US support to President Pervez Musharraf. She said her country faces a critical choice in coming weeks between dictatorship and democracy, urging the US to support pro-democracy forces.

Ms Bhutto pointed out that Gen Musharraf has tried to convince the world that only he stands in the way of extremists hoping to take over the nuclear-armed Pakistan.

''In fact, military rule is the cause of the anarchic situation in Pakistan,'' the Dawn reported Ms Bhutto as saying while addressing a meeting of the Middle East Institute at the Russell Senate Building in Washington. ''Dictators need crisis to perpetuate their rule and, therefore, have an interest in keeping extremism alive,'' she added.

The chief of Pakistan People's Party charged President Musharraf with undermining the judiciary by sacking judges. She exuded confidence that she would return ''safely'' as unlike former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, she had not been sentenced to jail on criminal charges under the Musharraf regime.

''I hope for the best, and prepare for the worst,'' she said. ''I am returning to Pakistan on October 18 to coalesce the forces of moderation against extremism,'' she said, adding that her goal was ''quite literally to save democracy in Pakistan''.

Ms Bhutto pledged to reconstruct the education and economy in Pakistan, if elected prime minister. ''Under the rule of Gen Musharraf, Pakistan had become the Petri dish of the international extremist movement. Fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda requires a national effort that can only flow from legitimate elections,'' she said.


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