Get Rid of the Shameful Musharraf! - 10 October, 2002

Parliamentary elections are coming soon in Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf promised the Pakistani people that democracy would flourish in the country after the elections. To tell the truth, his words are slightly trusted in Pakistan as well as in other countries. This is because the Pakistan authorities too actively debar political opponents, and not only Muslim radicals, from participation in the elections.

The Pakistani pre-election struggle on the whole differs from that in Europe or America. The other day, for instance, a plane dropping propaganda leaflets was brought down in a Pakistani province. And today Reuters informed that Osama bin Laden joined the pre-election struggle in Pakistan.

A letter signed by some “Osama bin Mohammad bin Laden” was circulated in the Afghani refugee camps in the northwestern city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, on Wednesday. We say some “ Osama bin Mohammad bin Laden” because it is practically impossible to establish identity of the letter. Though Reuters mentions an Afghan expert alleging the letter is authentic and Osama bin Laden is the author. However, this is not the thing that actually matters now.

The letter is a direct appeal to overthrow the Pakistani president: "My Pakistani Muslim brothers...get rid of the shameful Musharraf and my call is especially to the Pakistani clerics".

The author of the letter hates Musharraf for his active support to the USA in chasing al-Qaeda and Taliban. Pakistan was created as a “fort of Islam” but “regrettably it is turned into an American base from where it has been shedding the blood of Muslims and destroying their towns and cities.” The letter calls upon Muslims to defend their mujahideen brothers and prevent crusaders and their allies from overpowering them.

This is just another message from bin Laden, not the first and very likely not the last one.

Meanwhile, it is still not clear whether the number one terrorist is alive or not. So, it is not ruled out that the letter was written by someone in the Pakistani extremist groups who is sympathetic with al-Qaeda. And it is quite natural that the appeals have been distributed in the Afghani refugee camps. The camps, where life is really far from being called heavenly, are often used for different radical actions since the times of Soviet presence there. And the example with Taliban is just another confirmation to it.

So, upcoming pre-election campaign in Pakistan promises to be rather stormy. Can you guess what will be the subject of the next letter from bin Laden? Or from someone who uses his name as a cover.

Vasily Bubnov

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Author`s name Michael Simpson