Former president Pervez Musharraf said on Monday that the White House's suspension of $800 million in aid to the Pakistan military is not in the best interest of either country and could hamper anti-terrorism efforts.
“We are weakening the country and the army,” Musharraf said during an address at Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy. “It will have a negative effect certainly on the Pakistan army, on its capability to fight terrorism.”
He said he was saddened by the confrontation between Pakistan and the US, as well as their armies and intelligence services.
"It saddens me because I remember when there was trust," he said, pointing to what he said were his strong relationships with President George W Bush and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.
"I could pick up the phone," he said. "The line was always open. I wonder now if that degree of communication exists."
The former president said restoration of better relations depended on leadership and straightforward talks.
He said this could begin with Islamabad’s "top level" assurances to Washington that Pakistan was not providing a safe haven to Osama bin Laden.
The former military ruler's tenure as president included the years bin Laden apparently moved to the compound in Abbottabad, home of Pakistan's military academy, where he was killed May 2 by US commandos during a covert raid.
As he has in the past, Musharraf denied he or Pakistan's domestic spy services knew of bin Laden's location, at least during his time in power.
"For two years, I can for sure, with 100 per cent guarantee, whether you believe it or not, I didn't know," he said.
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