Pervez Musharraf courts controversy ahead of return

FORMER president Pervez Musharraf, who is set to make a political comeback, has said that Pakistan should consider establishing ties with Israel.

Musharraf, 58, who resigned in 2008 amid allegations of corruption, has said he plans to return to Pakistan this month, despite possible arrest, in order to participate in a parliamentary election next year.

Today, he is scheduled to address a rally via video in Pakistan’s biggest city and commercial hub, Karachi.

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Speaking in favour of relations with Israel could make Musharraf more unpopular, especially among Islamic militants who have made several attempts on his life because of his support for America’s “war on terror” following the 9/11 attacks.

Those same militants are totally opposed to Israel.

“There is nothing to lose by trying to get on Israel’s good side,” Musharraf, a former army chief, told the liberal Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

He added: “Pakistan also needs to keep readjusting its diplomatic stand toward Israel based on the mere fact that it exists and is not going away.”

That kind of talk could comfort Israel, which is increasingly nervous because Islamist groups opposed to the Jewish state have been making political gains in Arab states following revolts that brought down autocrats across the region.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on Musharraf’s remarks.

Pakistan has been a staunch supporter of demands for a Palestinian state but has maintained covert contacts with Israel for decades.

However, many Pakistanis think Israel and the United States are constantly plotting against Pakistan – a belief that fuels lots of conspiracy theories.