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Pakistanis divided over Stanford invite for Musharraf

Source: PTI
January 12, 2009 16:08 IST
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Pakistanis are objecting to the Stanford University's invitation to their former president Pervez Musharraf to lecture at the varsity as 'Big Speaker-2009', later this week.

'Musharraf has been asked to speak as the 'Big Speaker' at the Stanford University when millions of us Pakistanis want him to be tried for his crimes.

'Please take time to contact the office of the president of Stanford University, condemning the invitation and asking Stanford to cancel the event,' said a plea by Samad Khurram, the Pakistani student at Harvard who shot to fame last year for refusing to accept an award from the US ambassador in Pakistan.

'Please refer to the specific crimes of Musharraf, especially the treason of November 3, 2007, the unconstitutional National Reconciliation Ordinance, the high-level corruption and illegal allotment of lands, the destruction of institutions and absolute misuse of power,' Khurram said in his appeal.

'In an email to her US spokesman Mark Seigel, slain former premier Benazir Bhutto had put the blame on Musharraf for her assassination, if that ever happened,' Khurram added.

Musharraf is being hosted by Standford University as this year's Big Speaker and will deliver his keynote address on 'Terrorism and extremism -- the need for a holistic approach' on January 16.

Though Khurram gave email IDs and phone numbers of Standford University staff and asked Pakistanis to "spread the word" about Musharraf and urge the varsity to cancel the lecture, not many agree with him.

'Musharraf was so much better than these guys. I'd love to see him speaking. I wish he comes to the UK for some lectures too,' wrote Anas Imtiaz, a Pakistani based in Britain,  in response to Khurram's appeal.

A blogger also opposed the move to prevent Musharraf's lecture, saying that 'even if we don't agree with him (Musharraf) and loathe him, why should one choose to call Stanford University and further embarrass and defame our country? When you are outside Pakistan, you should still act as a Pakistani.'

Standford is hosting Musharraf along with several other organisations, including the Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Bechtel International Center and the Muslim Student Awareness Network.

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