Congressman arranges 'intimate' meeting with lawmakers, Musharraf

Rep. Steve Buyer (Ind.), the top Republican on the Veterans' Affairs Committee, is organizing an “intimate” meeting between lawmakers and Pakistan’s former president, Pervez Musharraf.

Buyer’s office sent out an invitation to House lawmakers from both parties to attend a closed-door, “intimate members only meeting” with Musharraf next Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. The topic of discussion will be the recent assessment of the situation in Afghanistan from the top commander there, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal said in an assessment leaked to the media that the Afghan insurgency is supported from Pakistan and Afghanistan needed Pakistani action against those groups.

Musharraf, who stepped down in 2008, is now on a lecture tour in the United States focused on the war against extremism. He gave a speech at Brown University on Sept. 22.

Hounded by the threat of prosecution at home, Musharraf has relocated to London, and lives under tight security in the city’s Arab quarter.

The Bush administration considered Musharraf a key U.S. ally after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Musharraf’s government received billions of dollars in aid to help fight the Taliban and al Qaeda in the porous border regions between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Musharraf came to power in a 1999 military coup. His last few years in power were marked by tumult, including imposing a state of emergency in 2007. Most notably, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in late 2007.

Pakistanis elected Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, as president in 2008. Like his late wife, Zardari opposes Islamist militancy and has focused the security forces to clear out most Taliban fighters in the Swat Valley.

Pakistan is determined not to let its territory be used as a launch pad for attacks by Islamic extremists, Zardari said in a speech in London on Friday, according to media reports. Zardari took issue with the accusation that many of the terror plots unleashed against the world originated in Pakistan, but acknowledged that many passed through his country, according to reports. Zardari is currently at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.