Qureshi thanked US for convincing Musharraf to retire: WikiLeaks

Shah Mehmood Qureshi also noted that Pakistanis had rejected the extremists.

Last Updated: May 21, 2011, 15:51 PM IST

Islamabad: Former Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had thanked the United States for its efforts to convince former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to retire from the Pakistan Army, a diplomatic cable unveiled by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks has revealed.

Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher met with then foreign minister-designate Shah Mehmood Qureshi of the Pakistan People’s Party on March 28, 2008, according to an April 2008 cable published by the Dawn.

“Boucher opened the meeting by saying that the US wants to be a strong partner to assist Pakistan in its transition to democracy, both on counter-terrorism cooperation and economic assistance. Pakistan faced too many challenges to look backward; we must move forward and find a way to get along and solve problems,” said the cable.

"Qureshi agreed, thanking the US for its efforts to support a free and fair election and to convince President Musharraf to retire from the Army. `You are totally in line with us.`," it added.

Qureshi also noted during the meeting that the Pakistani people had rejected the extremists, and said that Pakistan understood the need for stability, continuity, peace and partnership with the West.

Qureshi confirmed that the new government would look to the Awami National Party to begin a dialogue, not with terrorists themselves, but with their support networks in the tribal and the settled areas, the cable said, adding that the minister claimed a debate in Parliament would help build support for the new government to combat militancy.

“Boucher urged him to avoid demagoguery and support an integrated solution; the US would continue to assist in this regard,” the cable added.