Pervez Musharraf discussed his decision to declare a state of emergency in Pakistan with a U.S. Jewish leader.
Jack Rosen, the chairman of the American Jewish Congress’ Council for World Jewry, reached out Tuesday to the Pakistani leader, days after Musharraf ordered mass arrests of his opponents. The pair spoke for about 30 minutes.
Rosen told JTA that he believed Musharraf deserved greater understanding in the West, noting that the Pakistani leader has spearheaded counterterrorist action in Pakistan’s mountainous tribal areas and is now facing unrest in settled areas of Pakistan.
“He needs to stay focused on defeating radical Islamists and al-Qaida especially,” Rosen said. “He indicated to me he had launched some operations against some of the extremists in some of the settled areas in recent days. If he takes serious action against terrorists and succeeds, and at the same time resumes the democratic political process, I think he can be successful.”
That echoed remarks by President Bush, who this week called on Musharraf to return to paving the way toward democratic elections while praising his anti-terrorism actions.
Rosen arranged Musharraf’s address to the AJCongress in 2005, the first time a Pakistani leader had addressed a Jewish group. Rosen, who is close to the White House, was the AJCongress president at the time.