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Pervez Musharraf - 'In The Line of Fire'

Thursday 12th October 2006

Pervez Musharraf

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf holds one of the most complicated, dangerous jobs in the world. Coming to power in 1999 after a dramatic coup, Musharraf has since assumed a crucial role in the global war on terror. His close ties with the United States post-9/11 have made Musharraf the target of Islamic extremists who have twice come within inches of assassinating him. And while the search for Osama bin Laden continues along the Afghan border to the west, Pakistan must also contend with its longtime enemy India in the dispute over Kashmir to the east-with both countries maintaining their nuclear arsenals at a constant state of readiness.

In an extraordinary, unprecedented act for a sitting head of state in such a critical position, President Musharraf's IN THE LINE OF FIRE: A Memoir (embargoed until September 25, 2006; £18.99), tells the complete, unadulterated, inside story of his astounding life and career. His story is filled with explosive revelations, including the full and dramatic stories of the manhunts for top al Qaeda figures and crucial details on the campaigns against al Qaeda in the mountains.  He reveals for the first time the details of the 1999 Kargil conflict with India, and the full story of the coup that brought him to power.  He provides chilling descriptions of the assassination attempts against him as well as the investigations that revealed who was behind them. Musharraf also tells for the first time the full story of A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb, who was discovered to be at the center of a nuclear proliferation network-a period Musharraf recalls as "one of the most serious and saddest crises that I have ever faced."

Musharraf's story is intimately entwined with the story of Pakistan. IN THE LINE OF FIRE begins at Partition, with Musharraf at the age of four, on a train with his family from Delhi to Karachi, settling in the newly created nation-state of Pakistan.  At the age of 6, the family moved to Turkey where Musharraf spent seven formative years before they returned to Karachi.  Beginning his military training at the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961 at the age of eighteen, Musharraf charts his rise through the military ranks, revealing for the first time the full story behind the Kargil conflict with India in 1999, the year following his appointment as Army Chief by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Musharraf also reveals in dramatic detail the circumstances leading up to the coup against him and the counter-coup that followed on October 12, 1999, which led to the arrest of Prime Minister Sharif and thrust Musharraf onto the world stage as the new leader of Pakistan.

The events of September 11, 2001 irrevocably altered the course of world history-and the future of Pakistan. Musharraf reveals how he came to his decision to become an ally in the global war on terror and how he reacted to the demands of the United States. Pakistan has now captured 672 members of al Qaeda, handing over 369 of them to the United States, earning bounties from the CIA totaling millions of dollars. Musharraf shares the dramatic stories of some of the most significant terrorist manhunts-including Abu Zubeida, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, and Abu Faraj al-Libbi. These efforts led to the recovery of vital information regarding potential attacks on London's Heathrow airport, which were thwarted.  Information about Mohammad Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanveer-two of the terrorists who carried out the attacks on London's subway system on July 7, 2005 (now known as 7/7) - was subsequently uncovered by British intelligence, long before the attacks.

Musharraf recounts in chilling detail the two assassination attempts against him in December 2003. The investigations into the would-be assassins led to the capture of some of al Qaeda's top people in Pakistan.  The inquiry into the first attempt on December 14th resulted in the arrest of Mushtaq, a planner for an organization linked to Mullah Omar, the enigmatic leader of the Taliban. The investigations into the second attempt led to the discovery of Abu Faraj al-Libbi (al Qaeda's third in command) as the mastermind and Amjad Faruqi (al Qaeda's number one man in Pakistan) as the planner of the December 25th attack. Musharraf relates the efforts behind tracking down these two terrorists, describing the climatic showdown with Faruqi which resulted in his death and the dramatic manhunt for Libbi until his eventual capture in a covert operation.

Musharraf also divulges intimate details about the campaigns against al Qaeda in the mountainous and inhospitable terrain of the North-West Frontier, which led to the deaths of 350 terrorists and the arrest of 800 others. Although al Qaeda has been cleared out of South Waziristan, they are now reported to be in North Waziristan, and the manhunt continues.  Musharraf devotes an entire chapter to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden, "perhaps the most notorious names in the world today." Musharraf offers fascinating details regarding these two infamous men. Musharraf also reveals several clues as to bin Laden's whereabouts that have arisen during their investigations. 

Musharraf concludes IN THE LINE OF FIRE by looking forward, elaborating on his idea of "enlightened moderation," and addressing many hot-button issues facing the world today.  He calls for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, urging the creation of a Palestinian state and for the Muslim world to recognize Israel. He also calls for a resolution to Pakistan's dispute with India over Kashmir, offering his own four point plan for reconciliation. He advocates the emancipation of women and endorses their full political equality with men, and discusses the experience of Mukhtaran Mai, who became known internationally after the traumatic details of her rape were revealed in the press.  Musharraf also urges repeal of Pakistan's Hudood law, which was enacted in 1979 to appease religious extremists and is now seen by many as discriminatory towards women.

IN THE LINE OF FIRE reads in parts like a thriller and yet every detail is true.  It will make headlines around the world.

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