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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Musharraf Calls on Muslims to Formulate Peace Initiative

THE MINES, Malaysia -- Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lobbied the head of the Islamic world's largest grouping on Thursday to back his idea for Muslim nations to come up with a new Middle East peace initiative.

Musharraf, who began his diplomatic push with a surprise visit to Indonesia on Wednesday, met Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who chairs the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Wednesday and Thursday.

Later, both men spoke in support of the idea of bringing Muslim nations together to come up with a new approach to ending the violence in the Palestinian territories, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan. "This is a process of consultation towards a fresh initiative," said Musharraf, whose trip to two of Asia's biggest Muslim nations was wrapped in secrecy and surprisingly light security.

"There's no harm in adopting a new approach and trying for success," he added. "At the moment ... things are deteriorating, worsening. What one can try is to convert this downward slide toward upward momentum, toward resolution of disputes."

Musharraf has been calling for an early settlement of the Palestinian dispute as part of efforts to combat extremism in the Muslim world, calling the dispute the "root cause" of terrorism and extremism. He has urged the major powers, including the United States and Britain, to help resolve it.

Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless military coup in 1999, is also seeking to take the lead in Middle East diplomacy and bolster his international standing in the run-up to a general election due sometime from November to January 2008.

But in traveling to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, and to Malaysia he was taking more than political risks: Musharraf is a target for Islamist militants and has survived at least three assassination attempts since he brought Pakistan into the U.S.-led war on terrorism in 2001.