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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 September 2006, 02:45 GMT 03:45 UK
Musharraf memoirs launched in US
President Musharraf's book
President Musharraf's memoirs present him as a strong leader
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has launched his memoirs in the United States, a day after rumours of a coup swept through his country.

In the Line of Fire explains why Gen Musharraf ended his support for the Taleban after the 11 September attacks.

He has said the US threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" unless it joined the fight against al-Qaeda.

On Sunday, an unusually extensive power outage across Pakistan fuelled rumours of a coup, quickly denied by officials.

In the past, military coups have been accompanied by information clampdowns.

Gen Musharraf himself seized control of Pakistan in a bloodless coup seven years ago.

We are a stable country, not a banana republic
President Pervez Musharraf

Before the book hit the bookshops, he said the US warning had been delivered by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage to Pakistan's intelligence director.

Mr Armitage, however, denied this account.

"I would never say that. I don't command aircraft and I didn't have the authorisation," he told the BBC last week.

President George W Bush has said he was "taken aback" by Gen Musharraf's allegations.

In the book, Gen Musharraf also lauds Pakistan army's "landmark" performance during the 1999 Kargil conflict with India, and claims that the Indian army's attempts at capturing Pakistani territory sparked off the war.

Controversy

As the book was being launched on Monday, President Musharraf and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, continued to blame each other for the resurgence of extremism in their region.

The Pakistani leader accused Mr Karzai of failing to discourage support for the Taleban among his countrymen.

President Pervez Musharraf
The opposition accuse Gen Musharraf of being autocratic
For his part, President Karzai - who is also in the US - said Mr Musharraf had not done enough to close down religious schools that promoted extremism.

The two men are due at the White House with President Bush later this week.

Sunday's blackout was followed by reports that the Pakistani leader was undergoing a medical check-up in Texas.

All this raised speculation to a fever pitch, says the BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad.

Journalists were inundated with phone calls from people who wanted to know if power was changing hands in Islamabad.

Officials strongly denied the rumours, saying the president was having a routine physical examination and he was perfectly fit.

They said the blackout had been triggered by the breakdown of a transmission line, not sabotage.

Speaking from the US, Gen Musharraf called the rumours "nonsense".

"We are a stable country, not a banana republic," he said.

However, our correspondent says the fear rippling through Pakistan was taken by opposition leaders as further proof of what they have long charged - that behind the pro-Western rhetoric stands an autocratic regime.


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