Kerry Lugar Bill Violates Pakistan’s Sovereignty: Pervez Musharraf
By Dr Mujahid Ghazi
Ex-President Musharraf addresses members of the Pakistani-American community in Chicago
Chicago , IL : Ex-President Pervez Musharraf addressed a select audience, hand-picked by his brother Dr. Naveed Musharraf and Mr. Hameedullah Khan, Chairman of PFA faction of the Parade Committee, along with Mr. Ayaz Ali and Umair from Dr. Nasim Ashraf’s NHCD. The luncheon was organized at Monty’s Banquet.
Welcoming the guests, Dr. Naveed Musharraf said that the situation in Pakistan is alarming. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the epicenter of suicide bombings. He said that he is concerned about Pakistan. It is a large country with a large population and considerable resources. He said with so many good people working for the good of the country he wonders why the situation is so bad. On the one hand there is terrorism and on the other the economic crisis. Poverty is on the rise.
Another big problem facing the country is religious extremism. Christians were attacked at Gojra and police watched the attack quietly. He also showed concern for the Ahmadi community. He mentioned a clip on the You Tube where people are seen erasing Kalima from the face of a mosque because it belonged to the Ahmadi people. He claimed that religious violence is at its peak in Pakistan.
After his remarks Dr. Naveed Musharraf invited Gen Retd. Pervez Musharraf to speak on the current situation in Pakistan.
General Retd. Pervez Musharra thanked his hosts Hameedullah Khan, Ayaz Ali, and Umair of NCHD who used to work with Dr. Naseem Ashraf. He said that It is true that the situation in Pakistan is not good but one should not be utterly despondent. He made this observation on the basis of his eight-year experience of running the country.
In 1999 and 2000 he used to think that Pakistan did not have the potential to progress but in eight years he came to the conclusion that Pakistan had all the potential and resources to stand on its own feet, to progress and to develop, without any assistance from any one.
Talking about the progress of his government he said that in 2007 the World Bank declared Pakistan as one of the N 11 countries. N 11 is next 11. According to the World Bank classification, the Brick 4 countries are Brazil, Russia, India and China. They are the fast growing economies. Next 11 are the next fast growing economies. Pakistan was one of them. This is where we went in 7 years and if you see the indicators they also improved remarkably during the 7 years. He said that’s the reason he believed that it was the failure of leadership.
The present political and economic crisis is also due to the lack of good leadership. He said that due to the flight of capital out of the country, drop in investment and decrease in export we are in deep financial crisis. The foreign loans and their debt servicing charges are adding to the expenses. The deficit in the balance of payment increased enormously. This is due to lack of good leadership, lack of trust and lack of faith. This has lead to flight of capital which leads to decline in foreign investment. If this vicious chain can be stopped by having good leadership everything will come back to normal and rise within 1 or 2 years. We must have faith in our nation.
He said that when he came to power he adopted a strategy that Pakistan should have a good, efficient and honest government and a healthy national identity in the world. He said he also adopted this strategy to expand the middle class. We have the top and the bottom but a very thin middle class. He said, “I am very proud to say that I did manage to achieve these three goals. I have my own definition for the leadership of a Third World leader. It is, ‘Ensure the security, progress and development of the state and to ensure the welfare and well being of the people.’ “
Talking about terrorism in Pakistan he said that people blame us for this scourge but if we look into history we are the victims of terrorism imported from outside. He reminded the audience of the events starting from 1979. He said that this period can be divided into three broad periods and in these three broad periods three big blunders were committed by us, the leadership of the United States and Pakistan.
First period 1979 to 1989: US and Pakistan declared Jihad against Soviets after they invaded Afghanistan. We called it Jihad in order to attract Mujahideen from whole world. 25 to 30,000 Mujahideen came from Morocco to Indonesia. We armed them and sent them to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. Other than that Taliban were also trained and armed and pumped into Afghanistan. We did this for 10 years, the United States and Pakistan with Pakistan in the lead role. Two things happened in this 10-year period. “Meesaq-e-Mili” was abolished by Russia by deposing the King. Second thing which happened was the flight of the elite from Afghanistan to the West. The freedom struggle against the Soviets was spearheaded by the religious militant groups. That’s how the religious militancy rose in Afghanistan.
Second period -1989 to 2001: He said that he call theseyears of disaster for Pakistan. We were abandoned by the US and left alone. All the 25 to 30,000 mujahideen were in Afghanistan and this is how they became Alqaeda. Osama and Zawahiry were brought by us in eighties and now they are the villains who were heroes before. Blunder no. 1: we should have resettled those Mujahideen. They only knew how to fight. They were armed to the teeth, roaming around with nothing else to do. They diverted their attention to the West because of their own political grouses against their own country and the political situation in the Middle East. Thy had their own reasoning. Then came the Taliban in 1995 and occupied almost 90 % Afghanistan in 1996. Pakistan was the only one to recognize Afghanistan and opened a mission. Nobody including the United States was happy about that. When he came on the scene in 1999 President Bill Clinton came to Pakistan. In his meeting with me he protested on Pakistan’s relationship with Taliban. He said that he advised Mr. Clinton to recognize Taliban and the whole world should recognize them. He said that he told Clinton that by opening missions in Afghanistan we can manage and manipulate them from within. If you don’t even talk to them and don’t recognize them you won’t be able to do anything with them. This was the blunder number 2 as this did not happen and therefore the Taliban were left to do whatever they wanted to do. After 9/11 all these Mujahideen came into Pakistan. They even came into the cities. Then there was Mujahideen activity in Kashmir. There were four million refugees. The national fabric of Pakistan was torn. Today money and weapons flow from Afghanistan to Pakistan and not vice versa. We are the victims and sufferers and we are still suffering. Nobody in the world should think that we are the perpetrators. They should have sympathy for Pakistan. They should support us and back us up in our fighting against terrorism and extremism. We have suffered for what we have done for the West.
Third period - 9/11/2001 and beyond: the Taliban were defeated and he (Gen Musharraf) was telling everyone that all Taliban are Pashtoons but all Pashtoons are not Taliban. He told the West to change the strategy and wean non-Taliban Pashtoons towards you. You used the minorities of Afghanistan to defeat Taliban but now reach out to the Pashtoons because historically they have always ruled Afghanistan. He said that he told every one not to alienate the Pashtoons. Nobody listened to him then. Now they are trying to establish dialogue with them. The Pashtoon majority has been pushed by this attitude towards the Taliban and the US is using Punjsherees who are only 8 % of the population to rule. The Afghan National Army has recently recruited 80,000 Tajiks. Ethnicity is a very sensitive issue. Pakistan Army has Pathans, Punjabi, Sindhi and Balochis. It is very important to maintain an ethnic balance.
He said that Pakistan is suffering from multiple facets of terrorism and extremism. He then out lined those threats: Alqaeda, Taliban, Spread of obscurantist and Taliban thought, and extremism.
Answering questions from the press and general audience he said that if Pakistan and the people of Pakistan needed him in the future he was ready to do so through democratic path. Responding to the question of repeated failure of democratic governments he said that we have to believe in democracy with checks and balances on the president, prime minister and the army chief.
Responding to a question by Pakistan Link about the Kerry-Lugar Bill and justification of conditions imposed, such as access to nuclear scientists, he said that the bill certainly violates Pakistan’s sovereignty. He explained we developed our nuclear program after India and only while responding to the existential threat. He added Pakistan’s nuclear missile capability, nuclear assets are a compulsion for our own security, progress, and for meeting the existential threat. We don’t have to be apologetic about it nor should we accept conditions asking for access to our scientists or the program.
Responding to a question from a Christian Pakistani minister he denounced the religious Muslim clerics and claimed that these clerics provoke the Muslim population to attack the minorities for which we should be ashamed. He quoted a recent incident in the US to support his derogative of Muslim cleric extremism. He said an ex-army general was not allowed to be buried in a Muslim cemetery because he was an Ahmadi and was buried in a Christian cemetery. He praised the tolerance of the Christian faith. He gave a small account of what his government had done for the minorities.
Responding to Dr. Arshad Mirza’s question of cross border militancy and Kashmir he said that after 1989 some individual mujahideen groups have erupted in Pakistan who used to go across the border to support the Mujahideen of the other side. He said that after 1989 it was felt necessary to support these groups to bring India to the negotiating table.
Answering a question of Mr. Naimatullah Chaudhry about the distortion of crime scene by water-hosing the site where late Benazir Bhutto was murdered, he explained this was done because it was a busy street and the traffic could not be blocked. He also said that the present government has promoted the officer in charge of that investigation and now he is SP Islamabad. He said that she was murdered by the Baitullah Mehsud clan and he had no doubt about it.