Posted by: Administrator | 28 September, 2006

President address to Foreign Correspondents Association of Philippine

21 April 2005, Philippine


Ladies and Gentlemen, I am a very hard supporter of freedom of expression, freedom of the press and electronic media. That is what I have introduced in Pakistan in my country. The media in Pakistan is totally independent and free to write any thing. May I dare say that it is freer and more independent than many if not most developed countries of the world today. It is my honor and my privileged to bring that about I am talking of both the print and the electronic media while previously there was only one channel only now there are dozens of independent TV channels operating in Pakistan. With this freedom ought to come responsibility and accountability because I think media is the most powerful organ of opinion molding and building. With this power that’s get concentrated into the media, I feel that there ought to be checks and balances because otherwise if there is total power with them and total freedom given with no accountability one malaise that may be a nascent or newly independent media suffers like in Pakistan would be that people at large would suffer from may be distortions, disinformation even at the extreme blackmailing by some section of the media which ought not to be there therefore what the point I want to make is that organizational ideas ought to institutionalized for others even a method of responsibility and accountability. That is what we need in Pakistan.

However this not the subject that I want to talk about I would like to close this that the intention was not at all to advise the media.

My mission to Philippines was to enhance cooperation in the political field. We already have very good relationships but we needed to cement those relationships through economic and commercial bonds, that is what I come for. We are looking for increased commercial, trade, economic interaction to cement our bonds and political bonds. I would like to start with how I see the world and our region very briefly and how I see the remedy to all that I see.

First of all ladies and gentlemen we all know that the world is in turmoil with bomb blasts, suicide attacks, terrorism going on, we are grouping for resolution for remedies for answers to the problems that we face. In this turbulent world the Islamic world is more sufferers. In the Islamic world the turmoil is more. All the political disputes in the world and all the upheavals that is taking place happens to be in the Islamic world. This has led to two very serious misperceptions.

One misperception in the west in the non Muslim world mat be is that Islam is the religion which propagates militancy extremism or may be even terrorism while on the other hand the other misperception is living in the Muslim world that may be west is targeting Islam their religion. Both this misperceptions as I said are misperceptions. However perceptions become harder than facts therefore they need to be dealt with.

Within these two misperceptions I we cast our view on the Muslims around we see the state of Muslims to be from the social factors point of view are the worst. They are the most illiterate, literacy level are very low. They are may be the poorest. They are may be the most back word therefore in socio-economic terms they are the most down trodden poverty wise literacy wise. This is the overall very short view of what is happening in the world who is involved and what is the condition of the people who are involved.

Now what is the remedy. Remedy I have given in the form of a strategy that I enunciated a strategy of enlightened moderation this together with frontal attack on terrorism. Dealing with terrorism with all the force available as collation, as a partnership of the world but at the same time other that this visible manifestation as it is said of terrorism in the form of these physical action by the terrorist and confronting it as I said with military action with force.

We need to go to the root of the problem otherwise this problem will not vanish and cannot be dealt with. The roots happen to be political disputes, illiteracy and poverty. An illiterate man can indoctrinated to do any thing I know of a suicide bomber who was given a key around his neck and this key happen to be the gateway to the doors of heavens now if he is illiterate enough to believe that he has the key to the door to heavens and his life is miserable in this world then he is readily indoctrinated to leave this world open the doors to heavens and have a much better dying than what he is having in this world so therefore I believe very strongly that the root cause is a sense of deprivation, a sense 2 of hopelessness, a sense of powerlessness, a sense of alienation and being suffered by any community because of not being given their political rights may I say and over and above that community being also illiterate and also poor and suffering. T

herefore I thought of this strategy of enlightened moderation which is a two prong strategy.

One of the prong is to be delivered by Muslim world it self. Let us improve our selves from these miserable conditions, lets emancipate our selves and emancipation will not come through confrontation. Emancipating will come through assisting each other, getting assistance from others for our socio-economic development.

At the same time we have to reject extremism and terrorism so this is the path of Muslim world that Muslim world it self need to play. Reject extremism and terrorism go for moderation and cooperate to strive for socio-economic development. This cannot be done as a single prong it has to be accompanied by the developed world and in this uni polar world may I nascent to add United States to resolve all political disputes which mostly concerned Muslims. Resolve these political disputes with justice and let this justice be seen and then assist in the socio-economic development of all poor countries of all the third world countries which would obviously include the Muslim countries. This is the strategy which I think would address the core or the cause other than the visible manifestation of attacking terrorism and dealing with it with force. Therefore a soothing touch or healing touch together with confrontationist hard approach against terrorism is the answer.

May I add ladies and gentlemen I propose the strategy in the last OIC summit at Kuala Lumpur which was accepted and I also propose that we need to restructure OIC it self to be able to lead dynamically in this 21st century and to be able to execute its prong of enlightened moderation.

The Muslim world has nominated 10 eminent persons, one of them is person from Pakistan who we have nominated this group of eminent persons is in the process of restructuring and proposing the restructured OIC to deliver enlightened moderation. It will be approved by special OIC summit hopefully as soon as possible so the Muslim world is taking its part on one of the prong seriously.

It is up to now the second prong to be delivered and that is resolution of Palestine, resolution of Kashmir and bringing ultimate peace and harmony into Afghanistan and Iraq.

This has to be done because failure is no more an option for the world. I will come to Pakistan my country. There are many misperceptions about my country and I mean every word when I say misperception because I don’t think they are true. Misperceptions that Pakistan may be a society which is an extremist, militant and intolerant society that is not the case It is absolutely wrong to think that our society is intolerant, militant, extremist society.

 In Pakistan the vast majority of the people of Pakistan are religious certainly they are religious but they are moderate, we don’t believe in extremism vast majority but yes indeed sir there is very violent minority which is extremist and which can tend towards militancy and terrorism. The problem has been that the small minority extremist hold the majority moderate hostage because they are militant because they are aggressive more so because of the historical factors of what our nation has faced.

I will forget the wars which we have fought from the day of our independence in 47 , the first one in 1948 then in 1965 and then 1971 I have participated in two of them 65 and 71 however lets leave that aside. I am talking of the time from 1979 on wards for the last 26 years what has Pakistan faced what has happened in Pakistan and this where I would like to elaborate for your information because this from where misperceptions have flow. We must know what has happened and what has been the upheaval in our society. In 1979 Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and a war against Soviets was waged as a proxy war of the cold war period by the whole world aligned with the west. This war was started with Pakistan in the lead role.

The concept of Jihad may be was propagated by design, Muslims all over the world brought and they were encouraged to come onto our area from all over the world including this part of the world also. South east, North Africa, Middle East all of them converged and the conduit was we Pakistan and our much maligned intelligence organization ISI. Managing, training, equipping, financing through the support of the west and in this period which continued from 1979 to 1989 ten years one decade there were missionary groups formed.

 I happened to be from special services group popularly known as commandos and I know my own colleagues who got 50 or 100 people who went in for fighting because they were encouraged to do that not dozens may be 100 missionary groups formed to fight soviets and the world behind them the west behind them with Muslims all over the world then may I also add to your information that Talibans from Maddrassas were trained, equipped and told to go fro fight that happened for ten years.

This was the state which continued, look at its impact on our society on Pakistani society being in the lead role doing all this. Then comes 1989 and the freedom struggles starts in Kashmir so it was 3 happening in our west and another upheaval on our east, we have emotional sentimental attachment with the people of Kashmir, all its impact came on Pakistan again. This is continuing till now since 16 years with all its impact on our society. Coming back to Afghanistan, the Afghan war continued till soviets were defeated they left and when they left because of the geo-strategic orientation of the world was western and Euro oriented, the Berlin Wall east west, Nato Warsaw Pact every one packed up and went. Four million refugees in Pakistan with all those who were brought from the world left in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. An upheaval in Afghanistan internal wars between the warlord dozens of them killing each other destroying their country, Pakistan was all alone. Then came the Phenomenon of Talibans in mid 90s no body knew who they are there is some misperception that we created that Pakistan created Talibans no sir absolutely wrong, totally wrong. Their birth was because what was happening in Afghanistan. They swept the whole of Afghanistan occupied 90 to 95 percent of Afghanistan. They were pupil Talibans from Maddrassas those who went from Pakistan we encourage them they were heroes from 79 to 89. all the mujahideen brought into Afghanistan to fight the cause of cold war which ended successfully and may I say I have seen stone of the Berlin wall in one of our heads of ISI Presented by the head of German intelligence the caption under it is very pertinent it says “To the one who struck the first blow” the first blow on the Berlin wall was struck in Afghanistan and ISI was in the lead role . The collapse of the cold war, the Berlin wall was contributed by Pakistan in the lead role but it took all the blows of its fall out. All these people who came by the thousands remain there they still are there many are married and have children. They in the period of after 89 turmoil of Afghanistan and the miserable conditions in Afghanistan found it better to shift in Pakistan to our cities and mountains for much better life. Then 9/11 came which change and shattered the whole world and these Jihadies or the Mujahideens who were left behind changed course from 1989 to 9/11 they were free, they didn’t know where to go, they were acting independently, they were armed and well trained they change their focus may be and I don’t want to involve into that its a long story focus on their own political agendas and they change focus on every thing else around the world and Al-Qaeda came into being and 9/11 happened so this was all what was happening on our eastern side all the turmoil in Kashmir all its impact on Pakistan. Pakistan was all alone fending for 4 million refugees and this situation to attend with. In our case almost always the mastermind is the foreigner Al-Qaeda sitting in our cities or mountains. They mastermind, they trained, they equipped and they financed they get hold of the individuals whom I called planers a master terrorist who is a planner a man with resources who can organize the actions. They use him as a front and then he gets involved and intruded into extremist fringed of our society as I said vast majority is moderate but there is an extremist fringe various organizations who we have banned intrudes there, infiltrate there and gets groups of five, ten individuals to commit an act of terrorism so this how its operates. One man who attacked me who has been killed now was the mastermind for ten other terrorist attacks in Pakistan. The two attacks on me where both masterminded by him but the groups involved were different not the same, they didn’t know each other so this is how unfortunately because of the fallout of religious extremist fringe who want to impose their will on others available as I said as done fodder for this terrorist wing, mastermind and the planner coming in and then motivating them to carry out terrorist attacks this is the interlink age of terrorism with unfortunately the religious extremist.

Now the question is how to deal with it and how we are dealing with all this turbulence and upheaval in Pakistan. I extracted 5 ways or 5 directions or 5 focuses as I would say to deal with this. Number one I thought and we did all this, we did it successfully and carrying on doing this which I am going to talk about the foremost is I thought this country’s economy have to be revived no way that a poor or failing economy or a defaulted state can do any thing to help it self.

Economy had to be revived and I am very proud to say that we have revived the economy. Today the Pakistan’s economy is vibrant. Last year Pakistan’s economy grew 6.4% this year it will definitely cross 7% that is the growth of the economy of Pakistan. all Macro economic indicators are positive each and every one of them the most important two elements which led to our economic growth was checking the fiscal deficit which was 8 or 9 or at double figures, expenditures were more than our income by checking the fiscal deficit we brought it down to under 4% . Balance of payment was in deficit by about 4 to 5 billion dollars every year that is how we kept begging and borrowing from all organizations, institutions and when we borrowed our debts increased debt servicing liability increased we converted the balance of 4 payment from deficit to surplus. Therefore we started reducing our debts and our debt servicing liabilities. Debt service liabilities which was 64% of our budgets came down now to around 30% much more money available for the development and therefore over these years the out come was our foreign reserves are now equal to about 12 months of our imports which is extremely healthy. Our GDP is growing at 6 to 7% our exports are at a record high, our revenue collections are a record high, our credit rating has been enhanced many folds and exchange rates are extremely stable. Inflation around 4% now because of oil it will increase but remain in single figure. Our stock exchange is the best performing stock exchange of the world that may came as a surprise to you. Therefore our economy is stable vibrant and we are moving forward. Now we are concentrating through a strategy to alleviate poverty and remove joblessness we have evolved a strategy which I don’t want to go in detail but we are succeeding in that. This is the first year in the history of Pakistan that poverty and joblessness has taken a turn downwards and reducing.

We improved governance through addressing the issue of corruption at the strategic level at the leadership level. We dealt with people who are rich and powerful that is how we dealt with it because the corruption was at strategic level and we also dealt with nepotism therefore the governance improve and also economy improved. So this is the first element that we addressed and we are still addressing. The economy has to keep growing up.

Then the second element was we must fight terrorism, there is no room for terrorist in Pakistan all the people who have come from outside either live peacefully or get out or they will be killed. That was the message that I gave, and I involved military and the same intelligence organization ISI did exceptionally well. We caught over seven hundred Al- Qaeda people, caught eliminated send out from our cities. We attacked their bases and sanctuaries in the tribal areas. One of the tribal areas is South Waziristan and we secured all their sanctuaries, these were their logistic communication bases they had exchanges in tunnels this was their command and control base this was their propaganda base. From all those areas we got truckload computers, discs and CD’s so we caught them on the run in the mountains in small packets. Now they are there may be but in small numbers in the mountains and we are pursuing them but in military terms I say we have succeeded because when you are facing an opposing force and if you can break the vertical and horizontal homogeneity of a force you have, marginalized that force and that is exactly what we have done. we have broken their homogeneity as force. They seize to exist as a contiguous homogenous force capable of undertaking planned organized actions because they are on the run in small packets with no communication lateral or vertical. I will be extremely rude if say no communications, yes there may be but it is very extremely restricted. So therefore our fight against the militants has succeeded but we have to but we have to persevere, we haven’t ended it. Sat the same time with the strong hand we have in a soft touch of societal transformation within Pakistan.

Let the moderates let the vast majority moderate, standup and be counted and let them dominate this fringe of extremists minorities that is what we are doing and we have evolved a strategy, first don’t allow hatred to be propagated through misuse of loudspeakers in mosques, don’t allow hatred to be propagated in madrassas look in to the literature is being printed, who is printing, look into the syllabus, curriculum and teach real values of Islam, instead of concentrating on rituals .

The real values of the greatness of our religion. So we are going in a strategy manner addressing the root causes of extremism at the same time confronting terrorism and sending a message to them that your job is over, either you stay peacefully or you will be eliminated. My great respects are for my forces which I lead and that is the armed forces of Pakistan for achieving so much for this world. This was the second area economic revival fighting terrorism. Then our eastern borders the affects of Kashmir we are going for rapprochement with India hopefully to solve Kashmir dispute once and for all I have told my counterpart the Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh that the time of conflict management is over it has to be conflict resolution. We have been managing conflicts in the past, we have reached accords many times after wars but that piece of paper ended as a piece of paper unfortunately and then we had another war we reached another accord we had the third one because we didn’t resolve the disputes we must resolve the cause now. Now or never. Therefore Kashmir dispute has to be resolved and there is a resolve on our part to resolve Kashmir dispute.

Then ladies and gentlemen the forth element which needs to be addressed was the issue of introducing the sustainable democracy in Pakistan I wont go into the details of this. We analyze that why democracy failed in Pakistan. it is extremely important that what ever we are doing is 5 sustained through over arching political arrangement a balance sustainable permanent political arrangement where democracy flourishes and military does not play a role in governance again it may sound very ironical that I am being a military man in uniform teaching all this but whether one likes it or not I have been put in to this situation and I have a conviction that this needs to be done because individuals are not permanent it is nations which are permanent. We have tried to introduce the sustainable democracy. Democracy was not there at the grass root level in Pakistan we have introduce a very ingenious local govt system which the World Bank says is the silent revolution. It is creating an impact at the grass root level because we have empowered the people of Pakistan in the real terms financially, politically and administratively. To do any thing they want at the grass root level and they have the resources to do it. We have empowered the women of Pakistan, we have empowered the minorities of Pakistan, we have empowered the peasants and workers of Pakistan so this is real democracy at the grass root level. The other issue of checks and balances on those who are in real power in Pakistan we have introduce the institutionalized method of checks and balances over those who are in power. There was no check and balances in the past who were in the power in past therefore the turbulence at the top level and therefore the breakdown of political setup and democracy therefore the coming in of military and martial law. I think we have introduced the sustainable democracy in Pakistan.

Lastly I thought one more issue must be addressed together with all that we are doing and that is projecting the soft face of Pakistan. the soft face of Pakistan can be projected through projection of our art, our culture, our tourism resources and sports we have evolved a strategy for each one of them so ladies and gentlemen to end I would like to say that I have given you a birds eye view of how I see the world, the Muslim world, my region and what are the remedies, what are the answers, what is the way forward to harmonized. I have also told you the misperceived society of Pakistan being an extremist and intolerant which is absolutely incorrect. This needs to be changed and projected the societal transformation brought about and projected in right slice outside to the outside world I obviously seek your assistance.

Thank you very much


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