Posted by: Administrator | 4 January, 2008

Musharraf at Breakfast with Ikram Sehgal

PRESIDENT’S SPEECH AT BREAKFAST BY IKRAM SEHGAL

26 Jan, 2008

Moderator: And now we will have Gerry Muller to go ahead with the introduction of the institutional investors Mr. Lee Howell, distinguished guest the World Economic Forum to say few words and of course no introduction of President Musharraf he does not need introduction and then the President will say something, then questions and answers and then, we will have just a short conclusion.

Ikram Sehgal: Thank you Lee, thank you Garry. Now I just want to put in few thanks before I thank. First of all let me recognise this point Qurat Masood. You know she has been with the world economic forum for many years so great supporter of this practice. She is not with the World Forum now but still is here in this room. I just wanted to say thank you to her. Thank you. I want to recognize Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, economic stabilization of Pakistan. Thank you for being here Sir (President Musharraf) for the breakfast. How we will over come this negative on the speech talk of people and for that I thank you for having that attitude and attained here and I acknowledge that. Because that is what is required and I did say a few impracticable things I think which you know normally …laughter… .

 

President Pervez Musharraf: Bismillah al Rahman al Raheem. First of all let me express my gratitude to Ikram Sehgal my friend for arranging this breakfast. This is the third time I am addressing a gathering here at such a breakfast get-together. So thank you very much Ikram and thank you very much everyone for being here and giving me this opportunity of speaking to you on Pakistan. I will certainly cover the economic aspect but I thought I will cover Pakistan in a broader perspective as I understand it. In fact I thought I will take a very holistic picture of whatever we have sustained over the years where we stand and how I see the future because this is essential because I think there is a degree of misperception surrounding Pakistan. Some distortions of realities, some lack of understanding of what we have gone through and what we face. So therefore, I thought it is important to trace back or recapitulate what we have gone through over thirty years in a very brief manner, in a very cursory manner but it is important to recapitulate. Why it is important because I personally feel that it appears as if the world thinks that Pakistan is perpetrating all the ills in the region and within itself while we are the victims of whatever has happened since 1979.

So that is what I would like to start by to recapitulate ladies and gentlemen back in 1979 till 1989 for ten years we launched and when I say we I mean United States, I mean the West and Pakistan. We launched a Jihad, we called it a Jihad and we brought about twenty to thirty thousand Mujahideen from the whole world, from the whole Muslim world. And we trained Taliban. We armed them and we sent them into Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. ISI and Pakistan were in the lead role. Our intelligence organization and Pakistan were in the lead role assisting the United States and the West. We did a good job and we won a victory in ten years. And the result of this 3

victory was the end of the cold war, disintegration of the Soviet Union, reunification of Germany, collapse of the Berlin Wall. This was the result of our military victory in ten years. A great job done had effects on the whole world. Pakistan and Inter Service Intelligence of Pakistan was in the lead role, played the key role in all this. This is Pakistan’s contribution and ISI’s contribution to the free world. But then let me say that beyond 89 we bungled up the end game. We could not culminate the military victory into political victory. This is the reality as I see it. So therefore, there was a disaster. The military victory got showered and it led to political defeat. And how see the period between now 89 and 2001, 9/11 twelve years. What did Pakistan suffer and what did this region suffer Afghanistan and Pakistan. After the military victory Soviet defeat every one left the scene including the United States. I am going to talk very frankly ladies and gentlemen so that we know and recapitulate whatever we had suffered because then we have to come to how we meet the challenges. In these twelve years we were alone. Pakistan was alone and Afghanistan was alone. And the militarized Mujahideen about thirty thousand of them when I say militarized because we armed them. Militarized to the teeth. And the Afghans and the Taliban militarized to the teeth because the Soviet army withdrew left all their greased aircraft, tanks, weapons right there in Afghanistan. And also all the stocked ammunition and weapons given by the West in tunnels in Afghanistan left there. Armed to the teeth this Mujahideen were reinforced after the Soviet collapse by Chechens, Uzbeks.

For twelve years now warfare, warlordism each tribe in Afghanistan destroying the other ravaging the country. Uzbeks, Pakhtoons, Tajiks, Punjsheris, Hazaras fighting between themselves. Four million refugees in Pakistan and who is there to assist Pakistan? No body. We were fending for ourselves. For twelve years and that and then the biggest of hurt was that this strategic ally of Pakistan of forty-two years from forty-seven to eighty-nine, the strategic ally of the West was ditched and there were sanctions imposed on Pakistan. We endured that carried on enduring for twelve years, all alone. Mujahideen co-alliance into Al Qaeda. Osama Bin Laden is a product of the Mujahideen who we brought and Taliban phenomenon came in 1995-96 who is there to assist us. We are all alone. Pakistan is all alone. Everyone has gone. The feeling in the people of Pakistan that we were used and we have been ditched. So this is what we endured for twelve years and this was the result of all that. And with all this ladies and gentlemen also erupted freedom struggle in Kashmir and there were certain emotional attachments of people of Pakistan with the people of Kashmir. It continues. And 4

therefore, there were lot of innumerable freelance Mujahideen groups who were certainly had emotional attachments with their brethren in Kashmir. All that also the fall out was again on Pakistan. So in nutshell I thought I must give this out. Our national fabric was torn. Before 1975 and 1979 ladies and gentlemen Pakistan was absolutely a normal, peaceful country. This is what happened from 1979 to 89.

And then 89 to 2001, now ladies and gentlemen that much for the background. I would like to come on to where I came in now. I came in 1999 when all this had happened. And from frankly till 99 we had reached a stage where Pakistan was near to collapse. Our economy was in near collapse. We were almost a failed state, a defaulted state, technically defaulted state. We started the job of correcting Pakistan and Shaukat Aziz is here. I got him from Citi Bank. I never knew him. Let me give to his credit when I was head hunting. I did not understand any thing of economic or finance. So I was told about him and when we checked out I thought I must get him over. I rang him up. I told him you want to carry on in Citi Bank or you want to serve your nation. And if you want to serve your nation. Let me tell you I am not going to pay you even one hundredth of. And we thought that we have to correct the economy of Pakistan. We corrected the economy of Pakistan. Without going into details just to give you broad figures. Today from the failed state Pakistan’s economy is on an upsurge. Our GDP growth over the last seven years, over the last five years is seven per cent. In spite of all that you may be hearing in the newspapers and in the media. Merrill Lynch projects Pakistan’s economic growth this year at six point eight per cent. The Economist last page if you see it shows Pakistan growth seven per cent. We hope to achieve six point five to seven per cent. The Finance Minister who is sitting there he keeps saying we will go beyond seven per cent. But I want to keep the target low so that we achieve more than the target. So this is the great achievement. Our per capita income has more than doubled. Our GDP on the whole has grown by one hundred and twenty-five per cent the total GDP.

Our investment foreign investment has grown if I was to shock you about three thousand per cent. Our because of the per capita income which has grown so much and economy doing that much, that much better the purchasing power of the people has increased, demand has increased. Supply is not keeping pace with demand. Therefore, demand supply gape has increased and therefore, profitability in any investment in Pakistan has increased to the extent that there are about seven hundred companies functioning in Pakistan, foreign companies. They have made profits of up to sixty per cent. And we will be surprised that that is a reality. Some have made profits of over fifty per cent. I do not think you can make profits in double figures anywhere in the West. But here because the demand supply gape is so much and because the purchasing power is so much. This is the detail of our profitability in Pakistan. There is investment coming in as I said three thousand per cent. With all that you may be again hearing and I am going to clear those misperceptions a little later. Let me inform you that the Barclays has just come into Pakistan. I met President of Barclays yesterday. China Mobile is the biggest telecommunication company has come into Pakistan. The chairman was sitting with me last yesterday. They have invested eight hundred million dollars and he was saying they are going to investment another eight hundred million dollars now to develop the infrastructure.

The success story of our telecommunication is that we had only six hundred thousand mobile telephones five years back. Today we have seventy-six million mobile telephones. There is a growth in five years. Our tele-density was two point nine per cent. Today it has crossed fifty per cent. This is the growth in five years. So in the overall context investor’s investment in Pakistan is booming. Our economy is doing well this is because we started on a policy of deregulation, liberalization and privatization. And we went very strongly with it. To quote the example of the banking sector which has been a great success of ours eighty-five per cent of our banks were in public sector before. Today eighty-five per cent of our banks are in the private sector. And they are all doing very well. Therefore, other banks are coming into Pakistan. So all I do not want to go into more details but I would like to give out because I am trying to elaborate on the economic side of Pakistan that Pakistan is a population of one hundred and sixty million people growing fast. Unfortunately this is one area where we have done very well all through since our independence. We are trying to check that. We are at one sixty one sixty-five million and we if you see our strategic location we are in the centre of three regions, the Gulf and the Middle East on the West, Afghanistan Central Asia in our north, all looking southwards towards the sea and towards trade with Europe or Africa or Asia or South Asia. Then the western regions of China western China and in our north east and India and South Asia on our east. We consider Pakistan as a trade and energy corridor why is it that because there is no possibility of any trade and energy interaction between these regions who each want to interact with each other is possible without Pakistan, just not possible without Pakistan. So therefore,  

Pakistan is a hub and Pakistan must be treated as a hub and not stand alone country. So any investment in Pakistan means you are at the centre of all this region and with a population of one sixty million people whose purchasing power is increasing.

So therefore, this is the frankly the economic picture. I have cut out many of our all our macro economic indicators today are positive, our debts were rising but the main indicator of debt to GDP ratio which stood at one hundred one per cent in 1999 today at fifty-two percent which is quite healthy. Our revenues have more than tripled and in revenue collections. Therefore it gives us the amount of money available for development projects in Pakistan has gone up from eighty to five twenty which is about six hundred per cent. So these figures ladies and gentlemen are stunning even, even we, Shaukat and I were surprised how we are achieving all this. God has been kind. We worked honestly and sincerely. And I think Pakistan had the resources and the potential to rise. Therefore, we performed. So this is the economy economic aspect. I would be reminisces I did not tell you that the Karachi Stock Exchange which is the indicator of the economic stability, economic resilience, and economic strength of the nation is the best performing stock exchange of the world. It has risen fourteen times over these seven eight years. The Karachi Stock Exchange index has risen fourteen times from one thousand to fourteen thousand. And in spite of whatever you may be hearing it maintains fourteen thousand. So that is the fact of the matter that the confidence of the people, international community within the economy of Pakistan. It remains stable. So this much for the economy ladies and gentlemen I would say in this beyond 99 we analyzed why democracy in Pakistan was failing. Why did that we go into martial laws. Let me tell you that we introduced the essence of democracy. It may be appearing all to you that a military man or an ex military man I have doffed my uniform is talking of democracy. Yes, indeed we introduced the essence of democracy. We empowered the people of Pakistan through introducing a new local government system which gave representation and empowered the people at the grass root level financially administratively and politically.

We empowered the women of Pakistan. We empowered them by giving them fixed seats at every level. At the local level thirty-three per cent one third of seats are reserved for women. At the National Assembly seventy-two out of our three hundred and forty-two members are women, twenty-two per cent. Seventeen per cent are reserved, remaining they can contest against men. We have empowered the minorities of Pakistan by giving them joint electorates. We have a very independent Election Commission. We have set rules and regulations which ensure fair and transparent elections. I could answer any questions on that. Then on human rights issues, freedom of speech, individual liberties, civil liberties, whatever you want to call them let me assure you that we encouraged that and we really introduced that. The media was never independent. There was only one television. The state-run Pakistan television. We opened it out. Today there are fifty channels running. And if you read our newspapers and television they are full of criticism against me and thank you Ikram for saying that yes I read your article which was criticizing me one … laughter … but the policy not me. But that does not matter at all. These are free views that any one expresses and we do not mind at all. So therefore, we liberated the media I would say. I do not go into the major achievements in our social sector, the health sector, education sector, poverty alleviation, reduction in employment, unemployment. There are major achievements in all these sectors. I leave it on that.

We fought terrorism and extremism. We are fighting terrorism and extremism. At the strategic we have a strategy. We may be the only country in the world which has strategized fight against terrorism, differentiated what is terrorism and extremism and adopted a multi pronged strategy, understanding fully what Al-Qaeda is, what Taliban is and what is extremism in the society? And we have strategized each one of them. And we are going on that strategy. I’ll talk about what we have done a little later. With all this, what we are doing in Pakistan beyond 9/11, ladies and gentlemen, the world saw upheaval and turmoil. We contributed substantially in trying to bring peace in the Muslim world, in our region and also may be our ideas on the world bringing peace and harmony to the world starting from the world and the Muslim world we propounded the idea of enlightened moderation as a double pronged strategy to bring peace while we proposed restructuring of the OIC so that we can reject terrorism and extremism and go for socio economic development. In our region we went for a rapprochement with India. The decades of conflict three wars we have gone for peace. And I think we have made good headway on a bilateral basis. Again done by a person who has fought two wars with the Indians. I have fought two of the three wars. So we have gone for peace. So this is our contribution to peace in the world and in the region. Every thing therefore, ladies and gentlemen was going very well for Pakistan. And we were economically progressing, domestically peace. We are trying to bring peace into the region fighting terrorism, Al Qaeda and extremism. Things I would say started going wrong, going awry last year 2007. Now these were the misperceptions and misunderstandings. There were negative aspersions still continue in the foreign media against Pakistan, against me, against the army, against the inter service intelligence .

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