Posted by: Administrator | 6 January, 2008

President in Charlie Rose Show

President in Charlie Rose Show

25 Sept 2006

Q: In the Line of Fire which is your memoir published today. In the Line of Fire seems an appropriate title for your memoirs, Does it not?

President: I think so that is why I selected it.

Q: There seems to be a dispute between you and President Karzai even though you met Karzai in Afghanistan, as to whether Taliban leaders are finding a heaven in Pakistan and financed by Pakistan and receiving intelligence from Pakistan?

President: Now this is exactly what we need to understand, that we need to have the clear idea of the reality on town otherwise our strategy will be wrong and we will loose battle. Taliban emerged in 1995 in Afghanistan under Mullah Omar, Mullah Omar has never been to Pakistan once since then , why would he be there and Taliban who emerged in Afghanistan in Qandhar and southern provinces swept the whole of Afghanistan in one and half years , they controlled it till 9/11 for six years who were they ? Were they from Pakistan? Why would these form Pakistan? These are the same, same people, same Mullah Omar and his commander .They is support from across the border, from our side, we need to tackle that , we need to separate any support going on from our side, as far as financial support is concerned , where are they getting the money from? Pakistan is certainly doesn’t have, or that much rich to finance any thing like this , it is through poppy growth and there is tremendous amount of poppy growth , it is through that narcotics trade, drug trade that they get money , that their soldiers are paid. We know it. Anyone who does not realize it is going wrong because his basic perception of the reality on ground is wrong. His strategy will be wrong.

Q: Let’s take a look at the issue by points. First Mullah Omar has never been to Pakistan?

President: Yes he has never.

Q: You categorically said that he is not in Pakistan?

President: I am almost dead sure that he is not there.

Q: The other point President Karzai says that other people including NATO, a NATO General a Lane institute professor also contradict with you people that infact there is a safe heaven, You simply say that they are wrong?

President: No no let me put it , I never said that there is no safe heaven, there are people who are supporting , there are Taliban on our side who are supporting the Taliban across the border , I said that they are the same ethnic stock they are Taliban, in Pakistan the Pukhtoons are divided into Taliban Pukhtoons and in non-Taliban Pukhtoons.

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Q: My question is that the people who not just support the Taliban but Taliban themselves secretly seek safe heaven?

President: Yes they do come across , they have support on our side of the border but the main core of Taliban , Mullah Omar and the commander, the main core are in Afghanistan , is in Qandhar and southern region because they are the one who ruled Afghanistan for six years, they are the same people living from 1995-2001 . It was not from Pakistan side that they did that, to where have they gone, even they same Taliban, it is very easy to understand, it does not need any imagination to understand, it’s the same Taliban.

Q: Do you believe there is an insurgency?

President: Yes they are.

Q: How much a threat they are today to destabilizing Afghanistan?

President: Well the danger is in the ethnic Talibans, as a people as a ethnic group joining the Taliban and starting the people’s war against Foreign countries that is the disastrous danger existing therefore I say that we need to understand the environments, we need to separate the Pukhtoons from Taliban and not treat all Pukhtoons as Talibans That is where we go wrong.

Q: Then how you do that?

President: We have done it on our side. For exactly we have done in Waziristan Agency, that is one of the tribal agency, we have reached an accord , a peace treaty with through a grand Jirga , we put three bottom lines which is the assembly of elders These are the tribal elders and these tribal elders were the people who actually had influence over the entire tribe before the Taliban emerged, After Taliban emerge, their writ, the writ of the tribal elders got gradually eroded and shifted to the Taliban . We need to get back. Now when we have reached an accord with them, we have put three bottom lines, no Al-Qaeda activity, no Taliban activity and no Talibanization on our side or across the border and they signed this accord, the tribal elders and it is now depend on them, and they have certain code of conduct and code of honour that they will be in lead role against any one who opposes this deal and that they have accepted.

Q: Some have interpreted that the deal which you have made is to say to them we can not leave you alone that the nature of the even as concerned to OBL, by the way do you believe that he is still alive?

President: Yes I think so. Absolutely.

Q: And is he mobile. Is he able to move around?

President: I presume so. I would not be very sure but I presume so.

Q: Why it has taken so long because it is the part of the same issue we are talking about who controls that area which side of the border is to get the OBL?

President: May I answer the first part that you said that there is deal with those people. Which people? Leave them alone. These are the misperceptions which are being created. Some time by President Karzai himself, now we must understand that we have deal the with Puktoon tribal elders, they are not Taliban now anyone who does this mistake of treating them, of treating all the Puktoons as Talibans is comitting a disastrous blunder. The people all the pukhtoon will rise as a people as they rose against the Soviets, never do this, this is what I am continuously saying, that every one seems to asking me you struck a deal with pro-Taliban or Taliban. Now this is the problem we have struck a deal with tribal elders who is saying that they are Taliban.

Q: Now let me say that President of Pakistan, the military in Pakistan, the ISI in Pakistan all three are committed to defeat the Taliban?

President: Yes 500% for the reason which we must understand, let me assure you sir I am not doing any one’s affairs, I am doing Pakistan’s affairs and we believe, Pakistan army believes that we need to protect Pakistan from the effects of terrorism and extremism and Taliban and Talibanization by fighting Al Qaeda and Taliban so let this be clear because people should ask if we were doing it for some one else. Let me assure that I and Pakistan army is doing it for ourselves and secondly for anyone else in the world.

Q: The questions about India trying to establish some consulates on Afghan side of the border?

President: Yes

Q: And this is a problem to you?

President: Yes that is correct they have consulates in Qandhar, they have consulates in Jalalabad and these are next to our border and I do not find any reason that why they should be there what so ever.

Q: So one more point of conflict with India?

President: Well this is a point of difference which I have pointed out everywhere.

Q:Regarding OBL so many things to be touch on Do you believe, president Karzai said that he is not in Afghanistan , now who will tell that he is in Pakistan how you are sure that he is not in Pakistan ?

I have never said that, I have always said that he is probably he is some where on the border, probably, I can not even be sure where but I have said seeing the pictures that I saw on television that they themselves released, the mountains, the trees I know these areas may be, may be the Bajor Agency and Kunar province where Americans are operating now. This is the area where he may be , we also know that we have seen the sign of Al-Qaeda on our side of border, may be he is switching on the border area of both sides, in Kunnar province there were no operations going on , that was wide so I would like to ask any one , I would like to as President Karazai that if there is wild some where , where would I hide, I would say , I have been trained as a commando , I have been trained for gurilla war I would go in the mountains in the wide why would I be some where in the people and where there are some elements where there are intelligence elements are there, it’s the common sense but if somebody is ask to substantiate then no I can not , I do not know about it.

Q: And you do not have enough control over the border because you said you cant send your Army across the border?

President: No if anyone knows this border , there are seven tribal agencies extending from the north which almost touches China and goes down all along the Afghanistan to our Balochistan , this is I think 400 miles if you know the height of mountains these are somewhere between 10000 to 18000 feet , there are no roads, even the British never entered in these areas , British had one single road in each tribal agency , in those seven agencies and they were only allowed to go on those roads for 200 years , this is the country where literacy level is under 10% , now these are fiercely independent people, every man carries a weapon, now we have inducted 80,000 troops in North Waziristan and South Waziristan and we captured five of their sanctuaries, valleys where they were in hundreds and then in North Waziristan where they are in small pockets , we have captured and eliminated them from their logistics, from their command base, from their propaganda bases , now we are there, now 80,000 troops are even short , if I may tell you that in Kashmir Indians have 700,000 troops and still they say that line of control is creating infiltration and secondly who has given all this responsibility to Pakistan for mining the border and ensuring nobody passes the border what is the responsibility of Afghan themselves, why do not they take care of their border themselves.

Q: But you do not want United States troops in Pakistan looking for OBL?

President: No that’s the sensitivity, this is a very serious issue not only sovereignty of Pakistan but the tribals here as I said are Pukhtoons even the Britishers never entered it is for the first time in history for over a century after 9/11 that Pakistan army entered there and start construction there, now they will fiercely guard their independence, they don’t even want the army there, but we went in to reconstruct and dealt with tribal elders. Now if the foreigners come here, certainly it’s a very very big sensivity.

Q: 9/11is a change for you, for Pakistan, for United States, for Afghanistan for the world what was your concern when you first heard about it

President: Well I concerned immediately about Pakistan and the protection of Pakistan and security of Pakistan.

Q: That Pakistan might come under attack also?

President: No the Pakistan was in the line initially when United States started firing the missile against the Talibans, a number of bombs landed in Pakistan by the way also so obviously Afghanistan is a land lock country, if action has to be taken there obviously Pakistan has to involved when we fought against the Soviets for ten years Pakistan had to lead the force every thing was happening to Pakistan so we obviously would have been struggling.

Q: Then comes the question of Richard Armitage, former Deputy Secretary, what happened, you could not tell the people because this book has not been published in past week now the book is published. What was that?

President: Yes firstly let me clarify both of them, Collin Powel and Richard Armitage are good friends of mine and where ever I written about them I praised them because I feel him very straight, very good man and very blunt as far as Secretary Colin Powell yes I spoke to him, he rang me and we had a short talk may be for about five minutes , he said that on terrorism we have to fight on terrorism and he was annoyed on what had happened obviously every one was then he said that on terrorism that are you with us? Or you are against us.

Now I did not take much time I said as far as terrorism is concerned we are victims of terrorism, we will fight, and we are with you. So that was all. Now as far as the Richard Armitage I didn’t talk to him I got the message from my DG ISI that he had a meeting with Armitage and he was very rough and these are the words he used with him.

Q: We bomb you back to the Stone Age?

President: Yes these are the facts that I know whether Richard Armitage said this or not I don’t know.

Q: You said your intelligence chief said to you? Whether you called your intelligence chief that Richard Armitage said this or not?

President: No I did not do this, I did not wanted to make it an issue. Why should we make an issue.

Q: One thing you told to 60 minutes about Richard Armitage that these words were rude and you did not please you?

President: Yes my whole mental make up is to confront I have been trained to confront, so my reaction to this offensive statement was counter-offensive.  

Q: What did you?

President: I did not remember exactly, that would have been some thing rude too but that did not mean that go and tell him this thing. I think when states are involved, when regional, national or international situations come up, personal egos are to be put aside.

Q: You like Armitage; you said him a smart, clear-headed and have a wide understanding of international issues. Did you spoken to him in this tour?

President: Yes he called on yesterday and he tried to explain the position and cleared that he did no said any thing like that. He said that I was very rough but I did not used.

Q: You met with the Secretary of State. Did you suggested him that you would be in better place if you would have to stay in Afghanistan and control Al-Qaeda instead of having war in Iraq?

President: No I did not discussed with him, I did not discussed the necessities of war or requirement of war but I have been saying it openly that it has led to increase in tension as a result of Lebanon war problem has increased further and worst till the room for the maneuver of moderate, I include myself in it yes reduce before you loose substance.

Q: Your room to maneuver is compounded by the response to Iraq first?

For 42 years we were the most allied ally of United States and when we were fighting the lead role against Soviets, everything happens to Pakistan, Pakistan was very comfortable there was no problem, and we were your ally. Then from 89 to 2001, twelve years we became the most sanctioned ally and United States developed strategic relations with India, look at the impact on the people of Pakistan, four million refugees coming to Pakistan and everyone has gone and left us high and dry after 89. Four million refugees fighting and Taliban emerged and everyone criticizing us why we are taking side of Taliban, You left us all alone, we have to look at our interest all alone, with four million Afghan inside Pakistan and 95% of them are Pukhtoons, now this is the situation for twelve years. And F-16s had a great impact, you know F-16s are not given and we had paid the money six hundred million dollars we were charged we were asked for money for parking of these F-16s, finally we were told that we were give you wheat and Soya bean and we got wheat and Soya bean for those in exchange of F-16s in 2000, we asked them that ok we collect wheat and Soya bean on our own ships but they said no we send our ships and the rent of those ships are double from ours. All this is known by the people of Pakistan, that when we were needed for 42 years we were used and then we were ditched. Now this we are trying to cover after 9/11, at the government level the relationships are very good I would say and people also understand what I am doing, I am very confident that they understand the way forward our developing relations with United States s advantageous to us economically and from all points of view, but the man in the street will take time to get back to the attitude of year 89 frankly, and especially when Lebanon happened and Iraq happened it again exuberate the attitude. Because they see United States to be an anti-Muslim.

Q: You think Israel is the difficulty for Pakistanis more than war in Iraq? America has a trouble with the men in the street because of the strong support of Israel more than the fact that America is in Iraq?

President: No no I don’t think so that Saddam is favorite in Pakistan. Basically the root to everything is Palestine and Israel and people seeing America take side of Israel.

Q: A Q Khan, United States has a reason to be anger when a national hero in Pakistan created a nuclear weapon selling it to America’s enemy, to Iran to North Korea as well? You don’t know anything about it/

President: Yes, unfortunately no I don’t know anything but there is a reason, the nuclear programme of Pakistan started in 1976 in a response to Indian nuclear tests in 1974 and was to be kept it top secret otherwise it we would not be allowed and it was essential that we do it because of the balance of powers between India and Pakistan which we always maintained is our strategy of military strategy the strategy of defensive deterrence quantified into forces previously it was conventional and when they went unconventional we got disturb and our strategy became untenable we had to get nuclear and therefore in 1976 top top secret programme started it was Prime Minister of Pakistan Z A Bhutto at that time and the scientist AQ Khan they went later on when President Zia and scientist nobody was involved finances were made available, no audit carried out, security was there own nobody interfering nobody knows what was going on it was continued like that to keep it top secret, later on when General Zia died and an civilian President came in an Army Chief inducted as a go between the scientist and the President, again in 1993 I was personally appointed as the Director General Military Operation this is the key appointment which I got which was supposed analyze and deal with anything the Chief orders anything for Pakistan it is this directorate the Director General who involves in anything. I was never in loop in a nuclear programme.It was directly between the Chief, scientist and the President to keep it secret to keep it top secret, and it was remained top secret till 1999.

Q: You were the top military official you ought to know!

President: No, no Army was not involving only Army Chief supposed to deal the matters, it was between scientist, and President no Army was not involved at all.

Q: You don’t discover this that President Bush and George Tenant came to you and said here are the facts?

President: No there is a correction I suspended the ban much before I was told this happened in the beginning of 2001 I removed him from his post that I did because I suspected now how and why I suspected. In 1999 when I came into a position of Army Chief in 1998 the first thing I went and told Prime Minister that we need to establish the custodial control and I made an organization a structure to do that but the Prime Minister some how didn’t approved it .When I took over in 1999 the first thing I do in march 2000 I immediately put those orders in place which meant what

Q: If we found someone selling national secrets I believe he would be prosecuted that was exactly happened to that scientist he was executed in this country if he pass secrets to Russian? President Bush and senior officials encouraged you time after time because there was a significant capture of Al Qaeda captures of Al Qaeda in the country which is the second largest Muslim country in the world, they seem to worry about you a lot they don’t insist on democracy a lot. But you are not in favour of democracy; in 2004 you promised the people of Pakistan that you would leave your uniform?

President: Yes it was indeed a promise through the word of mouth but through democratic process and through the constitution I have been allowed to be in uniform till 2007, December 2007, through the two third majority in the National Assembly, parliament of Pakistan a bill was passed allowing me to be in uniform as President till December 2007 and this is in accordance with the constitution of Pakistan. Now I did promise in 2004 that by December I remove the uniform but then things were so volatile in our region and when I saw things happening whatever was happening domestically, regionally, internationally I thought there is need of unity of command in that region and I exercise the unity of Command.

Q: So do you think that President Bush pushing you to accelerate democracy in Pakistan?

President: No one is pushing me, unfortunately the media lapse otherwise I assure you that President Bush or anyone else in the west does say that we are in favour of democracy they are not pushing me to do anything everyone should understand what is democracy and what I have done what are the issue, put the uniform element of mine aside please, lets see the democracy empowerment of people this is a real democracy there was no local government system in Pakistan I have introduced that in 2000 and we had the first election, real empowerment of people financially administratively and politically functions very well four years and other elections in 2005 fresh new representatives in local government, empowerment of women today 33,000 roughly in political authority 33 percent reserved seats in a local government, in a National Assembly 17 percent seats are reserved but they can fight openly also, today 22 percent in our National assembly are women, we empowered them politically and then also empowered the minorities and then we liberated the media we had only on television channel, today sir there are 43 television channel I see to of them here in United Sates, I have done that totally liberate the media they even talking against me, so totally liberated media, people empowered freedom of expression all Assemblies and Senate ,Provincial National Assembly all functioning what democracy you are talking about.

Again the feeling of deprivation in their own society I personally believe that yes indeed Muslims do have this thing the fault may be lying on both sides they may be assimilated in the society or may be they are alienated from jobs or from livelihoods they are not may be treated equally so therefore we need to see what other then the political anger around the world, what else is leading them towards these extreme acts within they have born and bred in United Kingdom unfortunately again Pakistan and I take very strong exceptions when everyone again start saying that they are Pakistani origin, in United Sates there are African origin European origin you don’t say that isn’t it till when they are going to take this Pakistan origin and interestingly when they is a boxer who is a silver medalist of Pakistan he is a British Boxer and when a cricket Captain the Pakistani origin Nasir Hussain he is a British Captain, only terrorist are Pakistani origin he born there educated there so he is a British this is unfortunate that he may have come to Pakistan, if he comes to Pakistan for month or two months all he learned with in those two months, not in 25 years of his life that he spend in certain environments. Let us please understand the environment, we must take stock of the environments then strategize after a clear understanding of the environment make a strategy and then get into the tactics of execution. We are into a strategy of execution without an overall strategy with a weak understanding of the environment and we land in failure.

Mr. President thank you for joining us!

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