Posted by: Administrator | 6 January, 2008

President at World Economic Forum

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF’S ADDRESS AT WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM

 24 Jan, 2008  File:Pervez Musharraf - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2008.jpg

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: They are victims of misperceptions and distortions. But since I have been running short for time in spite of the fact that I am going to talk of Pakistan, but I would like to recapitulate what Dr. Henry Kissinger started. And I would like to recapitulate, sir, that in July 1971 Pakistan facilitated a very important event at that time. That is the breaking of thaw between United States and China. In that Dr. Henry Kissinger went to China in a Pakistan International Airlines flight on 6th July, 1971. And that was the time when there was a tussle in China between pragmatists and radicals. Had this visit not materialized, which led to the pragmatists like Mr. Chu en-Lai coming up in China and the improvement of relations that followed between the United States and China, may be the radicals could have re-asserted and may be the cold war would have extended far beyond what we have seen its end in 1989. So, therefore that was the role that Pakistan played. But I said this especially because I believe, Sir, that Mr. Chu En-Lai at that time mentioned, ‘ask the United States never forget the bridge that facilitated that, and that was Pakistan’, It is an unfortunate reality that in 1990s the bridge was forgotten. With this, let me come to Pakistan to the realities of today. I will take you to a very short trip to Pakistan

First of all, Pakistan is strategically located in the east Gulf and Middle East, in the north Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics, northeast China, and in east India and South Asia. So this strategic location actually gives Pakistan the capability of acting as a trade and energy corridor. Any kind of interaction between these regions is not possible without Pakistan. That is the strategic importance of Pakistan.

And also in view of the terrorism and extremism going on in this region, anything that happens in the region, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan and on the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan have an impact on the whole region. And I may also dare to say, may have an impact in the streets of Europe. Therefore, it is significance and importance.

Since 1999 when I came on the scene, ladies and gentlemen, we have tried to take Pakistan forward from the state of a failed or defaulted State. Without going into details, the first issue that we addressed was the economy of Pakistan. And may I very confidently and proudly say that today Pakistan’s economy from that failed State level is on an upsurge where we had a seven per cent growth every year since the last five years. 2

I will leave at this. All other micro economic indicators today are positive. So much so that Merrill Lynch for this year projects a growth of six point eight per cent in spite of whatever has happened, in spite of any thing that you may be thinking the turmoil in Pakistan or in the region. And if you see the Economist’s last page, they showed Pakistan growth this year’s as seven per cent. So we are proud of this performance.

Then the other issue that I would like to highlight very briefly and I take pride in saying that we have introduced the essence of democracy in Pakistan. To touch briefly, we have empowered the people of Pakistan through a local government system which was not there before. We have empowered the women of Pakistan by giving them reserve seats at every tier of the Parliament. We have empowered minorities of Pakistan by giving them joint electorate. We have actually gone into giving the essence of democracy. Today there is a Chief Election Commissioner and an Election Commission which is functioning well. Today there is an election system, which I will talk of very briefly, is itself inherently fair and transparent.

Then we liberated the media. And I take pride in saying that. There used to be only one Pakistan Television channel in Pakistan. Today there are fifty channels operating. And the media, the electronic and print media, is totally independent. If anyone of you reads our newspapers, if anyone of you sees the talk shows on our television channels, I can assure you that you will find the independence of the media.

Then we fought terrorism and extremism. We are still fighting that. We are fighting this in a very holistic manner. May be we are the only country which has understood terrorism and extremism in its larger context. We are fighting terrorism on a multi-pronged strategy, multi-pronged being military, political and socio-economic. We are fighting the Al Qaeda and we are fighting the militant Taliban through this strategy.

We are also addressing the issue of extremism from our society which is a state of mind. It requires a different strategy. And we have a strategy for that also which is under implementation. May be it is a long term strategy. But we have the strategy in place.

We are a nuclear State. And it is just unfortunate that we are seen to be unstable that our nuclear assets can fall into wrong hands, into the hands of the terrorists. This is an Islamic bomb that Pakistan has. I really don’t understand why the world calls it an Islamic bomb and why there is no ‘Hindu bomb’ or a ‘Jew bomb’ or a ‘Christian bomb’ or a ‘Buddhist bomb’. 3

Why this bomb is an Islamic bomb? I don’t understand. And the man in the street in Pakistan does not understand this. This was because of our defensive compulsions. We had a threat, we visualized the threat. We used it to balance the threat out, quantified it in terms of force levels. But when the threat graduated beyond the conventional levels and got into the unconventional area, we had to balance out that threat again. And that is how Pakistan went nuclear. However, having said that, now that we are a nuclear State, let me assure this House that we have multi -layered custodial controls established in accordance with the best international practices. And there is no way that these assets can fall into the hands of the terrorists.

We have seen some turbulence in the last one year, ladies and gentlemen, in spite of all the growths, in spite of all the positives that we have gone through in the past seven, eight years. I would like to just comment, let me assure you, that I have always upheld the law and the Constitution of Pakistan. So, therefore, any criticism coming up, first of all, sees what the law and the Constitution of Pakistan are. Please don’t see us with your Constitution and your law. So, I have upheld the laws and Constitution of Pakistan. The other thing I want to just make a passing reference. When one is faced with an extraordinary circumstance, and extraordinary circumstance meaning that the government is paralyzed, meaning that the law enforcement agencies are demoralized in their fight against terrorism, and the terrorists are being encouraged, meaning that the democratic transition towards elections is being derailed, meaning that the sovereignty of the Parliament is being violated and challenged, meaning that the nation as a whole becomes despondent on what is happening to Pakistan, and as a result of all this, the upsurge in economy seeing a stalling, and may be a downward trend, what does one do under such challenging extraordinary circumstances? Extraordinary measures had to be taken. And I am very proud of the fact that we put everything back on rail. It had to be done. And all that I would like to urge everyone here in this audience to understand that the ultimate gauge of judging our country is how the economy of the country, the socio-economic sector is performing? How the well being, welfare, progress of the nation and the people is being affected by the government and the country. And that, are we going for political stability through a well thought out democratic process in accordance with that country’s environment? That is where one needs to judge a country by, and that should be the gauge for any judgments. Because, after all democracy, human rights have to serve the people. The people are not there to serve this. So therefore there has to be an understanding, there has to be the priority has to go to well being, progress, and development of the country and the well being of its people. 4

Lastly, I would like to come having, as I said, put the derailed democratic process back on rail where we were going to have election on 8th of January. But the unfortunate, most unfortunate, assassination of Benazir Bhutto again came as an obstacle in the way. And the mayhem that followed, unfortunately it was not possible for the Election Commission to hold the elections on 8th of January. Therefore, they have been postponed to 18th February. Let me assure this house that the elections will be held on 18th February. They will be free, fair, transparent and peaceful. When I say free, fair and transparent, let me tell this House, inherently that the system is free and fair. If anybody asks me a question later on, I would be too glad to answer, how I say, why I say that it is inherently free and fair. That much for the present. The last word on the future of Pakistan. I firmly believe that there are three courses that we must follow, keep following. Number one that this democratic transition and the election the 18th of February must lead to a very stable government, a politically reconciled government. Number two that the economic upsurge in Pakistan must be maintained. And lastly, we must carry on our fight against terrorism and extremism. We hope with that the resilience that Pakistan has shown all along from our creation in 1947, the people of Pakistan will rise to the occasion and we will, as I said, on these three counts we will succeed. And Pakistan will remain a stable, strong, democratic, dynamic Islamic State.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

QUESTION-ANSWER SESSION  WITH PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF

AT WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM, DAVOS

24 Jan, 2008

QUESTION: Mr. President I belong to those who have greatly appreciated the role that Pakistan played after 9/11 and also the speech you made in January, 2002 attacking fundamentalism, the role of the religious schools in fomenting fundamentalism. The question that is often put in the West is about the presence of Taliban and Al Qaeda forces on the Pakistan territory even at a time when the position of the Pakistan government has been unambiguously to fight Al Qaeda and Taliban may be from explanation of how this condition could arise would be eventual?

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much. Let me, first of all, tell you what is the over all concept of how we are fighting this terrorism and extremism. The strategy against Al Qaeda and militant Taliban, defeat Al Qaeda militarily. There is no way, they are foreigners, and they have no right to be in Pakistan. Taliban or the militant Taliban are our own people. Therefore what we need to do is wean away the population. Number one from the militant Taliban those who are for peace and they are not for militancy. Don’t let them remain at the mercy of those who are for militancy. Wean them away. Secondly, do not allow any militant Taliban, anybody to indulge in cross border movement between Afghanistan and Pakistan whether to go to support the Taliban on our side or be hosts to the Taliban coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan. That is our strategy for addressing Al Qaeda and Taliban. And how we are doing this? Now how far are we successful? We have adopted a multi pronged strategy, as I said. Military, Any militancy is being struck with force.

And in this, we have total cooperation between United States intelligence and Pakistan intelligence, total cooperation. We have total cooperation at the strategic level and tactical level between forces operating on both sides of the border. The Pakistan forces and the ISAF. So, therefore good coordination exists there. May I tell you, may I surprise you by saying that on the Pakistan side why the Al Qaeda were in our cities in hundreds and we succeeded in almost eliminating them, about six, seven hundred of them have been eliminated. No more in our cities. They were in our Valleys in hundreds, in the valleys of the tribal agencies. They are not there any more because of our operations. They are in the mountains but in much smaller numbers. So this is the success against the Al Qaeda. 2

The militant Taliban also, they did spread out and tried to spread Talibanisation into settled districts of the Frontier. But we acted against them with force, with additional military force. And we succeeded in areas of Swat. And we succeeded in sealing the border where we have established one thousand posts and even we have fenced the border in certain areas. The success is, in the fact, that ISAF say that the cross border movement from Pakistan into Afghanistan has reduced by forty two per cent. This is the success of what our strategy is taking place. I would say, it is the desperation of these people that is now visible in the form of suicide attacks against Benazir, against all political leaders, against me. They threat against me. So, this is their desperation that they must get rid of this government or the people who are for whatever we are doing. So that is our success. And the third element, I would like to leave because that needs another answer how we are addressing extremism. We are addressing extremism to bring normalcy, into change of mindsets of the people; this is a small minority by the way.

QUESTION: Mr. President you indicated that the elections on February the 18th are going forward and a political evolution will then start. How would you anticipate the evolution to evolve and how would it relate to the overall situation in the region?

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Firstly, what I didn’t say I would like to give out very briefly. The important thing is we have to have the elections. They have to be fair and transparent. Now inherently I said the system is fair and transparent. In that whatever bugs there were, have been removed also, and that also has been done by me and my government. Now there is a caretaker government in place which was never then before. And it is under the caretaker government that the elections will take place. If anyone talks against them, well it is better than having the same government in place which would I have been certainly from the fairness point of view it would have been seen to be more unfair. Then there was talk that there used to be gerrymandering of constituencies. We have not allowed any delimitation of constituencies. There was also an issue of ghost polling stations. All polling stations have been notified and they are on the internet. There was talk of the electoral rolls being tampered. The electoral rolls had been notified and they are on the internet for the world to see. There was talk that between the Returning Officers and the Election Commission where the results used to be announced by the Election Commission, there is some manipulation done. The law now says that the Returning Officer will declare the results. And then may also I add lastly a system that existed that at the lowest level, the Presiding Officer level there are polling agents of every 3

candidate contesting sitting inside the polling station. And the Presiding Officer shows the ballot box to them empty and seals it. For the first time, we have changed the wooden boxes into transparent boxes and bought and spent money. And then voting is cast, ballots are cast in front of those polling agents and the ballots papers are counted in front of the polling agents. And that it is notified. So this is the system. I keep asking every one please give me one more suggestion and I would be the gladdest person to pass it to the Election Commission for implementation. So what more can one do to ensure fairness and transparency of the elections? So this is, as far as the elections are concerned. Now beyond that. Beyond that, ladies and gentlemen, we must understand we have a Constitution and we are following our Constitution and in our system, it is a Parliamentary system. The President has certain powers in the, according to the Constitution of Pakistan, but he does not repeat does not run the government. Government is run by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is the Chief Executive. A lot of people are asking me how you will have the coalition. I am not supposed to have a coalition. It is the Prime Minister who has to go for a coalition. And how does the Prime Minister come after 18th February? There will be elections. If any party wins an election, to be able to form the government, has a simple majority they will form a government, they will have a Prime Minister. And if there is a hung Parliament, then there will be a coalition, and they will have Prime Minister. If I can facilitate a coalition for the sake of harmony in Pakistan, I don’t mind doing that. But otherwise a coalition has to be between the parties. So, I have been elected as the President by the Parliament. And mind you this election of the President is much more than the election of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister gets elected by the National Assembly alone. The President gets elected in Pakistan through the Senate, National Assembly and four Provincial Assemblies of Pakistan. All of them vote. And that is how they voted and gave fifty seven per cent of the votes. So I have been voted as the President. And there will be a Prime Minister emerging out of the election process on the 18th of February. And that is how Pakistan will be, and I am very sure, I am not a difficult person to work with. And I don’t find any difficulty in working with anyone. And I am reasonably sure, and I am very sure, whoever wins will form the government whether it is the Opposition or the government coalition or any one? And one would like to co-exist for the sake of stability and prosperity of Pakistan.

CHAIRMAN: (Not clear who he was): Mr President you have given a very hopeful picture of situation of the future and we all hope that it moves in the direction that you have described. Thank you very much for this opportunity to meet you. 4

PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF: Thank you very much, Sir, it is an honour for me.

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