Posted by: Administrator | 6 January, 2008

President Press Conference in UAE

President Musharraf’s Press Conference in UAE

24 Jan 2007

Ladies and gentlemen, I come to Abu Dhabi at the conclusion of my visit to four other countries. You may have seen that I started my visit with Saudi Arabia, then went to Egypt, Jordan and then to Syria and now I am in this great Country; U.A.E. and in Abu Dhabi.

I would like to start by expressing my extreme gratitude for all the hospitality that I have received here and I always receive whenever I come to U.A.E. and the many courtesies that are extended always to me and to my delegation.

Whenever I come here one gets highly impressed by the development that is taking place. It show that it is a physical manifestation of the dynamism, of the leadership of U.A.E. that this Country is progressing by leaps and bounds and it makes us in Pakistan proud and happy about it.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I met His Highness Sheikh Khalifa and first of all we expressed satisfaction at our bilateral relations. U.A.E. happens to be the biggest investor in Pakistan. We showed great satisfaction over the developing economic ties and relations between U.A.E. and Pakistan. I also took this opportunity to brief His Highness Sheikh Khalifa on the developing situation or the developing peace process between India and Pakistan and I took the opportunity of informing His Highness the good progress that has made me on the confidence building measures between India and Pakistan and also towards conflict resolution of our disputes’ resolution, which includes progress on the very key, core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, my visit basically to U.A.E. is a continuation of the process of my consultation and interaction with the leadership in the four other countries that I just spoke of. In this regard, I expressed our deep concern at the looming dangers in this region, which have dangers of extending to our region, which I believe is not only a threat to regional peace but to global peace. And whichever leaders I have been meeting over the last many months; all of them showed their deep concern over the looming dangers which are threatening the peace in the region and the globally.

If we see Iraq, there is a destructive violence going on in Iraq, Lebanon is mired in crises and the most dangerous aspect of these two are the sectarian under tones which causes a special concern to us in Pakistan and ought to be causing global concern to everyone globally as well as in the Muslim world. The  Palestinian situation has taken a new turn with the conflict between Hamas and Fatah, and I think the solution to this dispute under the present circumstances is further then it was ever before.

Therefore, may I say that the flames in this region, if not checked possibly could spread to the entire region, impact our region and may be even engulf the whole world. Therefore but clearly this a time to act and a time to adopt, reconciliate the approach as opposed to a confrontationist’s approach towards starting a new a fresh initiative to facilitate peace through resolution of the Palestinian dispute and bring in harmony to the Muslim world thereby effecting? terrorism and extremism.

In my interaction with all the leaders of the five countries, may I very proudly say that there is total concellance of use for initiating this new and fresh initiative towards bringing harmony to our region and to the whole world. So therefore, I would to conclude by saying that we have agreed to undertake this mission in a responsible, pragmatic but a forceful manner and that is the aim and purpose of this entire visit. I hope that from here onwards we move as I said in the direction of reconciliation as opposed to confrontation in a forceful manner, in a sincere manner, in a pragmatic manner.

With this ladies and gentlemen I’m open to any question that you may have:

Q: Is there a gap between the leadership and people in a Muslim world that’s why the whole issues are accelerating with the passage of our time?

President: There may be a gap but I believe to leadership involves, bringing harmony, in those views. I believe through leadership while under normal circumstances, you flow with the public opinions but a time when situation becomes so graver so dangerous and when there is discord between these two true leadership means changing the current and bring harmony in the two. So, I expect that under these dangerous circumstances that I just spoke of true leadership emerges which changes this current and bring harmony between the people and leadership for the good of the region, for the harmony in the whole world.

Q: You’ve mentioned growing sectarian divisions in the Arab world. Have you met with any of the Shia leaders while you were in the region and what have you done smooth Shia Sunni divisions of your recent trip?

President: Frankly we have not got involved in; we need to develop the new initiative. First of all we need to develop consensus on the requirement of a new initiative, the consensus on developing a new initiative; a forceful voice and then getting into with the need of or having a road map for addressing issues. I certainly have not met Shias and Sunnis; certainly my agenda is not based on a sectarian view point. While once we develop consensus on the new initiative we 3 ought to address two of the core issues: the Palestinian dispute and disharmony that I am talking of in the Muslim world. If we take these two core issues I know that these will create effects in everywhere else i.e. Iraq, Lebanon, even Afghanistan. So therefore we need to develop a new consensus for a new initiative which is a new initiative I would say and then workout on nitty-gritty and then how to cope up doing or implementing

Q: Have you discussed the growing tension between the Iranian government and the US government in your recent visit in the five countries and do you think that America is sending more troops to Iraq. Do you think that sending more troops in Iraq will resolve the problem in Iraq?

President: We have discussed all issues confronting the region and global peace and we believe that we need to have a totally neutral forceful stand so that we can resolve issues before they reach a pitch of a situation of no return. Therefore we are trying to move fast. I would not certainly be able to say that would discuss issues individually, we did not do that. As I said we need to first of all develop consensus on the requirement of a new initiative and then what this new initiative is, how does this new initiative give a strong voice and then with this neutral strong voice bring balance and harmony in opposing forces on each individual issue. So this is a broad parameter of what we are doing but I would not say that we have got involved in the nitty-gritty of each and issue of the world. But I have said that the core lies in the Palestinian dispute and the core lies within the disharmony within the Muslim world, which is leading to terrorism and extremism. We need to address this and all other issues will fall in line.

Q: Wonder if you could discuss from some moments with the U.S. Military’s comments about infiltration through the boarder with Afghanistan. There has been some intelligence officers talking about that some of the Pakistani forces perhaps with ISI coalition have been turning a blind eye to militant infiltration in Afghanistan and there are some of the generals who have told us that there has been 3-folding crescent in crossboarder attacks from North Waziristan, since this peace deal with the tribal folks up there. Was wondering if you could those allegations and may be talk about if you are thinking of revoking that peace deal or changing it in anyway?

President: May I start by saying that I take extremely strong exceptions to anybody blaming Pakistan so blatantly as to be the intelligence organization of Pakistan or any government agency of Pakistan cooperating with the extremist forces and sending them into Afghanistan. Pakistan is one Country which has suffered about sixty hundred daces. Pakistan is one Country where its leaders have been the victim over terrorism attack; a 4 suicide attack. So I don’t understand anybody who even with any stretch of imagination can thinks that the Pakistan ISI or government agency can be supporting that terrorist organization who has killed our 600 or 700 soldiers and attacked the leadership. So this is a preposterous thought. I know that this is being promoted in many sections of the media and in some countries in officially. I take extremely strong exception to this. The fight against terrorism and extremism whether its with al-Qaeda can never succeed without Pakistan’s cooperation. And Pakistan is the only Country which has delivered the maximum on both. 600-700 al-Qaeda leaders have been arrested by Pakistan. If you talk of Taliban, similarly maximum Taliban leadership has been arrested by Pakistan. I would ask you tell me any Taliban leader caught in Afghanistan, anyone? While I will give you dozens of names caught in Pakistan by the intelligence organizations of Pakistan. Who are the king pins of the Taliban operating today? It is Sheikh Haqqni and Daadullah and where are they and who are they? They are both Afghans and they are the ones who are recruiting Taliban. They come into Pakistan to recruit and finance Taliban support. So in brief after this very emotional outburst may I say that let us get things clear. The trouble lies in Afghanistan and the solution lies in Afghanistan but there is support going from Pakistan, which we know we are tacking them with 80, 000 troops. So let it not be said that Pakistan is not doing enough. If there is anybody who is not doing anything that is others who are not doing enough. Let it not be said that Pakistan alone is responsible for checking movement on the boarder. Why nobody else is is responsible for checking movement on the boarder? Pakistan has not by any chance taken the responsibility of being the sole Country which has to check the movement to and from boarders from Afghanistan to Pakistan or vice versa. It has to be by Afghan, by the American troops, by ISAF and NATO. So when we talk of controlling this movement, when I give some fresh ideas on controlling these movements, there is a wide cry against that. With no fresh ideas coming, ok, if you don’t accept our idea, you give your idea, but there is no idea on that. So I personally nobody has a right to criticize the method that we are trying to adopt to check movement across the boarder if the person doesn’t have his own idea. So in conclusion let me say that I don’t want to get into details. Today there is an al-Qaeda activity and Taliban activity mainly occurring in Afghanistan but support going from Pakistan. There is al-Qaeda in Pakistan; there is Taliban activity in Pakistan. So don’t get me wrong by getting that I don’t realize the reality. But it is those who think that nothing is happening in Afghanistan and only thinks that things are happening in Pakistan; they are being unrealistic and we will not be able to achieve results if we continue on this very assessment of the situation.

Q: Could you please tell us what would be the role of Israel in the new initiative you are trying to create?

President: Obviously the role of Israel is 50%. They have to come onboard to resolve the Palestine dispute. I personally believe that we should move on a Two 5 State theory of the right of creation of a Palestinian State and the earlier we do it, better it is for peace in the whole region and globally. At the same time we should recognize the existence of Israel. So this resolution of the Palestinian dispute will not be able without Israel coming on board. So they certainly have a role to play.

Q: Mr. President you said you still have not gone into the details of the initiative but if you could tell us who this initiative is supposed to involve. Is it Muslim States or IC States who need the initiative? And obviously you would have to coordinate with the United States about this initiative. Secondly surely there will be priorities because Palestinian issue is a long standing issue. And you have mentioned the sectarian conflict, which is the Sunni Shia conflict in Iraq. How concerned are you and the leaders of the region about the possibility of it spilling into other countries? And will you give priority to this particular dimension in your initiative?

President: I think this new initiative ought to involve some more countries of the Muslim world. So it has to be an initiative of the Muslim world other than the Arab World. And also may I say participation of the West. European Union is a very important player. Must be on board, and then there are important countries of the world, the major players of the world who must have faith in this new initiative. As I said if this new initiative is to succeed it has to be a middle course initiative acceptable to both extremes and then only will it succeed. A forceful initiative having credibility, acceptability in both the extremes and that is what we will try to develop.

Q: Mr. President as you know that United States is one of the key player in the whole scenario whether there is Israel or Iraq. My question is what do you see, is US ready to change its policies towards Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon? Also whether America and Israel will be ready to accept as nation in the whole scenario? And sir my second question is as you know basically Afghan has plan that Taliban that Mullab Umer is presently in Quetta. So what do you think where Osama and Mullah Umer would be, either in Pakistan or in Afghanistan or in United States?

President: The last part, it is certainly preposterous. Whoever is saying he is in Quetta, I will join him, take him in my aircraft and lets go locate his house and catch him. I will try to catch him myself. He has never been to Pakistan in his whole life. He was only in Pakistan when he was 15 or 16 years old in one of the madras in Pakistan. Since then he has “never” come to Pakistan. In 1995 when he created Taliban, since then till now he has never come to Pakistan. Qandahar is his operative base and he operates from there. He controlled the whole of Afghanistan between 1995-2001. He never came to 6 Pakistan and since then after 9/11 again he was fighting from Afghanistan. Why would he now after 30 years suddenly decide to come to Pakistan? Because we have government there, there is very strong intelligence there and military player presence there. Why would he come here to have the threat of being arrested? So he is obviously in Afghanistan. As far as the others are concerned, we don’t know. But if anyone says that he is in Pakistan, I will say that he has been living in his backyard himself. So when you know anything, when somebody doesn’t know anything, why are you commenting? I don’t comment, because I don’t know where they are and I will not say where they are. The other question that you were asking about United States, yes indeed there are disputes. In the Middle East, we need very fair and tough referee and an empire. That is what we are trying to create. Let’s have an empire which has credibility, which has a voice, which is heard by all sides. Today, every world leader is extremely concerned about whatever is happening in the region endangers the whole world. This region can be engulfed in flames and this will have global impact. So, any say in the world is looking for solutions to resolve these disputes. I think this is an opportune moment to have an empire which can create effects. So we are trying to look for that kind of empire. We need your prayers. Let’s see whether we can succeed. But it is worth a try atleast.

Q: Mr. President in the meanwhile there is growing dialogue between Pakistan and Indian Foreign Ministers and the Kashmiri leaders and meeting and last year the fast dialogue has not been in the past. Should we consider that Pakistan and India who’ve involved in three wars are now including Kashmir would not have any dispute in which there are chances of war and secondly can we consider that in the coming months the Kashmir dispute would get resolved?

President: The war is now out of fashion especially when both the countries are nuclear countries. So, both have this realization that there would be any solution through war or military action. I think both parties have considered this. Secondly, a good thing is the people/ masses of both countries have an urge or desire that there should be peaceful resolution of disputes so that both countries and SARC region may have economic activity and progress. Because of this realization you can see there is a progress in CBM and conflict resolution and in this aspect I have a proceeding and I am very hopeful that if we stayed on course and have good intentions and we don’t get scared of the opposing forces who are many there on both sides and I would like if you all can play a combine positive role then it would be encouraging to the leadership that they move forward in the peaceful direction. I am very hopeful that we would do some proceeding and inshAllah is there are good intentions then there would be good news inshAllah. (English): The question was on Indo-Pakistan dispute. I would like to say that I think the leadership on both sides have realized that war has become out of fashion now or outdated because both the countries are nuclear states. And 7 military solution is not possible on any dispute now, no more. And more than that we feel that the people on both sides Pakistan and India have come to a situation where they want peace. And therefore the leadership is moving in a direction where we are going well on the CBMs (the confidence building measures) and we are also moving very favorably with reasonable speed towards conflict resolution. And when I say conflict resolution I am certainly talking of Sir Creek Siachin and Kashmir which lies at the core. And I think we are making reasonable progress. We hope that with sincerity and boldness is shown by the leadership on both sides, we may be seeing good news and good outcomes in the future. Q: Do you think when it comes to religious parties Pakistan has moved towards extremism? President: Firstly, personally I as an individual no individual can play role at this moment. I think we need a stronger voice. I have no pretension that my voice is so strong. So therefore we need a combine stronger voice to be developed. And then this strong voice should influence all players on each extreme in every dispute. And that is what we are trying to do. And I think as I said if sanity prevails and I know every leader wants to dissolve disputes because of the looming dangers we could have success and that is the hope. But it is worth a try as I said instead of sitting and doing nothing and let the world and the region rift into whatever is happening and we are seeing on the television what is happening in Lebanon. It is Rice with dangers of a Civil War. Look at what is happening in Iraq. These are sectarian overtones which can engulf the whole Muslim world with extreme dangers. So we should be alive to this problem and every leader must contribute towards its resolution. So let us hope as I said that a new initiative which develops the key issue being a strong, neutral, credible voice to act as a referee and an empire to stop and have sanity prevail. That is the intension and let reconciliation be the leading element instead of confrontation. That is what we need to do and we need to translate this into action. The other part of your question dealt with the religious parties I would not say I am not talking of parties but I would like to say that extremism, this 2007 elections in an election where moderate verses extremist and the moderates must win. Because if extremists win it is again further danger to already the dangerous situation that has been prevailing and we are talking of. Let me come to the last question.

Q: Sir those situation of the Muslim world in that the role of OIC in the masses and Muslim nations especially it’s been seen that they play a role in it. And you too have many times mentioned the OIC should be the predictor. So what is happening in this aspect?

President: We are trying to make OIC as a predictor for the past 3-4 years. The bigger the group, the harder it is to call them and sit down for discussion. SO there should be a balance the how big should be the group, credibility is required, strength is required and an influence in the voice. OIC has its role but it’s 57-60 member countries. There are efforts for restructuring of OIC for enlightened moderation and it is proceeding, though not very fast. But when we would reorganize OIC and make a standing then OIC can have role everywhere. But right now the situation that we are facing, if we wait for creating OIC, then we will have to wait for very long. So we can’t do that. We will have to do something else which is speedy and successful.

Q: Apart from OIC there are other countries too?

President: Yes, everyone is concerned. It’s happening in their area. Palestine issue is an Arab-Israel issue, Iraq, Lebanon is all Arab issue. But there is Muslim world too along with Arab world. There are influences there too. So, let’s broaden our perspective and imagination and let’s see that from where we can get more strength in a combination that could be anyone. In this we have to rise above self and see national and regional interest, see Muslim Ummah’s interest. And that is how we can move forward. So I hope that it is our effort that we do something so as to have more chances of success.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.

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