Posted by: Administrator | 6 January, 2008

President at RUSI London


25 Jan, 2008

Dr. Professor Michael Clark, and ladies and gentlemen,

It is indeed a very proud privilege for me to have been afforded this opportunity to talk to you. It is a privilege because we know that this is a prestigious institution and addressing such an august gathering and a free exchange of views as brought out, I would like to have a very frank Q & A session after I have spoken.

Since there is a time constraint limited time, I would like to straight plunge into the subject or vision of Pakistan and regional harmony and indeed the world harmony because I think the stability in Pakistan and our region will affect the streets of Europe also so, therefore, world harmony.

I would like to start with a very brief background and recapitulate what Pakistan has gone through since 1979 very briefly because that lays down the existing environment that we are facing. First of all, ladies and gentlemen, let me say that between 1979 and 1989, we waged a Jehad in Afghanistan and when I say we I mean United States, I mean the West and Pakistan and I mean all the intelligence agencies combined which included the intelligence agency of Pakistan, the ISI. And also I mean that we were in the lead role, Pakistan and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in this jihad which brought about twenty to thirty thousand Mujahideen from all over the Muslim world, trained them and armed them and sent them in, that was the success that Pakistan contributed and Pakistan intelligence agencies contributed towards the world in ending the cold war. However, disaster followed from 1989 onwards, disaster followed in that the victory, the military victory was bungled up and it could not be caped with a political victory. So the military victory unfortunately ended in the next twelve years in a political defeat, I would say, or we can at least say political bungling up. Pakistan and Afghanistan were both abandoned totally and for twelve years, the militarized armed to the teeth Mujahideen, when I say armed to the teeth they took over all the arms left by the Soviet Union and also all the arms and ammunition left by us in the tunnels in Afghanistan.

This militarized Mujahideen and Afghans were left for themselves, they ran amok and they went on a course of self destruction and they raveled the whole country. The strategic ally, Pakistan, strategic ally of the West for forty two years – 47 to 89 was ditched and the people of Pakistan in these streets, the men in the street thought that we have been used and ditched. The result of this lack of care from 1989 to 2001 for twelve years led to coalescing of the Mujahideen into Al-Qaeda and then reinforcement of this Al-Qaeda with Uzbeks and Chechens after the break up of the Soviet Union and also the creation of the Taliban in 1996 and may I also add that this Al-Qaeda with Mujahideen coalescing into Al-Qaeda they turned their guns on to the West. We had four million refugees in Pakistan and also the Kashmir freedom struggle erupted and with our emotional involvement, emotional attachments with the people of Kashmir and very lot of freelance Mujahideen coming up, Pakistan’s internal situation I would say that the internal fabric of Pakistan was torn. Over and above all this, there were 2

sanctions imposed on Pakistan which further exasperated the already feeling of being ditched and let down. This is the condition which we faced in 9/11, before 9/11 in 2001. That is where we stood and may I say that at nine then the disaster of 9/11 followed, you all know that and with that the operation in Afghanistan followed and with that Al-Qaeda shifted base into Pakistan into our cities and our mountains.

We fought them in the mountains, in our cities; we eliminated them from our cities. That is our great success. Since 9/11 there is no more Al-Qaeda in our cities, we had about six seven hundred of them and then we chased them in the mountains they were in hundreds in the vallies; they are no more in hundreds. They are in single figures now, whenever we target and we hit targets, if we kill about twenty thirty or forty, we generally have about may be three Arabs or may be five Uzbeks that is the number now. So that was I think with all that happened the strategic focus has now shifted back into our region. While it had gone on it was Euro-centric after 89 it has come back into our region, because Pakistan-India were a nuclear flashpoint because Al-Qaeda because Taliban and because 9/11. This was the background, ladies and gentlemen. I came on the scene in 1999.

I came at a stage when Pakistan was a failed state almost, we had technically defaulted and I have told you whatever our national fabric was torn and our condition at that time, with sanctions on us. We immediately took up on ourselves to the correct economy and very briefly, we corrected the economy. Our economy today after seven or eight years is on an upsurge. Our GDP growth over the last five years has been at an average of seven per cent may be one of the best performances in Asia and the world. Our size of the economy, the GDP and the per capita income has more than doubled. Our debt burden has been halved in that our debt to GDP ratio from one hundred and one per cent is now fifty two per cent which is quite healthy. Our foreign investment which was at a low of three hundred million dollars, last year was eight point four billion dollars. The domestic investment has risen from fifteen per cent to twenty three per cent of the GDP and may I say the foreign investment to our GDP is five point eight per cent which is I think quite good. The stock exchange index has gone up by fourteen times and our foreign exchange reserves are equal to about six months of imports which is again healthy so this much for the correction of the economy. We also introduced the essence of democracy, may be points some or to you that a military man talking of introducing democracy. But yes, indeed we did that because we thought democracy was always derailed, we thought that martial law came at various occasions we took steps to avoid all that in the future.

And the essence of democracy that we introduced was firstly empowerment of the people that is the core of democracy. We empowered the people of Pakistan through a local government system giving them the power of financial authority, administrative and political authority. Within their districts, they became masters of their own whatever they want to do in development. We empowered the women of Pakistan by giving them fix seats at every level and also allowing them competition against the men as a result of which today in our National Assembly, we had seventy two women which is twenty two per cent of the total Assembly. We empowered the minorities of Pakistan by giving them a joint electorate and also duplicating 3

that with reserve seats at every level, that is what we did for the empowerment of people and then for the first time in the history of Pakistan we have held regular elections on due dates with tenures being completed by all. Local government elections were held in 12, 2001 the next elections came in 2005, we held them new local governments. Senate, half of the Senate was to be retired and new elections had to be held, were held on time. National Assembly, provincial Assemblies five years completed, elections were supposed to be now and they are now eighteen February. Never in the history of Pakistan has this happened. We also promoted human rights and civil liberties.

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say that I strongly am a believer in human rights and individual liberties and freedom of speech. It is because of this that we took a decision to liberate media, to allow private sector to come into the electronic media while we had only one Pakistan Television in the past, now we have fifty channels and let me tell you that they openly criticize, give suggestions against the government, even against me that is not the problem, that is not at all the problem with us. Criticism is not an issue with us. If you read the newspapers today you read the talk shows today, you will find this, whatever I have said to be the truth. And the truth of our intentions of human rights and freedom of speech is the empowerment that I have said, the free media and holding of elections, so all that I want to say is that we want the only thing we would like is that this freedom should be within bounds and they should be within bounds and not lead to violence and destruction and anarchy. We cannot allow violence, anarchy in the name of human rights and may I say that every country has a different environment of human rights. If I was to give you an example, I want to give you two examples. In a civilized society and developed world indeed in your country if there is a problem, if there is an investigation, the police come and just put a yellow tape and nobody crosses that yellow tape. What would you do sir, if the police come and they erect a barricade and yet the people come across jumping over the barricade and they attack the police themselves? Should the police garland these people in the name of human rights? When the Prime Minister of Pakistan went to the Election Commission to submit my nomination papers when I stood for election for my Presidency just now, these people came across the barricades, they blocked the way the Prime Minister could not get out of the place. What do you expect the police to do? So therefore police had to act.

I will give you another example which is more serious. Recently terrorism extended beyond the tribal agencies in our northern districts called Swat. There, there was one man Fazlullah, he is a cleric, he used FM Radio and he was indoctrinating people, people are illiterate, they can easily be swayed that Islam is in danger, the government is functioning against Islam, they are atheist and this and that and here there was a fire coming up in Swat. Now you tell me if we were to act on your concept, on the western concept which is correct ultimately we should reach there. Of human rights, should we act against this man? He is not doing anything, he is just talking and if the people follow him he is talking so what is our concern. No sir, it is our concern because he is destabilizing Pakistan. Therefore it will remain our concern. So as that is why I said earlier the stability of Pakistan is crucial and critical at this moment especially to the world, to the region and to ourselves, we cannot allow any one to destabilize. The environment can 4

lead us to anarchy in the name of human rights so that that is the only point that I thought I must make very very clearly and also another point that I want to make, agitation in Pakistan is not an agitation in London where people may come with placards when they leave the streets are very clean. Agitation there means all your traffic lights are destroyed, cars and motorcycles are burnt, offices may be burnt and there are billions of rupees of loss and damage. So if this is the kind of agitation and as I said anarchy that is to follow, I am afraid this kind of human rights is the one which does not suit our environment, till we develop ourselves into a stage where we become as conscious of our civic responsibilities as may be the developed world so that much for our human rights are contribution to human rights. Then we, ladies and gentlemen, we contributed to regional peace, we went on effort on a rapprochement with India. It is going well on resolving our disputes.

We also are trying our best to contribute our bid to stabilize in Afghanistan, we believe in the bond process and we are going forward. On the international level also, we contributed in the form of an idea of enlightened moderation to be executed by the Muslim world and the West. While things were going very well till last year 2007 in Pakistan what went wrong, I would like to clarify because that has created a lot of misperceptions about human rights, about myself, about democracy so I would like to clarify in a very very frank manner because it is leading to lot of aspersions, lot of insinuations. What are the West’s concerns, I would like to take each one of them and give my views on them. Number one, the judicial crisis, the sacking of the Chief Justice of Pakistan that is a concern of many, that is a concern with every one human rights organizations, lot of people talking of. Ladies and gentlemen, this was not a human rights issue. It was very much a legal issue which was converted into a political issue being further converted into a crisis for the nation. What would you do if the Chief Justice of any country is corrupt, is politicized, is nepotistic and I mean every word of it because this was the observation that the Prime Minister had and in the form of a reference, he sends a reference against the Chief Justice to the President and this strictly according to the constitution of Pakistan and nobody being above the law required that if there is a complaint against a judge or the Chief Justice, there is a forum called to Supreme Judicial Council. You can send the reference to the Supreme Judicial Council and this is exactly what was done strictly according to the law of the land and the constitution of Pakistan. But what followed was unfortunate, what followed was activism, judicial activism by some judges followers of that very Chief Justice who took the case away from the Supreme Judicial Council into a bench of the Supreme Court, most unconstitutional and then gave a decision totally negating setting aside the Supreme Judicial Council, the constitutional body and also then not even considering the reference against the Chief Justice and rejecting it. However, in a mode of reconciliation we accepted this, I accepted it openly on the television but unfortunately the confrontation continued and it reached a stage of such a serious situation that the government was almost semi-paralyzed, that the law enforcement agencies got demoralized and because the government was paralyzed, the extremists and terrorists started raising their heads, they came into the settled districts, the incidents of suicide bombing increased because they saw the government to be weak. The sovereignty of the parliament was negated. 5

The parliament elected me with a fifty seven per cent vote but this very Supreme Court with the same Chief Justice decided not to allow its notification to be issued. And not only that he formed a bench of seven members, he saw the seven members may give a judgment in my favour, he made this into a nine member bench, he found that may be again this may be favorable; he turned into an eleven member bench. And after that you may laugh at one thing instead of deciding on such a critical issue which was delaying the democratic transition because we are to go on for the national and provincial elections after that. They postponed the settled date for hearing on the plea that one of the members of the bench whose daughter was to get married so therefore they gave a one week delay in the judgment. Now this was the condition which I faced which the nation faced. And I would like to ask you what would you now, under such extra ordinary situation, how would you handle it where the nation got demoralized and despondent and our economy which was at an upsurge, stalled. And it pained me to see that may be it turns down. What do we do, should we carry on, let this activism by some individuals carry on to bring the nation to harm the nation or do we consider this extra ordinary situation requiring extra ordinary measures. I took it that extra ordinary measures were required and therefore I did, I did declare an emergency to correct the situation and we corrected this situation.

The derailed democracy was put back on track and the elections were supposed to be held on eighth January, unfortunately the assassination of Benazir Bhutto which further delayed the issue and it is to be held on 18th February. This was one of the issues that you are concerned that the West seems concerned. The other concern is about the election itself whether they will be held at all aspersions being called that I am not serious about it last minute may be I am going to switch and they would not be held, may be they are going to be totally rigged. I leave this as in case any one asks a question and all I want to say the elections will be free, fair, transparent and peaceful. The system inherently is fair and I will give out the system whenever any one asks. Whatever bugs remain in the system that it could be manipulated, have been removed by me and my government and I challenge any one to find out what bugs there were and I would ask any one to give me how they can be rigged. And if anyone gives me any suggestion I would be too glad to pass it on to the Chief Election Commissioner for implementation. The third area of concern is your nuclear safeguard. People thinking that our nuclear assets are unsafe. Again I leave it to the Q & A but let me just make one point that we have multi-layered custodial controls. The development is under a secretariat called Strategic Planning Division very elaborate Secretariat, controls all development, finances, security every thing and the handling of the assets that we have is under a force called Strategic Army’s Strategic Force Command. It has a strength of about twelve fifteen thousand people. It is like a corps with a Lt. General, two Major Generals underneath, under the Major General, Brigadiers and under-Brigadiers regiments. So they are totally under custodial control and there is no possibility of their falling in any extremist/terrorists’ hands.

The war on terror is another aspersion that has caused on us that we do not have our heart in it, that we are double crossing may be, may be our intelligence has some elements inside which is not in line with us, may be our army is not in line with the government, there are some people who are 6

thinking differently. Number one, ladies and gentlemen, please understand that we are not doing this for anyone, we are doing this for ourselves, for Pakistan and I believe that why would we not be serious when we think terrorism and extremism and these obscurantist views of Taliban and obscurantist views of our religion is not what Pakistan wants and not what people of Pakistan want. So we want to fight this ourselves. We are not doing any one a favour. So we are very serious about it. And may I say that we are the only country in the world may be which has strategized on how to deal with all aspects confronting us which is number one Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda are foreigners, they need to be dealt with a different manner. Number two- Taliban they are our own people, they need to be dealt in a different manner. And number three Extremism, extremism prompts terrorism, it is a state of mind. It has to be dealt with in a totally different manner. We have strategized for each one of them and we are following a multi-pronged strategy of military use, military action, and force, political and socio-economic. I will take any question if at all you want to later. These were the issues on Benazir’s assassination, a lot of insinuations going on, may be the government is complicit may be I am, may be the intelligence agencies are, we confuse every issue unfortunately within our country and then it is taken up by media elsewhere.

We are very clear we want to know how she was assassinated and we want to know who did it. We invited Scotland Yard because we thought there may be some weaknesses in our forensic capabilities and our technical capabilities. So any talk of United Nations Commissions and all that, we are a sovereign country, we have resources, we have organizations, we have institutions, why should we allow any one else coming in to investigate. If we see our weakness, we will indeed invite any one. So that is all that I have to say ladies and gentlemen. Last remark that I want to make is Pakistan is on the forefront fighting terrorism and extremism again like we did in 79 to 89 when we were in the forefront fighting the Soviets. We are in the forefront fighting terrorism and extremism. Our success is critical, we have to win because if we lose I think it will have an impact on the region and the world, may be in the streets of Europe. So therefore, we have to be together and we have to reinforce each other and courage each other, support each other instead of criticizing and insinuating. The support that we would require may be in the long term perspective and I keep telling this every where. We have to get to the core and core is poverty and illiteracy and that is where we need assistance. When I talk of market access into the European Union, when I am going around asking for investments coming into Pakistan, it gets translated into new jobs, unemployment reduction, it is poverty alleviation. That is the core of fighting terrorism and extremism. So please help us to do that. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.


We have a little time for Question and Answer and let me remind every body of the rules for this we need a microphone if one asks for a question and please keep a question brief and it will be helpful if you identify yourselves when you ask the question, we will get through as many as we can, Mr. President has kindly agreed to stay for questions and to deal with as many as we have time to fit in. Who like to begin?

Mr. President Mark Urban from the BBC from News Night, there is a widespread suspicion that the elections on 18th of February will not be free and fair, Amnesty International saying it again all the opposition parties saying it, what can you do in this short period of time to imbue those elections with greater credibility and is it the case that only in fact you being banished from political power, might do that?

Moderator (?) (Laughingly, I suspect you expected that one really)

MUSHARRAF (laughingly, I expected it to be the first question. First of all you must know that we have introduced a system as I said we have removed the bugs. We have installed a caretaker government. It was never there before. Number two, we thought there is a problem, our people said there is gerrymandering in the delimitation of constituencies, and we have not allowed that. There has been no delimitation of constituencies. Number three, people talk of ghost polling stations. We have notified the Election Commissioner has notified all the polling stations and they are on the internet for you to see them. Number four the electoral rolls, there were people used to say there is manipulation there. The electoral rolls have been notified and they are again on the internet for everyone to see. Then there was an issue which always opposition raised that when the results come to the returning officers where all result from polling stations come of a constituency and they get consolidated it and sent to the Election Commission for declaration, there is fraud in between. That has been finished through a law by us that returning officer will declare the results right there to the agent of the candidate or to the candidate, the result will be given – removed. Then at the lowest level of the Presiding Officer, there are polling agents sitting of every candidate right there inside the room. They see the ballot box empty, they see it sealed, they see each one casting ballot there inside and the counting is done in front of their eyes. That is and the result is posted. So this is the system. I would like to ask any organization please instead of just saying that it will be manipulated, it will be rigged, give me what you exactly mean, let us correct it. What more do you think I can do what more do you think the Election Commission can do? Please tell us but I have until now having in given interviews to so many people and heard this question, nobody coming and telling me that this is the way you are going to rig it. So please tell me how we are going to rig it. So I really I mean what else said what other satisfaction can I give. It is beyond my imagination. Please help me. 8

Moderator: Thank you Mr. President, I think it is a very important statement and an important invitation.

MUSHARRAF: And we have invited observers from outside; European Union observers are there. Thank you President.

Tim Marshal from Sky News: Welcome to the UK, Mr. President, you guaranteed to my colleague that the elections will be free and fair. Can you guarantee they will take place on February the 18th and also how long you intend to be President after that?

MUSHARRAF: You give me a certificate I will sign it.

Joison Hour (from the Institute): Mr. President, you mentioned a number of times how western governments supported Pakistan and then dropped Pakistan whenever it suited them or the history changed or the mood changed. Are we facing something similar now I mean you mentioned that your country is sovereign and it will sort out its problems internally in its own capacity. But then there was the involvement of the Americans and the British in bringing Mrs. Bhutto back, there was your negotiations in Saudi Arabia on the return of Mr. Nawaz Sharif so there is an international involvement. Is it helpful to you or not.

MUSHARRAF; First of all let me clarify when you said whenever they came, they have distrust, no sir, I have spoken about one element in 1989 that we were strategic ally and we were ditched in 1989 and sanctions imposed on us, for all those twelve years, yes we were ditched at that time and I said that that is the feeling of the men in the street. The anti-US feeling in the man in the street is because of that because they held back F-16s having taken the money and a lot of things that followed. So indeed we were ditched. But when we are talking of the other incidents now, now when the United States is back that frankly at that time the strategic focus of the world and the West and the pause that be was Euro Centric because the cold war, East, West etc. were involved, Germany reunification, now the strategic focus is indeed in that side again because of the Middle East because the flash point, nuclear flash point between India and Pakistan and Afghanistan and Iraq and Iran so therefore the strategic focus is back there. I do not think it would be in their interest to ditch us now. They cannot because the strategic focus is there now. And the other thing when you talk of the other issues of political, that is not this is not a strategic issue, these are tactical issues that you are mentioning. It was in our interest that we should have a political reconciliation and political because we thought we are into an election year, we are going to have elections and Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are leaders of certain parties. Benazir Bhutto went on her own. So yes indeed there may have been some background facilitation in that. But I would not call that or that significance of ditching etc that you are talking of that is strategically, these were tactical issues. Many things happen but on the whole in the region there is total cooperation between US forces, between the ISAF forces on ground, strategic cooperation, coordination and tactical cooperation and intelligence cooperation. So therefore, we are moving in a direction with this cooperation but when we talk of any body coming into Pakistan on the ground, forces coming into Pakistan no sir that 9

is that is not taken well in Pakistan at all. That is where we say we would like to do every thing ourselves, we have a force ourselves. Whatever assistance we need, we will ask for it.

David Abraham, member of the Institute, I just like to ask you on Foreign Affairs, how do you see your relationship developing with America and also with China in the future?

Musharraf: “We have developed with the United States a broad-based relationship and long term relationship – both. It looks after all segments of assistance and it is going very well except as I said because of what happened between 89 and 2001 while the government’s policies and the government cooperation is there and the relationship at the government level is good we need to improve the relationship or attitude at the peoples’ level. That needs to be improved because of what as I said what happened between 89 and 2001. Our relations with China have been very strong always. May I say here that this relationship contributed towards improvement or opening of relations between China and the United States. Mr. Henry Kissinger on 6 July 1971 went to China through facilitation by Pakistan, he flew from Pakistan in a Pakistan International Airlines flight and that was the time when there was a tussle between radicals and pragmatists in China and for this facilitation by Pakistan that the pragmatists gained ground, had this not happened, may be the cold war would have lasted much longer and may I also add another too, I am talking about it, at the end of this meeting Mr. Chou Enlai told Mr. Henry Kissinger and I asked Mr. Henry Kissinger and he confirmed it. He (Chou) said please never forget the bridge that facilitated this interaction and that was Pakistan and may I add here, in some disappointment, this bridge was forgotten in the 1990s. We are trying to get back to that relationship now.”

The Times representative: Can I ask you specifically about the offer of the US Secretary of Defence last night to send American troops into Waziristan to fight with Pakistani troops. Is there something you could consider accepting?

Musharraf: No, let me answer this, lady, this comes up so many times, it has a military element; it has a political element to it. On the military side let me say that I don’t know why there are people who think that may be the US forces have with some kind of a magic wand and they will come and set everything right and go back. Please understand that they have their hands full in Afghanistan, they need more force in Afghanistan. I can’t imagine their coming into Pakistan, they will dilute in Afghanistan, so please handle Afghanistan first of all. The environment in the tribal agencies of Pakistan in South and North may be is more inhospitable than Afghanistan, so please don’t get American troops bogged down without understanding the environment, this is the military side. The other side is political. The man in the street in Pakistan does not want any foreign intrusion into Pakistan. It is an issue of sovereignty of our country and the United States and any one who says, talks of that, must understand the sensitivity of the man in the street. So I don’t think this is possible at all that any foreign forces will be allowed into Pakistan. It is militarily unwise and politically, I don’t think, it is acceptable to the people of Pakistan.” 10

CNN Representative: How you express that Secretary Gate recently directly and CNN has learnt there are plans on the drawing table to perhaps train Pakistani troops, if US forces training Pakistani troops, would you accept that?

Musharraf: “Yes, indeed, we have a lot of training collaboration with the United States, we always had it for fifty years in the past, it broke down in those twelve years, now we have a number of courses, their officers coming to Pakistan in our institutions, they are military institutions and study there, a lot of officers go out there, we have total intelligence cooperation because this fight against Al-Qaeda more than operation is the intelligence, intelligence is more difficult, once you acquire a target, hitting the target is not as difficult as to acquire the target, so there is total intelligence coordination and cooperation.”

Another questioner (without introduction) There has been a lot of talk in Washington about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, talk about contingency plans and in a recent debate, Hillary Clinton talked about the idea of sharing security for Pakistan’s arsenal, what your reaction to that kind of talk?

Musharraf: “Very negative. Please understand that this is our sensitivity. I mean I would be foolish as the President of Pakistan if I accepted any kind of foreign people coming in and intruding into our nuclear arsenal, we guard it very jealously and it is in the minds and hearts of every individual Pakistani even in the most illiterate man and when you talk of any prospective candidate talking about, it is different when you are running a government and when you get intelligence brief every morning and when you don’t know those things and you are talking because you have a lack of information. We cannot allow anybody, any intrusion into our nuclear or strategic assets. All that we have done is we have established custodial controls in accordance with the best international practices and this is, I feel, the only way that these could be endangered are two. I can’t see anything else, No.1 that this Al-Qaeda or terrorists or whatever militant Taliban get so strong that they defeat the Pakistan army and No.2 that they politically get so strong that they win in these elections in the coming elections. I think the possibility of any one of them is zero, multiplied by zero and divided by zero.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: