Posted by: Administrator | 4 December, 2009

President Musharraf at Elon University

Former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf gives Convocation speech

As he explored the misconceptions that exist between the West and the Islamic world, Pervez Musharraf, the former president of Pakistan who was a key U.S. ally in its fight against the Taliban, shared his observations with students, faculty and the community on Tuesday afternoon as the keynote speaker for Fall Convocation inside Alumni Gym.

E-net! image (see caption if available) “Terrorism is a symptom,” said former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. “The issues are the cause (of that violence).”

The Oct. 12, 2010, talk included a brief history lesson on the rise of Islam, the geopolitical events of the past two centuries that have created deep tensions toward the West, and what can be done to help heal some of those rifts. “As far as I’m concerned, there’s never been a dull moment over the past 10 years,” Musharraf said of events since Sept. 11, 2001.

During his eight-year term, Musharraf championed the security and political future of his nation with high stakes for the world at large. Earlier this month he announced plans to create a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, as part of an effort to return to power and to foster a stronger democratic culture.

His Convocation remarks, while largely historical in nature, reflected his belief that the Muslim world and the West still have a ways to go in better understanding each other.

The West, he said, views Muslims as nothing more than extremists and terrorists. Meanwhile, many millions of Muslims live in places that should have “all the ingredients” of progressive states, but their nations are in severe debt, education and literacy are in short supply, and areas are “socially backward.”

That allows the actions of a few fundamentalists to taint the image of Islam, he said. Muslims thus are profiled by Westerners who don’t recognize political frustrations that are what drive the violence. “Terrorism is a symptom,” he said. “The issues are the cause.”

Musharraf also pointed the regional conflicts in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Kashmir and elsewhere as flashpoints of resentment for Muslims. He said the West’s responses to those conflicts, and in some instances its indifference, soured millions of people on the United States and its allies.

“In all these, the Muslims have been at the receiving end,” he said of the conflicts. “This resulted in anger and alienation in the Muslim world, in the masses of the people.”

The U.S. presence, the drone attacks and cross border attacks, even if they are targeting the Taliban, are not acceptable to the people of Pakistan

In a word of caution to the United States, Musharraf said that recent cross-border attacks and drone attacks in Pakistan by American forces chasing terrorists is angering the Pakistani population. “The U.S. presence, the drone attacks and cross border attacks, even if they are targeting the Taliban, are not acceptable to the people of Pakistan,” he said.

Musharraf rose through the ranks of the Pakistani army and served as Pakistan’s chief executive before assuming the presidency in 2001 at a time of growing Muslim militancy.

A proponent of democracy, Musharraf set out to transform Pakistan into a progressive, moderate and prosperous Islamic state. He restructured the country’s political system to empower citizens at the grassroots level through a new local government system. He also ensured the presence of women in parliament and allowed electronic and print media to operate independently of the government.

Following the 9/11 attacks and throughout the seven years he remained in power, Musharraf became one of America’s chief allies in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. He rooted out militants in his own government and helped direct countless raids against al-Qaeda that resulted in the apprehension of more than 670 al-Qaeda members.

Believing holistic change was needed, Musharraf developed a strategy of enlightened moderation to bring harmony to troubled regions in the Middle East, a concept that was later adopted by the Islamic World for Enlightened Moderation. Since leaving the presidency in 2008 under pressure from Pakistan’s newly elected coalition government, Musharraf has traveled the world encouraging understanding of his country’s fight against extremism and its critical role in the war on terror.

 He has also written a memoir, In the Line of Fire, which gives a firsthand view of the war on terror and chronicles his struggles for the security and political future of Pakistan.

Following Convocation, Musharraf met briefly with Toorialey Fazly, a first-year student from Afghanistan who was the victim of a hit-and-run vehicle accident in September that left him with a spinal injury. Musharraf wished Fazly well for a quick recovery.

The former president will be speaking Oct. 13 during a question-and-answer forum in Whitley Auditorium at 11:30 a.m.

 

Political Science students probe Musharraf’s opinions in special class session

 

Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf talked about the qualities of leadership, the conflict in the Middle East and many other topics during an intense one-hour class session with International Relations students on Oct. 13.

 Pervez Musharraf talks with Elon international relations students on Oct. 13

Members of the  class, led by Jason Kirk, assistant professor of political science, had the opportunity to question Musharraf about a variety of issues. In comments about the qualities of effective leadership, he said that leaders must have sincerity, flexibility and courage to take bold actions. He said that two-thirds of decision-making is calculation, analysis and data-gathering, with the other one-third being a leap of faith. Good leaders know when they have enough information to act, Musharraff maintains.

He said leaders must also know when to go against public opinion, and said the United States faces that situation now in South Asia, amid rising calls for withdrawal of American armed forces. Musharraf says the public is wrong on that issue, and said that U.S. citizens need to be convinced that our nation’s withdrawal from the region could be a major blunder.

“What could happen if we were to leave an unstable Afghanistan – militarily, politically unstable?” Musharraf asked.

In comments on Muslim nations and others in the developing world, Musharraf called for a long-term view as those societies transform from rural and agrarian to modern and progressive. He said there is a culture clash in many nations as rural villagers move to cities.

“These rural people are less educated, they are not exposed to the world and they are much more backward than the urban minority,” Musharraf said. “The West needs to understand this … don’t be impatient, societies don’t change in ten years, they change in a hundred years.”

Some students in the class were surprised by Musharraf’s confidence and his willingness to treat them as equals and answer their questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.

“I was really interested in how he was discussing the sense of turmoil that would be left if the U.S. pulls out troops in 2011,” said first-year student Annie Clabby. “We would just be leaving another mess for them to clean up.”

Pervez Musharraf caps visit to Elon with news conference and Q&A

In a news conference followed by a Q&A with Elon University students, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf discussed on Wednesday his vision for the future of his nation, the need for the United States to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan, and how economic development in the Muslim world is critical for reducing terrorism and extremism around the globe.

 During an Oct. 13, 2010, news conference on campus, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf discussed Afghanistan, the recent floods in Pakistan, and why he feels the time is right to re-enter politics.

The second day of Musharraf’s visit to campus also included a discussion with students in an international relations class led by assistant professor Jason Kirk. Musharraf then spoke with media during a news conference in the Alamance building, followed by a Q&A with students in Whitley Auditorium.

The Wednesday events came after his keynote address during Fall Convocation one day earlier. It afforded students and reporters an opportunity to ask questions to Musharraf about his remarks during Convocation, as well as to inquire about his goals for forming a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League, which may serve as a lever for his ultimate return to politics there.

In several instances on Wednesday, Musharraf criticized the current Pakistani government as not responding to the needs of the people, and for allowing the country’s economic growth to falter. He cited the recent floods in Pakistan – and the massive losses of home and livestock – as just one example of how the leaders there today lack the resources and know-how to address domestic concerns.

A self-described proponent of democracy, Musharraf set out to transform Pakistan into a progressive, moderate and prosperous Islamic state. During his tenure, he restructured the country’s political system to empower citizens at the grassroots level through a new local government system.

E-net! image (see caption if available) Assistant professor Jason Kirk (right) moderated a Q&A in Whitley Auditorium on Oct. 13, 2010, between Musharraf and Elon University students.

“Everything has been tried,” Musharraf said in the Whitley Q&A, citing the need to have a government that answers to its people, though with a caveat. “Democracy is the answer. But don’t let democracy bring the country down, because the country is more important than democracy.”

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Responses

  1. Musharaf, rightly says don’t let the democracy to destroy the country !


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