Archive for September, 2009

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Musharraf: More Troops in Afghanistan

September 25, 2009
By CHRIS CUOMO, CHRIS STRATHMANN and KATE McCARTHY [ABC News]

President Musharraf - The Hope for Progressive PakistanFormer Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf said that President Obama should have complied “yesterday” with Gen. Stanley A. McChyrstal’s recommendation to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

“I think you should take it immediately. You should have taken it yesterday,” Musharraf told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

Musharraf made his comments following the leak of McChrystal’s security assessment that called for additional U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan. In the assessment, McChrystal said more troops alone cannot achieve success “but will enable implementation of the new strategy. Conversely, inadequate resources will likely result in failure.”

In February, Obama authorized an additional 21,000 troops be deployed to Afghanistan and now he must decide if the situation requires even more.

Musharraf said he “absolutely” believes there need to be more troops in Afghanistan.

Sending more troops could also mean an increase in casualties, something Musharraf says the United States should be prepared for.

“We must avoid, as much as possible, casualties. But when soldiers move and armies act, casualties will be there, and we should accept casualties,” Musharraf said.

“We have to win,” the former general said. “And quitting is not an option.”

Musharraf even proposed what he called a “drastic” measure to secure the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“As far as I’m concerned, we should mine it so that people can’t go across,” Musharraf said.

While he acknowledged that mines are a controversial weapon, Musharraf argued that it is an “unusual war.”

Musharraf dismissed Afghanistan’s long history of defeating foreign armies, including the Soviet army in the 1980s.

“There’s always a first time,” Musharraf said.

He argued the United States could succeed where the Soviets failed because “the whole world” was helping insurgents fight the Soviets.

At another point, the former Pakistani general said, “It was you who invaded and came into Afghanistan, so you better face it now and win there.”

When asked what the consequences would be if the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, Musharraf said it would result in destabilizing Afghanistan. He said the country would become the center of all al Qaeda “sanctuaries” and consequently could extend its influence into Pakistan and possibly even India.

Musharraf said he believes Obama has “intentions of improvement” since taking office.

“He’s saying the right things. He wants to focus more on Afghanistan, compared to Iraq, which is the right strategy at this moment,” Musharraf said. “He wants to reach out to the Muslims.”

Musharraf added that “we need to see [results] on ground.

Returning to Pakistan

Musharraf came to power in 1999 following a military coup and resigned in 2008 amid threats of impeachment after he removed a Supreme Court judge from the bench and imposed emergency rule on the country.

The former president said he “will return to Pakistan” despite the possibility of facing trial as soon as he sets foot in the country.

“Well, these are realities which one has to face. But however, I am very sure of one thing — that whatever I have done till now, constitutionally and legally, there is no charge against me,” Musharraf said.

When asked if he would try to return to power, Musharraf would not answer the question directly.

“Well, I give thought to what is happening in Pakistan. And I give thought to what the people of Pakistan are desiring, and I also give thought to whether I can do anything for Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “Collectively, I have to make a decision based on all these three elements.”

The former general, who is currently living in exile in London, is prohibited by law from running for political office until this December, two years after he took off his military uniform.

Should Musharraf decide to return to politics, he likely would face Nawaz Sharif, a political opponent and someone the former president called “abrasive” and confrontational.

“He has never been on good terms with any president of Pakistan, so I don’t know what kind of a mental make-up he has. But the man is abrasive against the other power brokers of Pakistan,” Musharraf said.

The former general even went so far as to call Sharif a “closet Taliban.”

“Even on Pakistan television these days, talk shows are going on saying that he has met Osama bin Laden five times — five times before 9/11 — and he has been financed by Osama bin Laden,” Musharraf said. “Then the other element is that he never speaks against terrorism and extremism.”

But when pressed for proof of Sharif’s meetings with bin Laden, Musharraf said he personally could not offer any.

“No, I can’t do that, but there are certainly there are people who vouch for it, who were present there,” Musharraf said.

Source: ABC News

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Danger for Pakistan, India if US quits Afghanistan: Musharraf

September 25, 2009

* Washington must immediately send more troops to Afghanistan, be ready for casualties
* Calls Nawaz ‘closet Taliban’, says PML-N chief never speaks against terrorism, extremism

Daily Times Monitor

President MusharrafLAHORE: Pakistan and India will face great danger from Al Qaeda if the United States pulls out of Afghanistan, former president Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Musharraf said a US pullout would result in an unstable Afghanistan.

“The country [Afghanistan] will become the centre of all Al Qaeda sanctuaries and consequently could extend its influence into Pakistan and possibly even India,” Musharraf said.

Troops: To a question on the US consideration of sending more troops to Afghanistan, he said US President Obama should have complied with Gen Stanley McChyrstal’s recommendation “yesterday”. “I think you should take it immediately. You should have taken it yesterday,” Musharraf said.

Musharraf said he “absolutely” believed there needed to be more troops in Afghanistan. But he said sending more troops could mean an increase in casualties, something the US should be prepared for.

“We must avoid casualties, as much as possible. But when soldiers move and armies act, casualties will be there, and we should accept casualties,” he said.

He said the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be mined, a proposition he termed “drastic”.

“As far as I’m concerned, we should mine it so that people can’t go across,” Musharraf said.

He called PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif “abrasive” and confrontational.

“He has never been on good terms with any president of Pakistan,” he said, adding that Nawaz was a “closet Taliban”.

“Even on Pakistan Television these days, talk shows are going on saying that he has met Osama Bin Laden five times – five times before 9/11 – and he has been financed by Osama,” Musharraf said. “Then the other element is that he never speaks against terrorism and extremism.”

Source: Daily Times

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Musharraf reflects on Pakistan’s past

September 24, 2009

Alexandra Ulmer and Suzannah Weiss, Senior Staff Writers

Photo: Sydney Ember / HeraldFormer president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf said India poses an “existential threat” to Pakistan to a packed Salomon 101 Tuesday night. His wide-ranging speech touched on nuclear proliferation, the Talibanization of Afghanistan and the challenges of leadership.

The crowd of students and faculty who came to see the political leader speak overflowed into Sayles Hall, where a simulcast of the speech was screened.

Musharraf, who took office after a coup in 1999 and led Pakistan until he resigned in August 2008, spoke for about 45 minutes. A question-and-answer session moderated by Associate Professor of International Relations Nina Tannenwald followed.

Flanked by the Pakistani and American flags, Musharraf greeted the crowd — which included a reporter from Pakistan’s 24-hour news channel, News One — with a military salute.

He then delved into an overview of Pakistan’s recent history and its relations with bordering countries and with the West. He also discussed threats posed by the region’s extremist groups.

The epicenter of terrorism — which Musharraf called one of the world’s prime challenges — is located in Pakistan and its neighboring countries, he said. Regionwide extremism requires a systemic, durable and multifaceted solution, he added.

“Don’t be stuck in the short-term solution,” he said. “Go for the root.”

Poverty and disparity drive extremism, he said, citing the alienation of Muslim youth in India and illiteracy in rural Afghanistan. “Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and extremism,” he added.

These issues require a broader approach than military action can provide, the former general said. “Military will not provide peace alone,” Musharraf said.

But Musharraf maintained that military force along the border with India remains crucial for Pakistan, which Musharraf said faces an “existential threat” from its neighbor.

Pakistan’s current forces — and nuclear arsenal — on the border are purely defensive, he said. Musharraf acknowledged the countries’ frayed relationship, adding that he has the “dubious distinction” of fighting two of the three wars between them.

Though the two countries came close to settling their disputes during his presidency, the relationship remains tense, he said.

“I am a man of war, but I am a man for peace,” Musharraf said, adding that he understands that war “ravages.”

“That’s why I am for peace,” he said.

In addition to instability, developmental problems abound in the region, said Musharraf, who drew laughter with his remarks about the jargon of economics.

“There is a tendency to complicate our economies,” he said, adding that he often reacts to economists with the question, “Why are you confusing me?”

Reflecting on his time as president, Musharraf addressed the qualities a leader embodies and the ways students can integrate these qualities into their careers.

Musharraf said the primary role of a Third World political leader is “to ensure the security, progress and development of the state for the well-being of the people.”

A leader can gain a following through fear, but it is better to be relatable to subordinates, he said, adding that “your people must love and respect you and never be scared of you.”

The lesson which he has drawn from years in power during the conflict between India and Pakistan, he said, is that “a compromise for the bigger has all the positive connotations.”

“Boldness to give,” Musharraf said, is the most important quality of a leader. “An agreement implies give and take. It cannot be take and take.”

Musharraf, whose speech ranged broadly, also drew laughter when he discussed the key components of good leadership near the end of his remarks. Glancing at his watch, Musharraf said, “I’ll skip the part about justice.”

As Tannenwald laid out the rules for the session — “If you feel the need to make a speech, please go afterward and blog later” — the screen in Sayles Hall focused in on Musharraf fanning himself with his folded notes, provoking laughter from students.

“I expect very frank questions and you should expect equally frank answers,” Musharraf said.

Sriram Subramanian asked Musharraf about the 1999 Kargil War in Kashmir, in which Musharraf commanded Pakistani forces. Musharraf acknowledged his role in that conflict but placed it in a wider context, listing India’s offensives against Pakistan.

“I didn’t expect to hear a complete admission of guilt,” Subramanian said afterward. “But he is the one who spearheaded the campaign … which turned out to be a diplomatic embarrassment for Pakistan.”

Sajjad Hasan, a Herald business staffer, asked Musharraf how he would advise an aspiring but politically unconnected politician on how to navigate Pakistan’s political arena, which he said has been dominated by the Bhutto and Sharif families for decades.

“The environment is certainly tribal and feudal,” Musharraf responded. “But the politics of Pakistan needs fresh blood.”

After the lecture, Asad Hassan, a student from Pakistan, said Musharraf successfully covered “the background of the problems we face at the moment.”

Still, Musharraf evaded a question about the Pakistani army’s involvement with the Taliban, Hassan said.

Before Musharraf spoke, Gulfam Khan, a cameraman for Pakistan’s News One, interviewed students waiting in line on the Main Green.

In addition to News One, Pakistan-based channels Geo and ARY will air the footage, Khan said.

“It’s nice to see just the people here to listen to Musharraf,” Gulfam said. “All the people lining up — he must be something.”

“It’s reassuring,” Melissa Dzenis said of the packed crowd, “that, in spite of all the chaos that is now in the international realm, there is an outpour of interest at Brown.”

— With additional reporting by Sydney Ember

Source: The Brown Daily Herald

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Pakistan needs Musharraf-EXCLUSIVE

September 15, 2009

Written by Mr. Ahmad Subhani

The then little known Pervez Musharraf, the Army Chief, emerged on the political horizon of Pakistan on October 12, 1999, by default, as circumstances forced him to take over the reins of the government The state of affairs prevalent at that time was extremely worrisome. Almost all state institutions had stood ruined. Economy, in particular, was in tatters—-Pakistan was on the verge of being declared a ‘ failed state’.

Since the year 1988, four notables of the country, who have held the reins of power are: Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari. Having gone through their tenures, a bird’s eye view account of their performance is given as under:–

Benazir and Zardari with Daphne BarakPPP leader, Benazir Bhutto, held the office of the prime minister twice—1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996. On both occasions, she was dismissed from office by the then Presidents on charges of corruption, mismanagement and incompetence. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also alleged, that Benazir had a close friendship with Rajev Gandhi; had links with RAW and she had betrayed the Sikh cause by providing names of important Sikh leaders to the Indian Govt. As per press reports, in accordance with her negotiated power sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf, she was granted amnesty and by virtue of NRO, all charges against her, including amassing of mammoth ill-gotten riches, were withdrawn. Unfortunately, she was assassinated soon after her return to Pakistan in December, 2007. The oft-repeated claim of PPP, including Benazir Bhutto, that they had promoted democracy in the country, is a complete hoax; she never conducted in-party elections—-nomination was the norm; she accepted life-Chairmanship of the party without any hesitation and in her “will”, she nominated her husband to be her successor, as if it was a dynastic rule. Democracy was thus confined merely to holding of general elections.

Nawaz SharifNawaz Sharif also held the post of the Prime Minister twice—-from 1990 to 1993 and from 1997 to 1999. In 1993, he was dismissed by the President on charges of corruption, nepotism and incompetence. In 1999, he was ousted by the then Army Chief Pervez Musharraf, when he tried to get rid of him by not allowing his plane to land anywhere in Pakistan Before that, Nawaz  got rid of former Army Chief, General Jahangir Kramat and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He has often claimed of having promoted democracy, independent judiciary and freedom of press in the country. His” love” for “freedom of judiciary, reminds us of the attack by his cronies and goons on the Supreme Court in1997-98, where his   case of misconduct  was being heard .He repeatedly  acted against the spirit of democracy  by  enacting oppressive laws like,  “Ehtisab Accountability Law” and “Anti terrorism Act”. He curbed press freedom by promulgating “Registration of Printing Press and Publication Ordinance 1977” Foreign Currency Accounts were frozen which  drastically undermined the domestic and foreigners’ confidence and led to withdrawal of 13 billion dollars from the FACS, in no time. All economic, social and security parameters had been relegated to their worst ever position.

Taking into consideration the period from 1988 to 1999, it is note-worthy that the “democratic” governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif held five elections during this period, but none of the governments could complete its term, mainly due the intolerance and undemocratic attitude of its leaders… Both the top leaders never accepted the results of the elections. Not only that, both of them accused each other of being “security risk” for the country. Under these trying circumstances, Pervez Musharraf assumed power on October 12, 1999 and as stated earlier, Pakistan was on the brink of disaster then. He accepted the challenge and with great effort and skilful handling, placed its derailed economy back on the track.

A leader is judged by what he delivers. Let us have an idea, what Pervez Musharraf has delivered in his 8-year stint in office. Pakistan economy grew by 100% to become $ 160 billion. Per Capita income grew by 100% to become $ 925. Foreign Reserves grew by 500 % to become $ 17 billion. Exports grew by 100% to become $ 18.5 billion. Direct Foreign Investment grew by 500% to become 8 billion. Poverty decreased by 10 % to become 24%.In 2006, Pakistan was the third fastest growing economy in the World and a preferred destination for investors. During his tenure, record number of projects were started and completed. Higher Education Sector budget that was mere Rs. 200 million in 1999, shot up to Rs.20 billion in 2007. During his tenure, Pakistan got out of IMF’s hold and its remarkable progress was acknowledged also by the World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank. Few adverse factors too came into play near to the end of his reign, due mainly to worldwide food inflation and constant rise in international oil prices. Lapses on the part of Administration also partly contributed to this fiasco since it failed to control hoarding and smuggling of food items. In aggregate, Musharraf has done much more for Pakistan than anyone else had done ever.

General Pervez Musharraf-Saviour of PakistanAs regards his personal qualities, those who know him from close quarters would affirm that as a person, he is honest, straightforward, tolerant and humble. As a ruler, he has exhibited sterling qualities such as, statesmanship, courage, patriotism and incorruptibility. This explains why he has accomplished so much in so little a time. In common parlance, he is called a dictator, yet viewed in the light of his ways of working and behaving, he is far more democratic than most of his so-called democratic adversaries. In fact, it is his democratic policies that have made him unpopular. For instance, he granted un-fettered freedom to the media but media used its new-found freedom in making Musharraf its foremost target. He is he is the only dictator, who has fulfilled the promises he made; shedding of uniform, lifting of emergency, holding of free and fair elections and unconditionally accepting results of the elections. At present, he is the only living Pakistani leader known the World-over and is held in high esteem. He speaks in unequivocal terms with conviction.

Certain allegations have been levelled against him by his opponents. Of these, Kargel War episode, Dr. Qadeer Khan’s case and participation in War on Terrorism have been dealt with, at length, by Pervez Musharraf in his speeches and memoirs (In the Line of Fire). In Lal Masjid’s case, action taken by the Govt. was unavoidable as no Govt. worth its name, could tolerate repeated violations of its writ by miscreants, who persistently indulged in unlawful and immoral activities. In Chief Justice I. M. Chaudhry’s case, reference against him was filed by Musharraf with the Supreme Judicial Council on charge of misconduct involving illegitimate favours extended to his son. The Supreme Court issued a short order dismissing the reference, but the detailed judgment is still awaited! The said case against the C.J., was mishandled and was fully exploited by the politicized lawyers who resorted to street agitation etc. The lawyers’ movement was high jacked by the Opposition, led by Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League. Nawab Akber Bughti’s murder was a simple case blown out of all proportion. He was killed in a military action when Govt. repelled his sponsored terrorist activity launched by his followers who were destroying national assets like, Sui gas installations, railway tracks, bridges etc. Promulgation of PCO and NRO in November, 2007, has also been objected to. As admitted by Pervez Musharraf himself, the PCO issued was unconstitutional, and was rescinded. As for NRO, this was a conciliatory gesture initiated by the President, which, in fact, enabled the present ruling parties’ heavy weights to return from their self imposed exile from abroad and participate in the ensuing elections, which they readily did.

Pervez Musharraf resigned on August 18, 2008 and the PPP Co- Chairman, Asif Ali Zardari took over.The newly elected PPP Govt. has been in place for the last more than an year and a half. Its performance, under the custodianship of Zardari, can best be described as unmitigated disaster. All economic indicators that had been made positive during Mushrraf’s regime have turned negative. The economy has deteriorated so fast and to such an extent, that Pakistan has been declared as one of the failed states of the World. Sky rocketing inflation, ever mounting unemployment, rapidly deteriorating law and order situation , never ending energy crisis—lately joined by flour and sugar crisis, have all rendered the life of the common man miserable. The change of Govt. has proved catastrophic for the nation. This abysmal down slide is the cumulative effect of rampant corruption, all pervading nepotism, gross incompetence and worst governance. It appears that the attention and energies of the ruling class are exclusively focused on grabbing more and more power and pelf through all conceivable means. In this mad race, they have sidelined the masses, who are now being fed on false promises. For a common man, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The “begging bowl”, that was broken during Musharraf’s reign, has been resurrected and the Govt.’s emissaries are roaming all over the World seeking aid from every Tom, Dick and Harry. What a reversal of fortunes indeed! President Zardari is himself leading the charade nonchalantly and unabashedly. Moreover, he has miserably failed to live up to the expectations of the nation in all spheres of national activity.

Pervez Musharraf has on many an occasion, opened up his mind saying, that Pakistan is his first priority. If it is so, won’t he take care of his forlorn baby? Everybody realizes that the gigantic task ahead for resurrecting the country’s  devastated economy and rehabilitating its crippled institutions, is a far more difficult and exacting job now than was the case in 1999, yet a devoted and determined statesman like him, I am sure, has the acumen and capability to meet the challenges coming ahead, undauntedly. He is the only ray of hope for this forsaken nation. I trust, he will respond to this clarion call, at the earliest possible. Wish him God speed.

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Musharraf to meet Obama in October

September 9, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009
By Mazhar Tufail

President Musharraf - The LeaderISLAMABAD: Former president Pervez Musharraf, who will be embarking on a 40-day visit to the United States on September 14, will meet US President Barack Obama in the third week of October, during his US lecture tour, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

He claimed the former president has been offered $300,000 per lecture by various American think tanks and other institutions. “Only former US president Bill Clinton is being paid as much for delivering a lecture and nobody else is being paid more than this amount,” said Chaudhry Fawwad, Advocate, a member of the legal team appointed by Musharraf to defend him in the Pakistani courts.

“The former president will deliver lectures in 17 American states.” Chaudhry Fawwad said Musharraf would deliver lectures on Pakistan’s national security, nuclear programme, future of Afghanistan and impact of the Afghan situation on Pakistan.

He said another topic of his lectures would be the role of Pakistan’s Army in the war against terrorism. The lawyer said a meeting of Musharraf with US President Barack Obama had been fixed for the third week of October.

He said during his stay in Washington DC, the former military ruler would also meet former US secretary of state Colin Powell, Senator John Kerry, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and heads of various US think tanks and lawmakers.

“Begum Sehba Musharraf and security staff will accompany the former president during his visit to the United States,” he added. Chaudhry Fawwad said on his way back, Musharraf would make a stopover in Abu Dhabi where leaders of all the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) factions — except the one led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif — would meet him.

He said during the meetings, the unification of all the PML factions would be discussed and efforts would be made to achieve this objective. “The former president is constantly in touch with PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. The PML-N conspired to cause further split in the PML-Q but its conspiracy has been foiled,” Chaudhry Fawwad said. “Chaudhry Shujaat will be appointed as president of the unified PML because, according to Musharraf, he is a sagacious and wise leader.”

Source: The News

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IN FAIRNESS TO PERVEZ MUSHARRAF

September 1, 2009

By Mr. Ahmad  Subhani

President Pervez MusharrafVisit any TV channel or go through the print media, the hot topic under discussion is Pervez Musharraf’s trial for breaching the Constitution. Most vocal in this campaign is Mian Nawaz Sharif and his coterie. The pertinent question that comes to mind is, that it was not the first time that it has happened, quite a few dignitaries before him had also done the same. Why then he is singled out for retribution?  Various platitudes have been put forward to justify this demand; yet the crux of the matter is that it is a simple case of personal vendetta mounted by Nawaz Sharif’s bruised ego against Pervez Musharraf who ousted him from power on October 12, 1999 when the plane bringing Musharraf from Sri Lanka was not allowed to land anywhere in Pakistan and plane’s crash was imminent since it had run short of fuel. However the tragedy was averted at the last moment by army’s intervention. This led to Musharraf taking over the reins of the Govt. They call it “coup”; in reality, it was a case of self-preservation or retaliation on the part of the wronged party (Musharraf). Had he not taken that step, Musharraf would have been eliminated from the scene, altogether.

Apart from above, certain other charges have also been levelled against Musharraf. Of these, Kargal war, Dr. Qadeer Khan’s case and participation in War on Terrorism have been dealt quite adequately by Musharraf in his speeches and statements and also in his memoirs (”In the Line of Fire”). I therefore need not touch said topics here. My considered view on the remaining important charges follows. Before proceeding further, I would like to affirm that those persons who know  him  from close quarters, would testify, that Musharraf is a truthful and straight forward man, therefore, there is no reason to doubt the veracity of events as described by him in his speeches/statements and memoirs.

In Lal Masjid’s case, action taken by the Govt. was unavoidable. Inmates of that Masjid, had repeatedly violated the law of the land through a series of illegal and immoral activities, thereby challenging the writ of the State. They were repeatedly warned to mend their ways, but to no avail. Besides creating serious law and order situation, their hooliganism was earning bad name for the country and it’s Govt., nationally and inter-nationally. Protracted negotiations carried out with the clerics of Lal Masjid proved futile owing to rigid and non- conciliatory attitude of the die- hard   mullahs. Govt. had to take action as a last resort as no other option was left.

In chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s case, a reference was filed by the President with the Supreme Judicial Council involving C.J.’s misconduct concerning illegitimate favours doled out to his son. The reference was in order legally but the case was not properly handled. The lapse provided the politicized lawyers an opportunity to resort to strike and indulge in street agitation and boycott the courts. The reference in question was turned down by a bench of the Supreme Court, but they failed to deliver a detailed judgement in support of their ruling in the case. This queer and uncharitable attitude of the Court is incomprehensible. The lawyers’ movement was soon high jacked by the Opposition, spearheaded by Muslim League (Nawaz).The event led to politicization of the legal community including the superior judiciary.

Other important allegations leveled against Pervez Musharraf are: promulgation of PCO and NRO in November, 2007. Issuance of PCO was un-constitutional and was admitted so by the President himself and was, later on rescinded. In respect of NRO, according to press reports, it was issued as a result of understanding reached between President Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto; but latter’s sudden assassination, torpedoed the whole scheme. The funny thing about said NRO is, that those who had criticized Musharraf before February,18 elections, for not allowing the self-exiled leaders to return and participate in elections, are now criticizing him for letting these failed politicians back (because of said NRO) , after seeing their disappointing performance from February, 18 onwards.

After having dwelt on the negative aspects related to the subject under review, let us now turn to its positive side;

When Pervez Musharraf took over in 1999, the economy of the country was in real bad shape, so much so, that the previous Govt. had gone to the extent of begging money from the masses under, ”Mulk Sawaro, Qarz Utaro” Scheme. However, there is no trace available, where all those donations disappeared. Foreign exchange reserves with the Govt., were hardly enough to pay for six weeks’ imports and the country was on the verge of being declared a failed state. Musharraf took up the challenge and managed the economy so deftly and speedily that within few years, Pakistan accumulated $ 16.7 billion reserves; exports exceeded $ 17 billion; home remittances by expatriates surged to 6 billion and there was no longer any dependence on international donors. In short, within a span of 7 years, Musharraf transformed the sagging economy of Pakistan into one of the most robust emerging economies of the region. It is agreed on all hands, that his foremost contribution to Pakistan is his economic reforms that brought remarkable stability to the country. Under his stewardship, record number of projects were started and completed. The I.T. and Communication Revolution, goes to his credit. Being a visionary, he brought about a revolution in the higher education sector where budget that was reeling at Rs. 200 million in 1999, touched a record ceiling of Rs. 20 billion in 2007. It is worth mentioning that during his tenure, Pakistan got rid of the I.M.F. and its rating improved considerably as also acknowledged by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. No doubt, certain imbalances also crept in at the far end of his tenure, due mainly to world-wide food inflation and constant rise in international oil prices and partly due to lapse on the part of our administration in controlling hoarding and smuggling of food items.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal, Chairman, C.M.C, in an interview (courtesy, Pakistan Observer, dated-23-9-2009), said, that he had interviewed Pervez Musharraf on his resuming office of the Chief Executive of Pakistan. He says that on the eve of his conducting the interview, he was told by the then Information Minister, Javed Jabbar, that there would be no advance briefing or questions. He was given free hand to ask whatever he wanted to, on any subject or issue. This was an amazing stance which made Jawaid Iqbal respect Musharraf immensely. He stated that those who know Musharraf personally, respect him for his statesmanship, conviction, nationalism and above all, his selflessness towards Pakistan. Jawaid further says that Musharraf has a charismatic personality, and courage to say “no” even at some of the most crucial junctures.

While Musharraf may be called a “dictator”, it is his democratic policies that have made the maximum contribution to his un–popularity. For instance, he gave the media its long awaited freedom. The media while using its unbridled freedom, found an easy target in a tolerant and democratic minded military ruler. The sold-out media that he opened up to show his dedication to the cause of democracy, chose him to be its favourite target. He is patriot to the core and is not corrupt like most politicians and previous rulers. He is a visionary leader and World acknowledges this fact. World’s top universities and fora invite him to deliver lectures at their venues. He has created a sense of patriotism in the country and his slogan “Pakistan First” is a clear manifestation of that. He is a tolerant person and believes in freedom of speech as duly exhibited by him during his tenure. His sterling qualities are; his humility and frankness. He has tackled national problems admirably.

At present, he is the only living Pakistani leader known the World over and is held in high esteem. He speaks in unequivocal terms and has the courage of conviction. He is the only “dictator” to have fulfilled his promises he made:–shedding of uniform, lifting of emergency, holding of free and fair elections and unconditional acceptance of election results. Unlike the past elections, no body has complained about “rigged” or” engineered” elections. He is also credited with setting up the freest media in Pakistan’s history. Lastly, he got himself elected under the same democratic rules that he gave his adversaries to come up through.

As elaborated above, Pervez Musharraf has done so much for Pakistan, as no body before him had done, rather he left each of them far behind. The irony is, how the nation has rewarded its benefactor. At a time, when Pakistan has reached a critical stage, in as much as, it has been declared one of the failed states of the World due to un-precedented melt down in its economy and dismal performance in other sectors, look at Nawaz Sharif, who is bent upon avenging his defeat at Musharraf’s hands unmindful of the fact that he himself was solely responsible for the dastardly act that he enacted on October 12, 1999. To-day, it seems that the entire political system is hostage to one man’s revenge. For the ruling junta, particularly Nawaz Sharif, there has been left no other problem to tackle except to persecute Pervez Musharraf. Prudence demands from all of us that we put aside our personal differences and acrimonies and unite, to face and overcome the grave challenges that the nation is facing, internally and externally. That seems to be the only way out of the present all encompassing crises, which is getting worse with each passing day.

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