Archive for November, 2009

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President Pervez Musharraf launches official Facebook Fan Page

November 22, 2009

Former President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf has recently launched his official Fan page at the world’s most famous social networking site www.Facebook.com

The official web adress is www.Facebook.com/PervezMusharraf . Given is his video message to his followers and supporters. He would answer the questions posted at the Discussion tab of the Fan page. Cheers for all the fans. \(^.^)/

The official web adress is http://www.Facebook.com/PervezMusharraf
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We would not abandon our benefactor

November 11, 2009

Tom Hussain, Foreign Correspondent

President MusharrafKARIMABAD, PAKISTAN – Chants rang across a polo ground in the hamlet of Karimabad, the capital of the idyllic valley of Hunza, Pakistan’s northernmost district and the likely setting for the mythical kingdom of Shangri-La.

With elections beckoning on Thursday in Gilgit-Baltistan, a sparsely populated region of former valley kingdoms nestled between Asia’s mighty Himalaya, Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountain ranges, hundreds of ethnic Hunzakut villagers had gathered on November 4 to voice support for their favoured politician.

“We were with you yesterday! We are still with you today!”, they shouted. But Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former president, the man they were calling to, was there only in spirit, his beaming portrait adorning dozens of posters and banners, beckoning to the attentive, well-behaved crowd with his military salute.

Reviled elsewhere in the country after eight years of unpopular military rule, culminating in his resignation in August 2008, he had departed Pakistan in July, ostensibly on a lecture tour of the West, and is now living in virtual exile in London.

He has vowed to return home “when the time is right”, but such bravado masks genuine fears that he could be sent to the gallows if he does – either for the 2006 killing in a military operation of Nawab Akbar Bugti, an insurgent Baloch tribal politician, or for staging the 1999 coup that brought him to power, an act of high treason according to a Supreme Court verdict delivered on July 31.

However, Mr Musharraf may, one day, find a home in Hunza where popular sentiment, as in the rest of Gilgit-Baltistan, is swayed by sectarian, ethnic and clan loyalties.

The region has evolved independently from the Pakistani hinterland, to which it is linked by a single road, the 1,300km Karakorum Highway, a stunning feat of engineering that took Chinese and Pakistani army engineers 12 years to build and was completed only in May 1978.

As an army officer who specialised in military strategy, Mr Musharraf recognised the geopolitical importance of Gilgit-Baltistan, which shares borders with China to the north, India to the east and Afghanistan to the west – something that made it a flashpoint of the “Great Game” in central Asia contested by czarist Russia and the British empire in the late 19th century.

To that end, Mr Musharraf wooed the people of the region with speeches in the native Shina and Burushaski languages, read from Roman scripts, gave legislative powers to the region’s elected assembly and held party-based elections.

He funded development projects, including the region’s first university, new motorways and power plants.

And, perhaps most importantly for the estimated 60,000 residents of Hunza, practically all of who are members of the Ismaili sect, followers of the Aga Khan, and fearful of militant Sunnis, he took on the Taliban.

“He is a man who delivered on the promises he made to us, and we are not so dishonourable that we would abandon our mohsin [benefactor],” said Karim Beg, a 24-year-old shopkeeper of Hyderabad village, speaking among chants of “Long live, President Musharraf!”

That sentiment may yet determine the outcome of the Hunza seat, but the symbolic vindication of a victory by Rai Rehmatullah Beg, the pro-Musharraf candidate, would still be tainted with irony.

Mr Beg is contesting as the nominated candidate of the Quaid faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, a party cobbled together by Mr Musharraf largely with the help of deserters from popular political parties before national elections in 2002.

However, after Mr Musharraf stepped down, the faction split in two, with the larger group, which is contesting the Gilgit-Baltistan election under the Quaid League banner, distancing itself from the former president in an attempt to gain political credibility.

That has not gone down well with voters in Hunza, whose loyalty to the Pakistan Muslim League predates the independence of Pakistan in 1947 because of the involvement of Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah, the then Aga Khan, in politicking to create a separate homeland for the Muslims of British-ruled India.

During the Karimabad rally, local politicians and the audience mocked unnamed politicians, calling them “selfish opportunists”, for abandoning Mr Musharraf with chanted pledges of loyalty for the former president.

Marvi Memon, the member of the federal parliament running the Quaid League campaign for the this week’s elections in Gilgit-Batistan, said the voters’ adverse reaction was a “wake-up call” for politicians who had vilified Mr Musharraf.

“I think this has proved that support for Mr Musharraf continues in many parts of Pakistan,” she said.

“Certain elements were responsible for creating a gulf between our party and Mr Musharraf.

“I am confident that, one day not too far from now, the party will realise it was hoodwinked, and will reunite with Mr Musharraf and emerge as a stronger political force than ever.”
Source: The National

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Interview with Pervez Musharraf

November 1, 2009

Read the Transcript
This text below is a phonetic transcript of a radio story broadcast by PRI’s THE WORLD. It has been created on deadline by a contractor for PRI. The transcript is included here to facilitate internet searches for audio content. Please report any transcribing errors to theworld@pri.org. This transcript may not be in its final form, and it may be updated. Please be aware that the authoritative record of material distributed by PRI’s THE WORLD is the program audio.

Pervez MusharrafMARCO WERMAN: Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan, is in the middle of a major military offensive against the Taliban. The Pakistani army is trying to take control of the militant stronghold of South Waziristan along the Afghan border. Army officials say 16 soldiers have died so far while more than 100 militants have been killed. Pakistan’s former president, General Pervez Musharraf is visiting the US right now and came to our studio. I asked him if the offensive in South Waziristan is the solution to Pakistan’s problems with the Taliban.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF: It’s not the solution but it’s one part of the solution. I’ve always said that solution lies in a triple directional strategy – military, political, and socio-economic. So the military part is being executed well after having dealt with Swat and [INDISCERNIBLE] they’ve now gone to South Waziristan. So I think it’s good – the using of concentrated force in a peace [INDISCERNIBLE] objective.

WERMAN: And do you think the operation Swat was effective?

MUSHARRAF: Yes I think it was successful.

WERMAN: But recently there were 40 killed in a suicide attack and so it raises the issue, it’s one thing to take a region; it’s another thing to hold it.

MUSHARRAF: Well even if you hold it that doesn’t mean that you can guarantee that no suicide attack will take place. I know that the law enforcement agency, the army’s opening a [INDISCERNIBLE] there. It will be there. So it will be held. But that doesn’t mean that no bullet will be fired by any terrorist. Because if a person is there to carry out a suicide attack it’s really very difficult to avoid it.

WERMAN: There’s been a slow steady drumbeat of Afghan officials along with NATO accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to stem the movement of militants sympathetic to al-Qaeda and the Taliban across the border into Afghanistan. Why has this offensive in South Waziristan taken so long and why didn’t you engage in an equally forceful offensive in the same area?

MUSHARRAF: It was I who moved the two divisions in North and South Waziristan back and I think immediately up to [INDISCERNIBLE]. Who has been catching all these al-Qaeda people? Who did that? It was in my time. Hundreds of them have been caught. So how do you say that we hadn’t operated? They are there since long and they have been operating there.

WERMAN: So why, again, why the need for another offensive? Why this upsurge in violence?

MUSHARRAF: Yeah it’s because all these eight years there has been an upsurge of Taliban activity. A Taliban who were finished after 9/11. They had an upsurge in Afghanistan. [PH] Mula Omar and all his [INDISCERNIBLE] are reestablished in Afghanistan in the same region from where they dominated or they controlled 90 percent of Afghanistan. So after 2004 – 05 there was an upsurge. We saw the downward trend in al-Qaeda because of Pakistan’s actions and an upward trend, swing, in the Taliban support. And therefore now the situation is al-Qaeda is down. Who did this? Obviously Pakistan forces operating in Pakistan, in [INDISCERNIBLE] and mountains. But the Taliban upsurge has come about in Afghanistan and that has a great impact in Pakistan because there are now Pakistani Taliban in South and North Waziristan much stronger links with across the border and they are acting. So this is now a different ballgame all together.

WERMAN: Now as a former military leader – I mean you were a military leader who came to power in a coup. You stepped down as head of the army in 2007. You recognized at the time the merit of a civilian government in Pakistan. Now in Afghanistan yesterday a runoff election was announced to take place on November 7th. What is at stake for Pakistan with this vote in Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: Well I don’t think it directly affects Pakistan.

WERMAN: You don’t?

MUSHARRAF: It does affect Afghanistan.

WERMAN: But what affects Afghanistan, affects Pakistan ultimately.

MUSHARRAF: Well yes indirectly, indirectly. I think one would require if we are to win in Afghanistan we have to have a credible, legitimate government in Afghanistan. And that is not the case. But Pakistan’s interest is in a legitimate, acceptable government to all the ethnic minorities of Afghanistan for the sake of Afghanistan because if we can have better peace in Afghanistan it will be of advantage to Pakistan certainly.

WERMAN: You’ve been quite critical of President Hamid Karzai. What happens, in your opinion, to the region if he is president again? If he wins this runoff election.

MUSHARRAF: Well I think I’ve been critical, yes, because of certain observations that I had in his criticizing Pakistan, in his supporting elements who are instrumental in carrying out terrorism in Baltistan. So there are certain things that I disagree with him. These were my observations and my accusations against him. So I used to criticize him on that. The other thing is that he used to throw the entire blame on Pakistan – that whatever is happening in Afghanistan is because of Pakistan. And I think the world must understand that this is absolutely the opposite. Whatever is happening in Pakistan is because of Afghanistan. The same [INDISCERNIBLE], the same Taliban, resurgence of that force in Afghanistan.

WERMAN: But in fact it’s very hard to say where these militants are coming from. They could be coming form Pakistan as well as Afghansitan. So both countries are in fact … .

MUSHARRAF: No they are coming … . No actually there’s no doubt at all. Absolutely. I have no doubt at all. Taliban under [INDISCERNIBLE] control 90% of Afghanistan. There is support to them in Pakistan. There are safe havens in Pakistan. And there are Taliban elements of Pakistan also. But if anyone thinks that they are all coming from Pakistan this is what the misperception that exists in Untied States and this misperception is fanned by people like President Karzai unfortunately. And this is misleading the world.

WERMAN: Pervez Musharraf, former president of Pakistan. Thank you very much for your time.

MUSHARRAF: Thank you.

WERMAN: Hear more about Pervez Musharraf’s current US visit and about his plans for a return to Pakistan at our website. You’ll also find a link to the former Pakistani leader’s newly launched Facebook page. It’s all at http://www.theworld.org

Copyright ©2009 PRI’s THE WORLD. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to PRI’s THE WORLD. This transcript may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior written permission. For further information, please email The World’s Permissions Coordinator at theworld@pri.org

Source: The World

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