Archive for December, 2009

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Pervez Musharraf on Facebook: Answering Your Top 3 Questions – II

December 27, 2009

Question: When are you returning to Pakistan? Will you consider forming your own Party or will you form an alliance with existing politicians?

Answer: One thing is for sure, that I will return to Pakistan. The timing however is of the essence. It is mainly dependent on the domestic environment. I have to see whether people vastly want me to return and also whether I can deliver. I have to work through the political and democratic process. Only grassroots support can enable me to carry out a programme and policy based on my vision for the future. So if this question is coming from someone who desires that this happen, it is really up to you to begin engaging. The youth who have been voicing this question and are the future custodians of Pakistan, have to get activated.

As far as forming a new Party or getting into an alliance is concerned, one has to be pragmatic. Existing politicians have their importance and a definite role to play. I have to generate direct public support to try something original. I do believe in a military maxim: “Never reinforce failure.”

Question: Why were such large amounts of bank loans written off? Does this not send the message to the citizenry that crime pays?

Answer: Absolutely correct, it should never be done. But who says I have written off a single loan of any rich or influential individual? Never have I done this.

I have, however, written off loans of the poor, especially those stricken by natural calamities. This was always done on a collective basis. Loans of the poor were written off in drought stricken areas of Baluchistan and Sindh in 2000, then of the earth quake affected in 2005, the flood affected of Baluchistan and Sindh in 2006 and as a part of agriculture reform package for the poor. It was always made sure that these special reliefs were not availed by well off individuals. I have never written off a single loan on an individual basis.

Any individuals who got loans written off have done so on their own, using their influence or other underhand means which must be investigated and action taken. This has never come to my knowledge, and I never took any decision to write off loans to benefit a single individual.

Question: Why did you handover Pakistanis to US for interrogation? In particular, why were Americans given access to an accomplished Pakistani citizen like Dr. Afia Siddiqui?

Answer: These are baseless allegations. Not a single Pakistani was handed over by me to the US or any foreign country. Those taken by US were captured in Afghanistan and not given to US. Our policy was clear:

  1. Pakistanis will be tried in Pakistan.
  2. Foreigners will be offered to their own countries first and in case of refusal (which was invariably the case), will be handed over to the US.

The facts about Dr Afia Siddiqui’s case are still unclear. I only heard her name through the media when the story of her arrest in Afghanistan became public.

Source: http://www.Facebook.com/PervezMusharraf

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QUAID-E-AZAM and HOLY QURAN

December 20, 2009

On the auspicious occasion of the oncoming birth anniversary of the Quaid-e –Azam, I am paying my humble tribute to the great leader by bringing into limelight his great attachment with and earnest consideration for Quranic injunctions that he so ardently advised Muslims to follow for their personal benefit as well as for the collective good of the Pakistani nation and Muslim Ummah. (Ahmed Subhani)

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The Quaid  once said that he was not a religious scholar, hence no authority on religious matters; yet views expressed by him on various occasions amply demonstrate, that he had deep in sight into Quranic concepts and teachings. Those who know him closely would vouchsafe that he was a perfectionist to the core and that he would never entertain any claim unless he was convinced of its legitimacy. Reproduced below are excerpts from his speeches to prove this point. This will also dispel the frivolous charge made by certain religious “heavy weights” who allege that since Jinnah was the product of western system of education, he was bereft of the true knowledge of Islam and its teachings:–

“I am not a ‘moulvi” nor do I claim to be an expert in theology. However, I have tried, at my own, to understand Quran and the Islamic laws. In the teachings of this great book there is guidance for each and every aspect of human life, may be it is spiritual, social, political or economical all have been covered by it”

(Address at the Usmania University, Hyderabad, India-1941).  “People criticize me alleging that I am not well acquainted with Islam. I. have studied Quran thoroughly and many a time. And when I declared that Islamic system would be established in Pakistan, It was not a mere slogan” (Tolu-e Islam-February,1959).

“You have requested me for giving you a message .What message can I give? For guidance and light, we all are blessed with Quran’s loftiest message” (Frontier Muslim Students Conference—April, 1943).

During struggle for Pakistan when Muslims were facing great hardships and victimization at the hands of Hindus and their allies ,Quaid comforted them saying that ultimate success would be theirs if they only sought guidance from the Quran:–“ At present, a battle is going on between the Muslims and the Hindus in the political arena. People ask me as to who is going to be the winner?  Only God knows about it. However, as a Muslim I can assure that if we treat the Holy Quran as our final and absolute guide and persevere not forgetting at the same time God’s command that all Muslims are brothers to one another, no earthly power or even their combine, can defeat us” ( Address at a  meeting in Hyderabad ,Deccan—July,1946). “ We have been the victim of a deeply laid and well-planned conspiracy…..We thank Providence for giving us courage and faith to fight these forces of evil. If we take our inspiration and guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours.”(Speech at a rally at the University Stadium,Lahore-October,1947).

According to the great Quaid, Holy Quran is the “sheet anchor of Islam and fundamental code of life for Muslims “What is it that keeps the Muslims united, and what is bedrock and sheet anchor of the community. It is Islam. It is the great book Quran that is the sheet anchor of Muslim India.” (Speech at ALL India Muslim League Session, Karachi-26-12-1943). “Every Musalman knows that the injunctions of the Quran, are not confined to religious and moral duties. From the Atlantic to the Ganges, Quran is acknowledged as the fundamental code, not only of theology, but of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and the laws which regulate the actions of mankind are governed by the immutable sanctions of the Will of God. Everyone except those who are ignorant knows that Quran is the general code of Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial criminal penal code, it regulates everything…. .And our Prophet has enjoined on us, that every Musalman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore, Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collectively and individually.” ( Eid Message to the Nation—September,1945).

Elaborating the role of the Quran and the Islamic State, the Quaid, in his address to the students of the Usmania University, Deccan in August, 1941, said,” In Islam ultimate obedience belongs to God alone.The only way to follow His guidance is through the Holy Quran. Islam does not preach obedience to a king, parliament, person or any institution. The Islamic Government means rule of the Quran. And how can you establish the rule of Quran without an independent state? In this state, legislation will take place within the boundaries drawn by the Quran”.

This scribe has yet to come across a better description of the role and function of the Quran and an Islamic State than the one given above by the great Quaid.

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Pervez Musharraf on Facebook: Answering Your Top 3 Questions – I

December 13, 2009

1) Was there a way post 9/11 for Pakistan to handle the Americans and the Taliban that would have avoided the current situation where we seem to be stuck with a deteriorating law and order situation?

I think we dealt with both in the best possible manner under most difficult circumstances. With regards to the US, the big question after 9/11 was whether to join the Coalition or not. The Americans had decided they were going to attack Afghanistan, and because of geographic compulsions, the attack was most likely going to come from the East. The positives of joining the coalition far outweighed the negatives of not joining.

Imagine what would have happened, had we not joined the coalition? The attack would have still taken place using bases provided by our neighbour, jeopardizing our territorial integrity. The flow of Al Qaeda and Taliban into Pakistan and the spreading of obscurantist Talibanisation into our country would have happened at a much greater scale. This was certainly not in our own interest. Therefore joining the Coalition was and is primarily in our own national interest. It happens to be in US interest also. The thought that we are playing the US game is simply not correct.

With the passage of time the situation has become more complex. There is strong Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan, developing nexus with Taliban in our tribal agencies, spreading Talibanisation into settled districts of NWFP. These in turn are developing links with extremists in our own society, further complicating the issue. The bottom line is that we have to defeat terrorism and extremism wherever it comes from. The Taliban have done tremendous damage to us and will not hesitate to do more unless we defeat them. The choice is stark. We as a nation have to decide what we want for ourselves. A progressive, enlightened, tolerant Islamic society or a retrogressive, obscurantist society?

2) Lal Masjid- Sifting Truth from Lies

The Lal Masjid operation is a case study of how an appropriately timed, meticulously planned and boldly executed operation launched in the supreme national interest can be distorted by vested interests who want to present it as a disaster. I would like to elaborate/clarify various issues which have been distorted.

  1. “Hundreds of innocent people were killed which included scores of women and children.”
    This is an absolute lie. Firstly none of those killed were innocent. They were terrorists (including five foreigners) who took the law in their own hands and killed a number of policemen, kidnapped and physically tortured Chinese citizens (causing embarrassment to the government) and burnt down Ministry of Environment offices, property and vehicles. They had stored arms and explosives in the mosque and were equipped/prepared for suicide bombings. Secondly the numbers killed were NINETY FOUR and not a single woman or child was killed. This can be ascertained by digging their graves and counting.
  2. “The operation was launched overriding efforts to end the occupation peacefully.”
    Nothing could be farther from the truth. The siege of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa was started about six months before the operation. There were about two thousand five hundred girls in Jamia Hafsa and an equal number of men who had taken over Lal Masjid. Despite all the pressure on the government in the media to act and evict the occupants who were challenging the writ of the government and causing immense embarrassment, the decision taken was to negotiate a peaceful settlement to avoid casualties. In the months that followed, representatives from Wafaqul Madaris and the Council of Islamic Ideology were sent to negotiate, Maulana Edhis’ wife was sent to pacify the girls and even Imam Kaaba was gracious enough to contribute towards an amicable end to the confrontation. Besides this, a number of politicians and notables also tried their best to resolve the issue. All this was to no avail. The primary concern before launching the operation was how to avoid casualties. The operation was launched only after all efforts towards a negotiated settlement failed and maximum occupants including all women and children were drawn out. The individuals left were all hardened terrorists including five foreigners who refused to surrender and decided to fight it out.

We as Pakistanis must realise that we cannot be known internationally as a “Soft State” or a “Banana Republic” where there is no writ of the government. The government has to be strong enough to meet any challenge to its authority. Then only can we emerge as a stable, strong, respectable country in the comity of nations. We also have to make sure that religion is not misused to challenge the state and spread extremism in the society.

Lal Masjid operation stands as a tribute to the gallantry of all the soldiers, especially of SSG, rangers and policemen who participated in the operation. May all the Shaheeds rest in peace.

3) What compelled you to promulgate the NRO?
I very much feel responsible for answering this question which is rightly agitating many minds. However because of certain political sensitivities, I will have to pend the answer for the time being with a promise that I will take the nation on board at the appropriate time. The one clarification that I will make is that I committed this mistake on the strong advice of the political leadership at that time, who are now blatantly disowning connections with it. My interest was only national with absolutely no personal bias or agenda.

Question: “Through the NRO you brought corrupt politicians to power and made Zardari the President.”
NRO may have allowed Asif Zardari or corrupt politicians to contest elections but it certainly was not the cause of their coming to power. NRO is not responsible for electing the PPP as the majority party or allowing Asif Zardari to win an election. NRO is not responsible for corrupt politicians sitting in Assemblies, or being appointed as Ministers. All this happened through the votes of the people of Pakistan. NRO is not responsible for all Parliamentarians of Provincial and National Assemblies and Senate having overwhelmingly voted for Asif Zardari as President. The nation has to learn to cast their votes for the right person and the right party.

Source: www.Facebook.com/PervezMusharraf

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The Afghan-Pakistan Solution

December 2, 2009

By Pervez Musharraf – Former President of Pakistan

My recent trip to the United States has been an enriching experience, during which I had a very healthy discourse with the American public and an opportunity to understand their concerns about the war in Afghanistan. One question I was asked almost everywhere I went was, “How can we stop losing?”

The answer is a political surge, in conjunction with the additional troops requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Quitting is not an option.

A military solution alone cannot guarantee success. Armies can only win sometimes, and at best, create an environment for the political process to work. At the end of the day, it is civilians, not soldiers, who have to take charge of their country.

After decades of civil war and anarchy, the Taliban established control over 95% of Afghanistan in 1996. Unfortunately, the Taliban imposed their strict interpretation of Islam on the country. Nevertheless, I proposed to recognize the Taliban regime, in the hope of transforming them from within. Had my strategy been enacted, we might have persuaded the Taliban to deny a safe haven to al Qaeda and avoided the tragic 9/11 attacks.

Another golden opportunity to rescue the Afghan people emerged after the United Nations sanctioned international military operation launched after 9/11. Having liberated Afghanistan from the tyranny of al Qaeda and Taliban, the U.S. had the unequivocal support of the majority of Afghans. The establishment of a truly representative national government which gave proportional representation to all ethnic groups—including the majority Pashtuns—would have brought peace to Afghanistan and ousted al Qaeda once and for all. Unfortunately this did not happen.

The political instability and ethnic imbalance in Afghanistan after 9/11 marginalized the majority Pashtuns and pushed them into the Taliban fold, even though they were not ideological supporters of the Taliban. The blunder of inducting 80,000 troops of Tajiks into the Afghan national army further alienated the Pashtuns.

Meanwhile, Pakistan forcefully tackled the influx of al Qaeda into our tribal areas, capturing over 600 al Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leaders, some of them of very high value. We established 1,000 border checkposts and even offered to mine or fence off the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, but this never came to pass. The Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai, had no writ outside of Kabul, and the insufficient ground troops of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) allowed the Taliban to regroup. The 2004 invasion of Iraq shifted the focus and also contributed to the Taliban gaining ground in Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda terrorists who fled from Afghanistan came to Pakistan and settled initially in South Waziristan. Through successful intelligence and law-enforcement operations, we eliminated al Qaeda from our cities and destroyed their command, communication and propaganda centers. They fled to the adjoining North Waziristan, Bajur and Swat regions.

From 2004 onwards, we witnessed a gradual shift in the terrorist center of gravity. The Taliban started to re-emerge in Afghanistan and gradually gained a dominant role. They developed ties with the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas, especially in North and South Waziristan. With a grand strategy to destabilize the whole region, the Taliban and al Qaeda established links with extremists in Pakistani society on the one hand and with Muslim fundamentalists in India on the other. They pose a grave threat to South Asia and peace in the world.

We now have to deal with a complex situation. Casualties suffered by our soldiers in the line of duty will not go wasted only if we are able to fully secure our next generations from the menace of terrorism. The exit strategy from Afghanistan must not and cannot be time related. It has to ask, “What effect do we want to create on the ground?” We must eliminate al Qaeda, dominate the Taliban militarily, and establish a representative, legitimate government in Afghanistan.

The military must ensure that we deal with insurgents from a position of strength. The dwindling number of al Qaeda elements must be totally eliminated, and the Taliban have to be dominated militarily. We must strengthen border-control measures with all possible means to isolate the militants on the Afghanistan and Pakistan sides.

The Pakistan military must continue to act strongly. Operationally, we must raise substantially more forces from within the tribal groups and equip them with more tanks and guns. On the Afghan side, the U.S. and ISAF troops must be reinforced. All of this must be done in combination with raising additional Afghan National Army troops, with significant Pashtun representation. Exploiting tribal divisions, we should also raise local militias.

On the political front, we need an invigorated dialogue with all groups in Afghanistan, including the Taliban. Afghanistan for centuries has been governed loosely through a social covenant between all the ethnic groups, under a sovereign king. This structure is needed again to bring peace and harmony. We have to reach out to Pashtun tribes and others who do not ideologically align themselves with the Taliban or al Qaeda. I have always said that “all Talibans are Pashtun, but all Pashtuns are not Taliban.” Pakistan and Saudi Arabia can play pivotal roles in facilitating this outreach.

Pakistan and Afghanistan were shortsightedly abandoned to their fate by the West in 1989, in spite of the fact that they were the ones who won a victory for the Free World against the Soviet Union. This abandonment lead to a sense of betrayal amongst the people of the region. For the sake of regional and world peace, let us not repeat the same mistake.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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