Archive for October, 2010

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Dear Nawaz Sharif, be a man!

October 30, 2010

By Adnan Khalid Rasool

Dear Mian Saab,

I have been meaning to write you a letter for a while, hoping to ask you a few things that are annoying not only me, but the people of Pakistan; specifically, people who voted for your party.

Nawaz Sharif needs to know that saying things is not as good as doing things. Firstly, Mian saab, where have you been? In all honesty, apart from showing up on TV every now and then for some exclusive interview, the people of Pakistan hardly hear from you in person.

Whatever happened to the Mian Saab who used to sit among the people to hear their problems and grievances?

Secondly sir, seriously, what the whole deal with your party having no backbone at all, on any issues? When push comes to shove and action needs to be taken, you back out and instead come up with some lame statement about how you are not going to do anything, because you are safeguarding democracy. Sir, that’s not really safeguarding democracy; what you are doing is basically taking democracy hostage while playing the role of aadha teetar, aadha batair.

What I mean to say is: pick a side and stick to it for once. Because of your indecision, you neither play the role of the opposition, nor do you play an active role in government. How can you justify this behavior by saying it’s just to protect democracy?

Thirdly, Mian saab, whatever happened to having a proper party manifesto? I am sure the Muslim League has one, but have you given a thought about actually following it for once? The comments made by your party and its ministers make the party agenda sound like a single item. Initially, it was restoration of judges, then once you got that out of the way, it was the 18th amendment and now that’s done, you literally have nothing to say. I am just wondering when poverty and the economy are going to become points on your manifesto.

In addition to all that, why is your party constantly arguing about stuff that has nothing to do with the lives of ordinary people in Pakistan? I mean, the 18th amendment primarily affects politicians and the judges’ restoration was more of an ego boost for the party than anything else. But in this entire time, not once has your party discussed any comprehensive plan for job creation or improving the economy. You cannot just keep criticizing whatever is being done and call it your manifesto or agenda. You actually have to do something or provide alternatives in order to gain support for your cause. So when are you going to actually start doing something?

Three years ago, when you came back to Pakistan, we thought that you had learnt from your mistakes and returned a wiser man. A man who could potentially change the way business was done in the corridors of power and continue with the ambitious policies you started in 1997. But three years down the lane, it’s hard to see what your party has achieved. I would have appreciated your party more if you had effectively played the part of an opposition that has the guts to do what it says. Instead, your party has acted in the exact opposite manner. Again sir, with all due respect, saying things is very different from doing things.

As someone who voted for you, I would just like to say, Mian saab, man up!

Please ask your party to stop acting like a bunch of sissies and actually follow up on their promises. If you do not like the governor of Punjab, get rid of him. You have a majority in Punjab, so why aren’t you doing something? Similarly, if you do not agree with the PPP government, act like the opposition and debate their demerits in public.

Lastly, please stop saying you are doing this for democracy. We, the people of Pakistan, are not dumb. Come clean and say that you are doing this so that you canexpose the PPP government for being inept and incompetent, so that in the next elections, you get more votes. It’s that simple: just come clean and be honest.

We understand that you are a politician, so it comes naturally to you but please, don’t lie.

Source: The Express Tribune

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

October 26, 2010

by Dan Anderson, Staff

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.

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.”

Source: Elon University

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Musharraf aides seek FIR against Talal Bugti

October 26, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Noted leader of the All Pakistan Muslim League, Dr Sher Afgan Niazi, on Monday filed an application to register a first information report under Section 7 or the ATA against three people, including Talal Bugti, for announcing Rs 1 billion as head money on former president Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf, however, the senior superintendent of police (SSP) has instructed the relevant police station to send the application for legal opinion.

Besides, it has been decided that the application would be returned to Dr Afgan and he would be advised to file an application at a police station near which Talal announced the head money during a press conference.

According to police sources, Dr Afgan, Barrister Saif, Ahmed Raza Qasuri, Dr Amjad and others went to the Secretariat police station on Monday where Dr Afgan filed an application alleging that Talal Bugti, Shahzain Bugti and the president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Balochistan Sardar Yaqoob Nasir had hatched a conspiracy at the Punjab House, located in the Secretariat police precincts, and then went to Balochistan where Talal announced head money of Rs 1 billion on Musharraf.

Dr Afgan said since the conspiracy had been planned in Islamabad, an FIR under Section 7 of the ATA should be registered at the relevant Secretariat police station. Sources said that Secretariat Station House Officer Inspector Haqim Khan received the application and later asked recorded it in the daily register. After that the SHO asked Islamabad SSP Tahir Alam Khan if he could register the FIR or not, to which the SSP instructed him to send the application to the legal branch of the Police Department to seek a legal opinion. According to sources, the opinion would ask the applicant to go to the police station near which the press conference had been arranged.

The secretariat SHO told Daily Times that the application had been received and would be sent to the legal branch today (Tuesday). He said after receiving the legal opinion, it would be decided if the FIR should be registered or not.

Former Islamabad District Bar Association secretary general Riasat Ali Azad said according to the PPC, an FIR could be registered at the Secretariat police station if a conspiracy was implemented as the law states that an FIR can be registered only when any offence had been committed.

Source: Daily Times


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Taliban – Afghan govt talks show US weakness: Musharraf

October 25, 2010

TEXAS: Former President Pervez Musharraf has termed the talks between Taliban and Afghan officials, a weakness of the United States as thousands of innocent Afghan could be saved had these talks been nine back.

Musharraf, while addressing the Asian Society Forum in Texas, said that had the world community recognise the Taliban government, thousands of innocent Afghans would not have been killed.

He said that American support towards the talks between Afghan officials and Taliban shows the weakness of the American policy launched nine years back, although moderate Taliban could be brought into the mainstream through the talks.

Musharraf made an appeal to Pakistanis settled in foreign countries to help him in taking the country out of difficulties. He said that Pakistan is facing a lack of leadership and he feels he can be the only one who can take the country out of troubled waters.

Source: Pak Tribune

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Pervez Musharraf Seeks Support from Pakistani American Community

October 22, 2010

By Kalyani Giri

HOUSTON: His inherent faith unmistakable, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf began his speech with a benediction to Allah. Then, dapper in a dark suit instead of his trademark general’s regalia, he announced the formation of his new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), and delineated his strategy for a triumphant re-emergence in that country in time for the 2013 elections. Talking to a diverse audience at a luncheon hosted by the Asia Society at the Omni Hotel on October 19, the former military leader who is in the city this week to woo the support of the largely affluent local Pakistani American community, said that Pakistan did not lack resources or potential to stand on its own feet; rather, he said that it was consistent failure in leadership that had brought that country down.

“We need thought and action to unify bureaucracy, the military, and the people,” said Musharraf, who came into power in a non-violent military coup in 1999 and led Pakistan for eight years until he resigned under impeachment pressure in 2008. “When I come in with a mandate for the people, I can have the legitimacy that I did not previously have. Because I wore a uniform, the world saw me as a dictator, which I was not,” he added. He said that he was cognizant of the rocky uphill struggle to victory, if any, but hoped to win the trust of the people, particularly the youth of Pakistan who are mired in “despondency and hopelessness, and yearn for change”. And that change would be democracy, he added.

This week, Musharraf met with the community at private and public gatherings peppered all over this city. His itinerary also included visits with former US president George H. W. Bush, and local socialite, political activist, and former honorary consul general to Pakistan and Morocco, Joanne Herring, whose support he hoped to garner. Aside from financial backing for his campaign, he reiterated that the influential Pakistani community in the diaspora is a valuable resource in helping to get him back in office. He has been visiting many cities within the US and Canada that boast large Pakistani communities.

Yet Pakistan, reeling in the throes of crippling poverty, flood relief, an internal war against extremists, ineffective governance, and a host of other significant problems, may very well be a minefield to Musharraf   who had already his shot at governance and failed. His re-entering public office in that embattled country seem at the very least, remote, as he has lost credibility and will have a challenge on hand convincing the people that he has the solutions to put the country back on track, observers say. During his presidency, through the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance he granted amnesty to politicians and bureaucrats accused of corruption and other crimes, another black mark against him. And adding to his woes are criminal cases initiated against him in Pakistani courts and the possibility of assassination if he returns to the country of his birth. Much of his jockeying to be in the running will have to be done long distance and by proxy.

Musharraf deems himself a “man of war but a man for peace” and sees his role as a crusader eradicating illiteracy and poverty. He wants to invest in the youth by providing them with vocational skills. He will work toward increasing export, fostering a stable socio-economic climate and controlling the fiscal deficit, he said.

Addressing the thorny issue of Afghanistan and the Taliban, Musharraf said that after 9/11, Pakistan was criticized for not doing enough in the war against terrorism.

“The misconception is that Pakistan is the problem. They may be coming into Pakistan, they have sanctuaries in Pakistan, but most are in Afghanistan,” he said. “Negative handling of Afghanistan began long before, in 1979 when the Soviets invaded and the world ignored the plight of 4 million refugees in that region. Now we cannot afford to quit before bringing a legitimate stable government to Afghanistan, or it will cost the world heavily,” he said.

In India, extremism among Muslim youth is on the rise and developing excessively, observed Musharraf.

“We need to adopt a holistic approach and neutralize the situation without breaking links with Indian Muslims,” he added.

India and Pakistan have been on a confrontation course for 60 years and extremists and terrorists are fueling dissent because they do not want peace between the two countries, he said.

“Punishing Pakistan with counter attacks are irresponsible and war will be inevitable. We must stop the hysteria and leaders on both sides must continue with cogent dialogue,” said Musharraf.

For Musharraf, politics is greater than self.

“For those that love Pakistan, we cannot let go because we will become international orphans and lose our identity. Only progress and development will ensure the wellbeing of my people of Pakistan,” he said.

When asked about Musharraf’s chances at the polls, well-known local businessman Ghulam Bombaywala smiled and said:

“You never know. It’s too early to predict.”

Source: Indo-American News

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Pervez Musharraf at Asia Society Texas – Outlines Election Strategy

October 21, 2010

HOUSTON, October 19, 2010 – Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who earlier this month announced he was forming a new political party and would seek the presidency in 2013, held himself up as the only figure on the Pakistani political scene capable of delivering the country from “the darkness that it faces today.”

“All the political alternatives available have been tried and failed,” he told an audience of 140 at a luncheon address hosted by AsiaSociety Texas Center and the Greater Houston Partnership.

He specifically attacked former President Nawaz Sharif, the man whom Musharraf replaced in 1999 following a bloodless military coup and who is vying to return to power.

“Having taken us down the drain, he wants to take us again down the drain,” Musharraf said.”Therefore, like any patriotic Pakistani, I feel we must not allow that.”

The 67-year-old former president offered few specifics on policies he might follow if elected, beyond promising to revive Pakistan’s economy. He did provide a glimpse of his election strategy, saying he would target the 60 percent of Pakistanis who do not vote.

“This 60 percent comprises educated middle-class Pakistanis, young people, women, and ethnic minorities,” he said. “If you can bring them into the political fray, even 25 percent of them, you would bring about a change in the political culture. That is what I intend doing.”

Regaining power as a civilian, through election, would give him the full legitimacy he lacked the first time around, he said.

Musharraf devoted the first two-thirds of his talk not to current politics but to an uncompromising defense of his and his country’s role in battling Islamic extremism in the region. “We are the victims of religious militancy, not the perpetrators,” he said.

He revisited “three blunders” that he said have contributed to the terrorist threat emanating today from Afghanistan and western Pakistan. He pointed the finger of blame primarily at the United States and the West, first for arming and encouraging the mujahideen, many of them foreigners, to wage “jihad” in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupiers, a move that introduced religious militancy into that country. Worse, after the Soviets beat a retreat, the West abandoned the war-ravaged country.

“So the first blunder, in 1989, was abandoning the place without any rehabilitation or resettlement, [which] gave rise to al Qaeda and then the Taliban,” he said.

He defended his decision to recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan, a move that put him at odds with the United States. In recognizing the Taliban he aimed to “change them from within.” Western failure to follow that course constituted the second blunder.

Musharraf took strong issue with critics who say Pakistan has not done enough to battle al Qaeda and the Taliban. Joining the post-Sept. 11 coalition to fight terrorism was in Pakistan’s self-interest, he said.

“I want to underline this because there are now expressions in the West and the United States that we are not doing enough or that our heart is not in the issue. Wrong, sir.  Nobody in Pakistan would like to have Talibanization of Pakistan.”

He defended his strategy of trying to “peel the Pashtuns from the Taliban” in 2002 and 2003. “It could have been easily done” had the United States embraced that approach, he said. Failure to push for a political solution when the coalition had the upper hand militarily was the third blunder.

He summarized the threats facing Pakistan today as al-Qaeda, who exist “in small numbers” in the western tribal areas; the Pakistani Taliban, who are getting bolder and spreading their brand of militancy beyond the frontier; and growing numbers of ex-mujahideen traveling to Kashmir to fight the Indian army. He also expressed concern about growing Islamic extremism among the youth in India. “The Indian government needs to look into that,” he said.

He voiced concern that the United States would withdraw from Afghanistan before a stable government was in place.

“Quitting without doing that is not an option,” he said. “This is my conclusion, this is what needs to be understood, so that we don’t go and commit a fourth blunder which will cost our region and the world very heavily.”

Reported by Fritz Lanham

Watch the video of President Musharraf’s address at Asia Society Texas by clicking here.

Source: Asia Society

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US could have avoided Bin Laden tangle: Musharraf

October 20, 2010

WASHINGTON: Former president Pervez Musharraf said Tuesday that the United States may have been able to avoid its long hunt for Osama bin Laden if it had recognized Afghanistan’s Taliban regime.

Musharraf, who is trying to stage a political comeback, supports talks with “moderate Taliban” to find a settlement in Afghanistan where US-led forces have been fighting for more than nine years.

Pakistan was the chief supporter of the Taliban regime, which imposed a rigid brand of Islam over most of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Musharraf reversed course overnight following the September 11 attacks.

“The world did not recognize them and we were being reprimanded for doing that,” Musharraf said at the Asia Society’s Texas Center in Houston.

“I always proposed that we need to have a different strategy. We need to recognize the Taliban and try to change them from within,” he said.

“Had we had 18 missions there, including the US mission, with the Taliban, I think we could have saved the Buddha statue and maybe we could have resolved this Osama bin Laden tangle. (It) may not have erupted, even,” he said.

Months ahead of the September 11 attacks, the Taliban defied global pressure and demolished world-famous, 1,500-year-old statues of the Buddha, considering them idolatrous in violation of Islam.

President Hamid Karzai recently set up a peace council to open up dialogue with the Taliban and broker peace in Afghanistan, where more than 150,000 US and Nato troops are deployed.

Musharraf sounded a note of vindication, saying he was accused of “double-dealing” when he advocated negotiations with the Taliban after the regime was toppled.

“The difference between now and then is now we are trying to do this from a position of weakness,” Musharraf said.

Pakistan has long faced US criticism for maintaining contact with Afghanistan’s Taliban, in what US analysts believe is a strategy by Islamabad to ensure it maintains influence in its neighbor.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were the only countries other than Pakistan that ever recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s government.

Source: Samaa TV

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