Archive for the ‘lessons from history’ Category

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The Dark Side of Iftikhar Chaudhry

January 16, 2014

(Written by Afaq)

On 12th December 2013, Iftikhar Chaudhry marked the end of his eventful years as a chief justice of Pakistan.

Charles de Gaulle said, “The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable men.” Hence, people took the charge, perform their responsibilities and leave. Then this is up to the history to judge their role and legacy.

CJ Exposed IVFormer chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, otherwise considered as a man of courage and vision by many, will sadly be remembered as a media conscious man who escaped from the charges of nepotism and misconduct by taking refuge in highly politicized lawyers’ movement and the one, who believed more in personal vendetta than emerging as an impartial custodian of justice.

If politicians are not doing well, they can be rejected in the elections or summoned in the court. If military coup is undesirable, the military ruler can be trialled. What about the chief justice of the country? Is he above the law? No, he doesn’t. Is he not accountable to anyone? Yes, he is. There is Supreme Judicial Council to investigate the charges against the judges, as clearly mentioned in the Article 209 of the constitution. On 09th March, 2007, the then President filed a reference to the SJC against Iftikhar Chaudhry on the advice of the then Prime Minister. While he didn’t resign, he also didn’t face the inquiry. He took the cover of the media and politicized lawyers’ movement and made the SJC irrelevant.

A file photo dated, 30 June 2005 releaseIt is claimed that he stood against a military ruler and refused to resign – something that made him a hero overnight. But ironically, he himself remained the one who legitimated the same ruler.

Let’s correct the record. Nawaz Sharif’s era was corrupt and ineffective “one man rule” and his overthrown on 12thOctober, 1999 was justified. This is what the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled on 13th May, 2000. His Excellency Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of the judges of that 12-member court and favored the military coup.

Not only this, he was one of the nine judges of the bench that validated the Proclamation of Emergency dated 14th October, 1999 and PCO-I as well as the referendum.

He marked his presence in the 5-member bench that validated the legal framework order issued by Musharraf.

He was also the part of 5-member bench that gave judgment in the favour of Musharraf’s uniform and the seventeenth amendment.

Iftikhar Chaudhry was the chief justice at the time when the Supreme Court allowed Musharraf to re-elect in uniform in 2007.

If the constitution of Pakistan was violated on 12th October, 1999 and if that’s the act of treason, then Iftikhar Chaudhry should also be trialed for high treason under the Article 6 (clause 2) of the constitution.

His legacy doesn’t end here.

While he over exercised his authority to take suo-moto notices under the Article 184 (3), he was more concerned about setting market price of samosa and sugar, the possessions of Atiqa Odho and issuing a contempt of court notice to PTI chief. However, the Hazara killing, the persecution of minorities, the suicide bombers, sectarian militant organisations, misuse of blasphemy laws and the atrocities of terrorism – all went unchecked.

CJ Exposed IPakistan has lost almost 50,000 lives in terrorist attacks, but the judiciary failed to prosecute the terrorists. They kept getting acquittal from the courts and kept continuing their anti-state activities. This free service rewarded him appreciation from the miscreants.

During his term, lawyers turned into black coat hooligans. For instance, the assassin of governor Punjab wasshowered by roses in the premises of the court. The ATC judge who gave verdict against him got harassed by the lawyers.

Lawyers were not always violent during his term; they enjoyed the lighter side of life as well. Lahore High Court bar witnessed the dance performance on Sheila ki jawani and the lawyers partied.

This all went unnoticed.

CJ Exposed IIIOn the other hand, he turned a blind eye to the corruption of his son. Even though he took suo moto notice,Supreme Court reversed its position at least three times and finally disposed of the case calling it a personal matter between Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz.

Iftikhar Chaudhry ruled against the security protocols of the former ministers while himself enjoying the unit of 40-50 security personnel. He asked for police escort and a bullet proof vehicle for security soon after his retirement citing that he was under threat.

He questioned the loyalty of overseas Pakistanis, while keeping mum over the judges with dual nationalities.

He dismissed the elected prime minister showing lack of restraint.

He kept interfering in the affairs of state, and focused less on improving the judiciary – his prime responsibility. The corrupt practices of judges and violent activism of lawyers grew by leaps and bounds. More than 1.5 million cases are still pending in the courts and there is no hope for the speedy justice.

This brief article couldn’t sum up his entire term. In retrospect, he had a golden opportunity and absolute authority to fix the bugs within the judicial system and turning it into a viable institution, but his vindictive behavior made things worse. He had public and media support behind him, he could do this, but alas, he didn’t.

Source: Ibtidah

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Musharraf hints at pact with Taliban, military takeover to protect Pak from crisis

December 16, 2010

Lahore, Dec 16(ANI): Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said that the country might be forced to take matters into its own hands, which could include working with the Taliban, if it continues to feel alienated by the rest of the world.

Musharraf said that Pakistan was in a terrible state – with its economy in crisis, high unemployment, mass discontent – and having terrorists on its soil.

“Pakistan has to be protected. If you don’t help, if no one helps, or instead is helping the other side, the side which is trying to disturb and destabilize us, well, then Pakistan has to take its own measures,” the Daily Times quoted Musharraf, as saying.

When asked whether it would mean working with the Taliban, the former President replied: “We must know that the protection of Pakistan is everything to us.”

“If someone is disturbing this, I will go to any extent to protect my country, because that’s what I’m meant for. So, you can see the answer yourself,” he added.

Musharraf further said that “there is no bar” against him going back to Pakistan.

“But the conditions have to be right. What should Pakistan do? What should ISI do? What does the army chief do? They’ll make a strategy of protecting themselves,” Musharraf said. (ANI)

Source: Truth Dive

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Don’t Mess With Pakistan (Exclusive)

November 16, 2010
“Sporadic and superficial global support has made Pakistanis feel dangerously betrayed.”

By General Pervez Musharraf – Former President of Pakistan

The world is watching Pakistan and rightfully so. It’s a happening place. Pakistan is at the center of geostrategic revolution and realignments. The economic, social, and political aspirations of China, Afghanistan, Iran, and India turn on securing peace, prosperity, and stability in Pakistan. Our country can be an agent of positive change, one that creates unique economic interdependencies between central, west and south Asian countries and the Middle East through trade and energy partnerships. Or there’s the other option: the borderless militancy Pakistan is battling could take down the whole region.
Recently, terrorists on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border have plotted, unsuccessfully, to unleash terror as far away as Copenhagen and New York City. Pakistan’s role for a safe, secure world cannot be overemphasized. To appreciate the complex history of Pakistan’s internal and external challenges is to understand how the 21st century could well play out for the world.
Our country was born of violence, in August 1947. Just months after the partition of the subcontinent and the creation of the Dominion of Pakistan, we were at war with India over Kashmir. Pakistan and India’s mutual animosity and history of confrontation remain powerful forces in South Asia to this day. Because of its sense of having been wronged by India—and feeling that it faced an existential threat from that country—Pakistan cast its lot with the West. We became a strategic partner of the U.S. during the Cold War, signing on to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) in the 1950s, while India tilted toward the Soviet Union. As part of our inalienable right to self-preservation, we formulated a “minimum defensive deterrence” strategy to maintain Army, Navy and Air Force numbers at levels proportional to India’s.
In 1965 we again went to war over Kashmir, and in 1971 over East Pakistan (I fought in both). Our suspicions about India were proved right when it became clear that the creation of Bangladesh was only made possible through Indian military and intelligence support. Among Pakistanis in general, and the Army in particular, attitudes against India hardened. The adversarial relationship between our Inter Services Intelligence and their Research and Analysis Wing worsened, both exploiting any opportunity to inflict harm on the other.
Al Qaeda’s Internet outreach is not limited to the new magazine targeting, as it says, a “wide and dispersed English speaking Muslim readership.” Until earlier this month, the radicalizing sermons of American-Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki were readily available on YouTube, a popular video sharing Web site. Under pressure from British and American officials, it removed hundreds of al-Awlaki videos because they were an “incitement to commit violent acts.” The shutdown coincided with the sentencing in London of 21-year-old Roshonara Choudhury for a knife attack in May on a British legislator. The theology student said she had been converted by viewing some 5,000 of al-Awlaki’s online exhortations.
India’s “Smiling Buddha” nuclear tests in 1974 changed everything. Pakistan was forced to resort to unconventional means to compensate for the new imbalance of power. Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto initiated Pakistan’s atomic program, and thus began the nuclearization of the subcontinent. India’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was an effort to project power beyond its borders; Pakistan’s was an existential and defensive imperative.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 presented Pakistan with a security threat from two directions: Soviets to the west, who wanted access to the Indian Ocean through Pakistan, and Indians to the east. Once again Pakistan joined hands with the United States to fight Moscow.
We called it jihad by design, this effort to attract mujahideen from all over the Muslim world. And from Morocco to Indonesia, some 25,000 of them came. We trained and armed Taliban from the madrassahs of the then North West Frontier Province, and pushed them into Afghanistan. By this time, the liberal and intellectual Afghan elite had left for the safer climes of Europe and the U.S., leaving behind a largely poor, religious-minded population to fight the 10-year jihad. We—Pakistan, the U.S., the West, and Saudi Arabia—are equally responsible for nourishing the militancy that defeated the Soviet Union in 1989, and which seeks now to defeat us all.
The Soviets quit Kabul, and the Americans abandoned Islamabad. Washington rewarded its once indispensable ally by invoking the Pressler Amendment and imposing military sanctions, and by choosing to foster a strategic relationship with India. Pakistan was left alone to deal with the nearly 4 million Afghans who had streamed into our country and became the world’s largest refugee population. The people of Pakistan felt betrayed and used. For Pakistan, the decade of disaster had begun.
No efforts were made to deprogram, rehabilitate, and resettle the mujahideen or redevelop and build back war-ravaged Afghanistan. This shortsightedness led to ethnic fighting, warlordism, and Afghanistan’s dive into darkness. The mujahideen coagulated into Al Qaeda. The Taliban, who would emerge as a force in 1996, eventually would occupy 90 percent of the country, ramming through their obscurantist medievalism.
It was also in 1989 that the freedom struggle reignited in India-administered Kashmir. This started out as a purely indigenous and peaceful uprising against Indian state repression. The people who led this first intifada were radicalized by the Indian Army’s fierce and indiscriminate crackdowns on locals. The Kashmir cause is a rallying cry for Muslims around the world. It is more so for Pakistanis. The plight of Kashmiri Muslims inspired the creation of new mujahideen groups within Pakistan who then sent thousands of volunteer fighters to the troubled territory. In terms of identity politics, the boundaries were clearer: the mujahideen set their sights on India; Al Qaeda and the Taliban were focused largely on Afghanistan. With the Taliban to our west and the mujahideen in the north, this arc of anger rent our social fabric. Pakistan found itself awash in guns and drugs.
Nine years later, there was bad news from Pokhran. In May 1998, India again tested its bomb. Almost two weeks later, Pakistan responded by “turning the mountain white” at Chaghai. For Pakistanis, our own tests became a symbol of our power in the world, a testament to our resolve and innovation in the face of adversity, and a source of unmitigated pride in our streets. We became a nuclear power and an international pariah at the same time, but furthering and harnessing our nuclear potential remains and must remain our singular national interest. Of course, the U.S. views India’s nuclear program differently from Pakistan’s. Even our pursuit of nuclear power for civilian purposes, for electricity generation, is viewed negatively. India’s pursuit is assisted by the U.S. In Pakistan, people see this as yet another instance of American partiality, even hostility. Many even believe that the U.S. wants to denuclearize Pakistan— by force if necessary—because it fears the weapons could come into the hands of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, or any of the myriad militant organizations who have loosed mayhem in Pakistan. Our nuclear weapons are secure.
Pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan. We did this because of our ethnic, historical, and geographical affinity with Afghan Pashtuns who comprised the Taliban. In 2000, when I led Pakistan, I had suggested to the U.S. and other countries that they, too, should recognize the Taliban government and collectively engage Kabul in order to achieve moderation there through exposure and exchange. This was shot down. Continued diplomatic isolation of the Taliban regime pushed it into the embrace of the Arab-peopled Al Qaeda. Had the Taliban government been recognized, the world could have saved the Bamiyan Buddhas, and unknotted the Osama bin Laden problem thereby preventing the spate of Al Qaeda-orchestrated attacks around the world including on September 11, 2001, in the U.S.
When America decided to retaliate, we joined the international coalition against Kabul by choice so we could safeguard and promote our own national interests. Nobody in Islamabad was in favor of the religious and governmental philosophy of the Taliban. By joining the coalition, we also prevented India from gaining an upper hand in Afghanistan from where it could then machinate against Pakistan. The Taliban and Al Qaeda were defeated in 2001 with the help of the Northern Alliance, which was composed of Uzbeks, Hazarans, and Tajiks—all ethnic minorities. The Pashtuns and Arabs of Afghanistan fled to the mountains and fanned out across Pakistan. This was the serious downside of joining the global coalition: the mujahideen who were fighting for Kashmir formed an unholy nexus with the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban—and turned their guns on us. While I was president, they made at least four attempts on my life.
In 2002, the allies installed a largely Pashtun-free government in Afghanistan that lacked legitimacy because it did not represent 50 percent of the Afghan population, Pashtuns. This should not have happened. All Taliban are Pashtun, but not all Pashtuns are Taliban. Pashtuns were thus isolated, blocked from the mainstream, and pushed toward the Taliban, who made a resurgence in 2004.
Today, the Taliban rule the roost in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are ensconced in our tribal agencies, plotting and launching attacks against us and others. The twin scourge of radicalism and militarism has infected settled districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and beyond. Mujahideen groups are operating in India-administered Kashmir and seem to have public support in Pakistan.
After nine long years, and a longer war for the U.S. than Vietnam, the world wants to negotiate with “moderate” elements in the Taliban—and from a position of apparent weakness. Before the coalition abandons Afghanistan again, it must at least ensure the election of a legitimate Pashtun-led government. Pakistan, which has lost at least 30,000 of its citizens in the war on terror, should be forgiven for wondering whether it was all worth it. Pakistanis should not be left to feel that it was not.
To comment on this article, email  letters@newsweek.pk
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PAKISTAN-A SHIP WITHOUT HELMSMAN

August 10, 2009

By Mr. Ahmad Subhani

sinking-shipISLAMABAD, Pakistan—How truthful it has been stated that, “before the creation of Pakistan, there was a statesman without a state; today there exists a state without statesmen. The difference between a politician and a statesman is that the politician thinks of the next election, whereas the statesman thinks of the next generation; a politician looks for the success of his party, the statesman for that of his country. Lastly, a politician never means what he says and never says what he means, but a statesman says what he means and means what he says.”  The foregoing description truly mirrors the condition that has prevailed in Pakistan since its inception. Its founder, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a great statesman and acknowledged so by all those who knew him. The leaders that followed him fit in the description of ‘leader’ as given in the above quotation. Leaving aside the distant past, let us glance through the credentials of the current two major political contenders to the power, namely, Pakistan Peoples Party and Muslim League (Nawaz). Incidentally, both these parties have remained at the helm of affairs, twice in succession during the period 1988 to 1999. PPP is again in power since the year 2008. For brevity sake, I have ventured to recollect here only the salient features of their self-acclaimed “accomplishments” during their tenure to refresh the memory of worthy readers in this respect.

Late Benazir Bhutto, Chair-person of the Peoples Party held the reins of her office during 1988 to 1990 and then again from 1993 to 1996. She was dismissed from office by the then President primarily on the charge of corruption. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan also alleged that she had maintained close friendship with the Indian Prime Misnister, Rajev Gandhi; had links with RAW and had betrayed the ‘Khalsa Movement’ by providing names of important sikh leaders of the movement to the Indian Govt. In 1996, President Laghari dismissed her on charges of mismanagement, nepotism and corruption. In those days it was openly talked about that she and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari were robbers; though born with silver spoon in mouth, yet they looted and plundered the national treasury with both hands and transferred the looted money to their accounts in the foreign banks; also they had purchased property and assets worth billion of dollars abroad with the ill-gotten money.

The oft-repeated claim of P.P.P. leaders including Benazir Bhutto, that they had promoted democratic culture in the country is a complete hoax. Apart from her persistent dictatorial stance in her day to day dealings with fellow countrymen that bordered on fascism, she never conducted in-party elections; nominations were the normal course of action. She readily accepted the life- chairmanship of the party without any qualms. Last but not the least, she in her “will”, nominated her husband to be her successor party chairman, as if this all was a dynastic rule. Thus democracy was confined to only holding of elections.

Coming to Nawaz Sharif, he held office of the Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and then 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, General Pervez Musharraf when Nawaz Sharif tried to eliminate him from the scene by not allowing the aircraft by which Musharraf was returning from Sri Lanka, to land any where in Pakistan. But for the timely intervention of the army the crash of the plane could not have been averted because the plane had run short of fuel and was not at all in a position to fly outside of Pakistan. In fact, it was the third attempt on the part of Nawaz Sharif  to have complete control  and hold over the destiny of the nation. Earlier on, he had  gotten rid of the former Army Chief, Gen. Karamat and former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan by underhand means.

The  three “ achievements” of which Nawaz Sharif has been boasting here there and every where are promotion of :-1 Democracy ; 2 Independent Judiciary ;and 3 Freedom of Press. Let us examine this claim on the altar of ground realities. When talking of independence of judiciary, Nawaz’s confrontation with the judiciary readily comes to mind. In 1997, the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court held Nawaz Sharif in contempt of court for passing derogatory  remarks against him and other judges. This episode created a riot in the Supreme Court that eventually led to the Chief Justice’s resignation. Nawaz Sharif had unleashed his entire propaganda machinery to undermine independence of judiciary. He had no patience for independent judges and tried to replace those who disagreed with him. The judges under the political influence, used to pass the judgments first and hear the witnesses later. His political workers and goons physically attacked the Supreme Court, abused the judges and indulged in violence and made the judges flee the court room to save their lives. It, therefore, sounds amusing to hear from the “tamer of the democracy” that his “first order if he returns to power would be to restore the deposed judges.”

As for democracy, the champion of democracy repeatedly trampled the same by issuing draconian laws like “Ehtisab Accountability Law” under which a number of opposition leaders were arrested and detained on fake charges.  “Anti Terrorism Act” empowered the law enforcement agencies to kill a person on mere suspicion and conduct search operations without warrants. This turned the country into a police state. Military courts were set up for the trial of civilians. To reinforce his authority further and to ensure his rule for an indefinite period, a new Islamic order by imposing Shariat (15th Constitutional Amendment) was promulgated enabling him assume unbridled powers as “Amirul Mominin”. All this smacked of establishing ‘theocratic fascism’ in Pakistan.

He now talks of ‘press freedom’ which he tried to curb soon after his assumption of office as Prime Minister. by promulgating ‘Registration of  Printing Press and Publishing Ordinance 1977 which authorized magistrates and sub-inspectors to initiate action including forfeitures of newspaper copies without judicial review and restraint. This led to harassment and intimidation of journalists. Fundamental rights were suspended by imposing a state of emergency in the country, apparently aimed at freezing foreign currency accounts of the people which drastically undermined domestic and foreign investors’ confidence, an idea of which can be had from the fact that almost 13 billion dollars in the FCAS evaporated in no time. His claim to have left a peaceful and progressive Pakistan behind, is a cruel joke played on this nation. All economic social and security parameters had been relegated to the worst ever position when he left.

Finally,Pakistan’s history pertaining to the period from 1988 to 1999 and then since 2008 is a witness to the fact that Nawaz Sharif , Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari have proved to be the spoilers of democracy   and betrayers of peoples’ trust, hopes and aspirations. At present, no other leader of substance is visible who could steer the ship of the state out of the troubled waters to shores of safety. Ex.-President, Pervez Musharraf (1999—2008), did illuminate the dark horizon of our country for a while, when his stupendous efforts and pragmatic approach salvaged the sinking economy and put it on even keel. He brought about remarkable upturn in all spheres of national life and earned acclaim and approbation nationally and internationally. But certain crucial mistakes committed by him during 2007

Onwards which were blown out of all proportions and exploited to the hilt by his adversaries forced his exit from the scene. Now, no body can say when another rescuer like him would surface, to guide the destiny of this virtually lost nation to a successful and vibrant future.

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Where were the lawyers then?

August 9, 2009
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Actual Conversation Between Clinton And Nawaz, Word For Word

February 23, 2009

This is an excerpt from the book by Strobe Talbot, the former senior U.S. Department of State official, who was in the room with Bill Clinton when the U.S. president received Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, then the Pakistani prime minister, who came to see Clinton regarding the war in Kargil: “Kargil War between India and Pakistan took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir. According to India the cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two states. During and directly after the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan‘s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control (LoC). At the height of the Kargil conflict, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is said to have told then US President Bill Clinton that he was prepared to help resolve the crisis if India committed to settle the ‘larger issue’ of Kashmir in a specific time-frame, but the American leader snubbed him saying it would amount to a ‘nuclear blackmail.’ When Sharif visited Washington in 1999 to discuss Kargil with Clinton, he insisted, ‘I am prepared to help resolve the current crisis in Kargil but India must commit to resolve the larger issue in a specific time-frame,’ former US deputy secretary of State Strobe Talbot writes in his new book Engaging India – Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb. ‘Clinton came as close as I had ever seen to blowing up in a meeting with a foreign leader,’ and told Sharif, ‘If I were the Indian Prime Minister, I would never do that. I would be crazy to do it. It would be nuclear blackmail. If you proceed with this line, I will have no leverage with them. If I tell you what you think you want me to say, I will be stripped of all influence with the Indians.’ ‘I am not – and the Indians are not – going to let you get away with blackmail, and I will not permit any characterization of this meeting that suggests I am giving in to blackmail,’ Talbot writes, adding, Clinton also refuted Sharif’s accusation that the Indians were the instigators of the crisis and intransigents in the ongoing standoff. When Sharif insisted he had to have something to show for his trip to the US beyond unconditional surrender over Kargil, Clinton pointed to the dangers of nuclear war if Pakistan did not return to its previous positions. Seeing they were getting nowhere, Clinton told Sharif he had a statement ready to release to press that would lay all the blame for the crisis on Pakistan . ‘Sharif was ashen.’ ‘Clinton had worked himself back into real anger – his face flushed, eyes narrowed, lips pursed, cheek muscles pulsing, fists clenched. He said it was crazy enough for Sharif to have let his military violate the Line of Control, start a border war with India, and now prepare nuclear forces (U.S. had received intelligence Pakistan was preparing nuclear forces for attack against India) for action,’ Talbot says in his book. ‘Sharif seemed beaten, physically and emotionally’ and denied he had given any order with regard to nuclear weaponry. Taking a break, Clinton spoke to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over phone and told him what had happened until then. ‘What do you want me to say?’ Vajpayee asked. ‘Nothing,’ Clinton replied, he just wanted to show he was holding.” Now Nawaz Sharif and his paid clients in Pakistani politics and media are blaming Musharraf for Kargil, claiming he had no idea about Kargil, when even Clinton knew that it was planned by Nawaz Sharif and the paid retired officers who are now singing the song of Noon League. The question is: If Nawaz Sharif didn’t know about Kargil, why was he negotiating on Kashmir in such a confident way with Clinton? It’s Nawaz’s word against Talbot’s, but we already know who is not telling the truth. With due respect to Mr. Sharif, if he can lie about not signing a deal to save himself from jail in 2000, he can lie about anything. Stop destabilizing Pakistan and showing the whole world our dirty laundry. Both you and your personal enmities are not more important than Pakistan, its people and its interest.

(http://www.pak1stanfirst.com/archive/516-actual-conversation-between-clinton-and-nawaz-word-for-word.html)

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A Plea for Enlightened Moderation

February 20, 2009

Muslims must raise themselves up through individual achievement and socioeconomic emancipation.

By Pervez Musharraf

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight. The suffering of the innocents, particularly my brethren in faith — the Muslims — at the hands of militants, extremists and terrorists has made it all the more urgent to bring order to this troubled scene. In this spirit, I would like to set forth a strategy I call Enlightened Moderation.

The world has become an extremely dangerous place. The devastating power of plastic explosives, combined with high-tech remote-controlled devices, as well as a proliferation of suicide bombers, has created a lethal force that is all but impossible to counter. The unfortunate reality is that both the perpetrators of these crimes and most of the people who suffer from them are Muslims. This has caused many non-Muslims to believe wrongly that Islam is a religion of intolerance, militancy and terrorism. It has led increasing numbers of people to link Islam to fundamentalism; fundamentalism to extremism, and extremism to terrorism. Muslims can protest however vigorously they like against this kind of labeling, but the reality is that such arguments are not likely to prevail in the battle for minds. To make things even more difficult, Muslims are probably the poorest, most uneducated, most powerless and most disunited people in the world.

 

The stark challenge that faces anyone with compassion for the common heritage of mankind is determining what legacy we will leave for future generations. The special challenge that confronts Muslims is to drag ourselves out of the pit we find ourselves in, to raise ourselves up by individual achievement and collective socioeconomic emancipation. Something has to be done quickly to stop the carnage in the world and to stem the downward slide of Muslims.

My idea for untangling this knot is Enlightened Moderation, which I think is a win for all — for both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. It is a two-pronged strategy. The first part is for the Muslim world to shun militancy and extremism and adopt the path of socioeconomic uplift. The second is for the West, and the United States in particular, to seek to resolve all political disputes with justice and to aid in the socioeconomic betterment of the deprived Muslim world.

We need to understand that the root cause of extremism and militancy lies in political injustice, denial and deprivation. Political injustice to a nation or a people, when combined with stark poverty and illiteracy, makes for an explosive mix. It produces an acute sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. A nation suffering from these lethal ills is easily available for the propagation of militancy and the perpetration of extremist, terrorist acts. It is cannon fodder in a war of terrorism.

I would be remiss if, in defense of the people of my faith, I did not trace the genesis of the Muslims’ being labeled as extremists or terrorists. Before the anti-Soviet Afghan war, the sole cause of unrest and concern in the Muslim world was the Palestine dispute. It was this issue that led to a unity of Muslims — in favor of Palestinians and against Israel. The Afghan war of the 1980s, supported and facilitated by the West as a proxy war against the Soviet Union, saw the emergence and nurturing of pan-Islamic militancy. Islam as a religion was used to harness worldwide Muslim support. Subsequently the atrocities and ethnic cleansing against Muslims in Bosnia, the Chechen uprising, the Kashmir freedom struggle and the invigorated Palestinian intifada all erupted in the ’90s after the Soviet disintegration. To make matters worse, the militancy that was sparked in Afghanistan — which should have been defused after the Cold War — was instead allowed to fester for a decade.

During this time, hostility among fighters from the Muslim world turned multidirectional, seeking new conflict zones in places where Muslims were suffering. Enter the birth of al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the Palestinian intifada kept gathering momentum, uniting and angering Muslims across the globe. And then came the bombshell of Sept. 11, 2001, and the angry reaction of the United States against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. All subsequent reactions of the United States — its domestic responses against Muslims, its attitude toward Palestine and the operation in Iraq — led to total polarization of the Muslim masses against the United States. It is not Islam as a religion that has created militancy and extremism but rather political disputes that have led to antagonism among the Muslim masses.

This is all history now. What has been done cannot be undone. But this situation cannot be allowed to fester; a remedy must be found. I call on the West to help resolve these political disputes with justice, as part of a commitment to a strategy of Enlightened Moderation.

When I think of the role of Muslims in today’s world, my heart weeps. What we need is introspection. Who are we, what do we as Muslims stand for, where are we going, where should we be headed and how can we reach it? The answers to these questions are the Muslim part of Enlightened Moderation.

We have a glorious past. Islam exploded on the world scene as the flag bearer of a just, lawful, tolerant and value-oriented society. We had faith in human exaltation through knowledge and enlightenment. We exemplified tolerance within ourselves and toward people of other faiths. The armies of Islam did not march forward to convert people by the sword, despite what the perceptions may be, but to deliver them from the darkness through the visible example of their virtues. What better projection can be found of these deeper values of Islam than the personal example of our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.), who personified justice, compassion, tolerance of others, generosity of spirit, austerity with a spirit of sacrifice, and a burning desire to make a better world.

Today’s Muslim world is distant from all these values. We have been left far behind in social, moral and economic development. We have remained in our own shell and refused to learn or acquire from others. We have reached the depths of despair and despondency. We need to face stark reality. Is the way ahead one of confrontation and militancy? Could this path really lead us back to our past glory while also showing the light of progress and development to the world?

I say to my brother Muslims: The time for renaissance has come. The way forward is through enlightenment. We must concentrate on human resource development through the alleviation of poverty and through education, health care and social justice. If this is our direction, it cannot be achieved through confrontation. We must adopt a path of moderation and a conciliatory approach to fight the common belief that Islam is a religion of militancy in conflict with modernization, democracy and secularism. All this must be done with a realization that, in the world we live in, fairness does not always rule.

The Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) is our collective body. We need to infuse new life into it; it is now in a state of near impotence. The OIC must be restructured to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to fulfill the aspirations of the Muslim world and to take us toward emancipation. Forming a committee of luminaries to recommend a restructuring of the OIC is a big step in the right direction. We have to show resolve and rise above self-interest for our common good — in the very spirit that Islam teaches us.

The world at large and the powers that be must realize that confrontation and force will never bring peace. Justice must be done and be seen to be done. Let it not be said by future generations that we, the leaders of today, took humanity toward the apocalypse.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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