Archive for the ‘Musharraf in USA’ Category


Musharraf refutes charges against ISI

November 14, 2010

WASHINGTON: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has rejected allegations that elements from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had supported the Taliban over the years, saying that such accusations were unhelpful in the fight against militants.

“It is absolutely wrong to say that the ISI is still connected to the Taliban. I can give proof that the Pakistan Army has suffered over 2,500 deaths for which al Qaeda and the Taliban were responsible,” he said during a speaking tour of the US.

He admitted that he expected serious repercussions from Taliban elements on his possible return to Pakistan, because he had taken stringent action against them. While acknowledging that the army was unlikely to welcome him back, he said he wanted to return “through the mandate of the people.”

He also scoffed at being compared to current political leaders, especially Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif, adding that all elected governments have failed the country.

“The important thing for an elected government is to deliver to the people and to the state. If that is not happening, then it’s a problem,” Musharraf remarked.

“Unfortunately, the civil governments have never performed. And I repeat,  never performed in their history,” he added.

Referring to cases against him, he said that despite serious allegations, there were no cases against him in any court of Pakistan. Out of the many cases filed by the  PML-N, some have already fizzled out, while the rest were politically motivated. He vowed to defend all politically-inspired cases.

During other appearances before the US audiences, Musharraf criticised the response of President Asif Ali Zardari and the civilian government to floods that affected 21 million people.

When inquired about the US drone attacks in Pakistan, he stated, “Drone attacks violate

Pakistan’s sovereignty and have caused too many civilian deaths. I always suggested that the drones should be handed over to Pakistan.”

He also declared the statement of former prime minister Mir Zafarullah Jamali regarding Musharraf’s endeavours to have his portrait imprinted on currency notes as a sheer joke, adding that Jamali was either delirious or  was overwhelmed by Nawaz Sharif.

Source: The Express Tribune


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


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


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


Charlie Wilson’s War Part 2?

October 20, 2010

Pakistan’s Musharraf is launching a long-shot, long-distance bid to be president again


Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf hopes to retake the leadership of his country, and he is actively campaigning — in Texas.

The former president of Pakistan has a set of Houston meetings planned this week with wealthy Pakistani-Americans and corporate leaders.

He is scheduled to meet today with former President George H.W. Bush and Joanne King Herring, a longtime advocate for development in Afghanistan and Pakistan who was played by actress Julia Roberts in the film Charlie Wilson’s War.

Musharraf, a London resident since he relinquished his presidency in 2008, announced this month the creation of a new political party and a plan to run in Pakistan’s 2013 parliamentary elections.

But he has kicked off his campaign in the U.S., a decision that could say more about the perceived influence of the Pakistani-American community in cities such as Houston than Musharraf’s chances for success, experts say.

Musharraf said he believes connecting with Pakistanis in America will give him enough backing — financially and politically — to carry him to victory in Pakistan.

“I do need financial support, and I would ask the American Pakistani diaspora to support me … because I see darkness in Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “Because I don’t see a political party or a leader in Pakistan to be able to tackle the problems that Pakistan is facing.”

While Musharraf enjoys backing from the Pakistani-American elite, experts say he will be hard-pressed to develop a political base within his country and likely does not stand a chance against more established parties.

He is also in no position to campaign within Pakistan. Safety is a concern after multiple assassination attempts during his presidency, and he would likely face prosecution in connection with several criminal cases currently pending in Pakistani courts, experts said.

Still, Musharraf’s interest in wooing deep-pocketed Pakistani-Americans is revealing, said Walter Andersen, associate director of the South Asia program at John Hopkins University.

Not only do Pakistani-Americans play a role in financially supporting candidates, but their meetings in America are covered by Pakistani news media and seem to give politicians the idea that they are gaining traction, Andersen said.

Former Prime Ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif also visited U.S. communities while campaigning, he said.

“Whether it works is not important,” Andersen said. “The perception among them (politicians) is that it works.”

Wide-ranging itinerary

U.S. communities don’t play a visible role in Pakistani elections, but Musharraf could stand to gain from his current North America tour, said Jamal Elias, an expert on contemporary Pakistan and chairman of the religious studies department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Musharraf’s itinerary will include stops in Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Toronto. He visited Dallas last week.

“Appearing statesman-like is going to help him in Pakistan,” Elias said. “It’s not going to build a constituency, but it may help him.”

There are more than 75,000 people of Pakistani origin in the Houston area, which includes more than 800 doctors, executives in the energy and information technology industries and scores of business owners, according to the Consulate of Pakistan in Houston.

Many of them have in the past contributed financially to political parties in Pakistan and will likely do so again, said M.J. Khan, a former Houston city councilman and member of the Pakistani community.

Khan said he does not send money to Pakistani political candidates, but knows U.S. residents in Houston and elsewhere who do. “They’re an educated community, and they send a lot of resources to Pakistan,” Khan said. “So I think every politician in Pakistan feels the Pakistani-American community is an important group to reach out to.”

Tactics questioned

Some community members – including Sajjad Burki, president of a Houston chapter for a political party headed by Pakistani cricket star Imran Khan – were not sure of the former president’s legitimacy as a candidate. Burki questioned Musharraf’s campaign tactics and priorities.

“It doesn’t make sense for him to be creating a political party and campaigning abroad rather than campaigning in Pakistan,” he said.

Herring, who is hoping to build support for Musharraf’s candidacy, said she planned to back him because of his support for her development efforts in Afghanistan.

“I think that Musharraf is interested in my plan,” Herring said. “I know he is. He supports it.”

Seeks ‘legitimacy’

Musharraf, a retired general, said he hopes a possible election to office will give him “the legitimacy that maybe I didn’t have in the past” as someone who had seized control of the government in a 1999 military coup.

He spent much of a luncheon Tuesday discussing the threats to Pakistan created by instability and lack of development in Afghanistan. Asked how he would solve that and a host of other challenges, Musharraf paused and smiled at his audience.

“First of all, get me elected,” he said.

Source: Chron – Houston and Texas News


No regrets over Lal Masjid: Musharraf

October 17, 2010

DALLASFormer president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf has said that those who were killed in Islamabad’s Lal Masjid were terrorists and insisted that no woman was killed during that operation, adding that out of 150 only 94 terrorists, including two foreign nationals, were killed in the July 2007 encounter.

The former president was addressing a public meeting of All Pakistan Muslim League in Dallas on Saturday. The former general dwelt at length on Pakistan’s political situation and the issues of Dr Qadeer and Taliban.

Musharraf clarified that he had never apologised for the Lal Masjid episode. According to him, Lal Masjid was a “den of terrorists” and as a head of state it was his duty to restore the writ of the state. He said that the government tried its best to settle the Masjid issue peacefully. “We also invited the Imam of Ka’aba for mediation, but all in vain. Since, we never wanted to turn Pakistan into a Taliban state, we took action”.

“I have apologised on the issue of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which I had to accept on the advice of my political advisers.”

The former president said that when he was in uniform, people called him a dictator. Pointing at himself, he said that “dictatorship lies in the brain, and it is a mindset and uniform has got nothing to do with it”.

Referring to Dr Qadeer’s confession, the former dictator termed the nuclear scientist “a liar”, adding that Dr Qadeer “sold” nuclear secrets to three countries and he (Musharraf) had valid proof.

Denying that his government had harassed the nuclear scientist, he said that whatever Dr Qadeer had said on television he had done so voluntarily and he was not forced to do so, said Musharraf.

“I saved Dr Qadeer because he is a national hero, and I also consider him national hero,” he said, adding: “It is also a fact that he (Qadeer) made mistakes.”

The public meeting was also addressed by Coordinator of APML’s Dallas coordinator Javed Siddiqui. As many as 500 people attended the public meeting.

Earlier, General Musharraf was received by party leaders Ameer Sukhano, Dr Hassan, Dr Tasnim Agha, Naeem, Nadeem Akhter Azeem Siddiqui Tanvir Malik, Dr Arjumand, Khalil Qureshi Muhammad Ali Siddiqui, Nadem Chaudhry and others.

Source: Express Tribune


U.S. Should Not Withdrawal Quickly From Afghanistan, Musharraf Tells Seminar Attendees

October 15, 2010
By Joseph Straw

An abrupt U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will bring the same fallout as its 1989 departure after a proxy war with the Soviet Union: instability with ripples of violent extremism around the globe, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said during his keynote address Thursday before the ASIS International 56th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Dallas.

“We are at the threshold of making a decision of whether to quit or not to quit in Afghanistan,” Musharraf told a packed hall at the Dallas Convention Center. “I have told you about the blunder of the past. I pray to God that we do not make another blunder.”

Musharraf, a former general in the Pakistani army, led his nation from 2001 through 2008, serving as a key ally in the post-9-11 U.S. led war on terrorism. He currently lives in self-imposed exile in England, but earlier this month announced the formation of a new political party, and plans to run again for the presidency at home.

Despite billions in U.S. humanitarian aid to Pakistan in the wake of the July floods that affected an estimated 21 million, recent polling indicates that 59 percent of Pakistanis view the United States as their enemy. Musharraf traced the sentiment back to the departure at the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, in which Pakistan supported Mujahideen rebels along with the United States.

“People in the streets of Pakistan thought we had been used and betrayed,” he said, emphasizing that animosity toward the U.S. does not imply sympathy for Islamic extremists.

The poll, however, conducted by the Pew Research Center and released in July, found that more than half of Pakistanis have a favorable view of al Qaeda, and 65 percent a favorable view of the Taliban.

In Afghanistan, Musharraf traces the persistent political instability and violence to the coalition’s installment in 2001 of Northern Alliance members—tribal Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras—in government, to the exclusion of Pashtuns, in part because the Taliban consisted exclusively of Pashtuns. Musharraf said he repeats again and again: “All Taliban are Pashtuns. But not all Pashtuns are Taliban.”

Key to success in Afghanistan is engagement of Pashtuns and their democratic inclusion in government as a majority. That requires bargaining from a position of strength, which the U.S.-led coalition currently lacks.

After his speech Musharraf told Security Management that achieving that position requires direct engagement of Pashtun tribal maliks, or chieftains. With their allegiance, armed Pashtun tribes may be enlisted in the fight.

Addressing counterterrorism, Musharraf—who vehemently opposes the current U.S. military and intelligence operations just inside his country—compared the capture or killing of single terrorists as plucking leaves from a tree, and the elimination of entire terrorist groups to sawing off branches. Elimination of terrorism, he said, requires a holistic approach that incorporates a military element, but focuses on three root issues: existing national political grudges, sub-national conflicts, and the persistent lack of education and economic opportunity.

Top priorities should Musharraf return to power include jump starting the Pakistani economy and fighting terror, which he said are interrelated.

“We have to turn around the economy. The backbone of any socioeconomic development is the economy…The economy means drawing investment from abroad, and investment doesn’t come when there’s turmoil in the country. We won’t be able to succeed in any direction if we don’t defeat terrorism and extremism,” Musharraf said.

In introducing Musharraf, ASIS President Joseph R. Granger, CPP, security director of the United Space Alliance, noted TIME magazine’s assessment that as president of Pakistan Musharraf held the most dangerous job in the world. While two attempts on Musharraf’s life have been publicly reported, Musharraf toldSecurity Management that there have been more. Should he return to Pakistan, he does so a marked man. This week rival Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) President Talal Bugti, alleging crimes against humanity, placed a bounty on Musharraf’s head worth $1 billion and 100 acres of farmland.

Asked about the danger, Musharraf remarked lightheartedly that he could use the protection of ASIS’s membership. Taking a more serious tone, he told Security Management that he has accepted the constant threat of a violent death.

“Maybe I’ve got thick skin, but I can face dangers. And for the sake of the country we love so much—everyone loves his own country—dangers and risks have to be taken,” Musharraf said. “Where there is no risk there is no gain, as they say. I believe in that.”

Source: Security Management

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