Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

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9/11 – Could we have decided otherwise?

August 24, 2011

By Pervez Musharraf – former President of Pakistan

Pakistan’s decision to join the US and the Coalition in Afghanistan in their attack on the Taliban remains a subject of intense debate. This is the decision we took after a thorough, deliberate and realistic appraisal of the obtaining geo-strategic realities, but it has drawn criticism and praise alike. With the latest upsurge in terrorist activity in Pakistan, the debate on the post-9/11 response of Pakistan has intensified. I, therefore, thought it my duty to lay bare facts in front of the people of Pakistan, so that with all the necessary information they could judge the situation more accurately. The decision of my government was indeed based on, and in conformity with, my slogan of ‘Pakistan First’.
Some people suggested that we should oppose the United States and favour the Taliban. Was this, in any way, beneficial for Pakistan? Certainly not! Even if the Taliban and Al-Qaeda emerged victorious, it would not be in Pakistan’s interest to embrace obscurantist Talibanisation. That would have meant a society where women had no rights, minorities lived in fear and semi-literate clerics set themselves up as custodians of justice. I could have never accepted this kind of society for Pakistan. In any case, judging by military realities one was sure that the Taliban would be defeated. It would have been even more detrimental for Pakistan to be standing on the defeated side.
The United States, the sole superpower, was wounded and humiliated by the 9/11 Al-Qaeda terrorist attack. A strong retaliatory response against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan was imminent.

I was angrily told, by the US, that Pakistan had to be ‘either with us or against us’. The message was also conveyed to me that ‘if Pakistan was against the United States then it should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age.’

This was the environment within which we had to take a critical decision for Pakistan. My sole focus was to make a decision that would benefit Pakistan in the long run, and also guard it against negative effects.

What options did the US have to attack Afghanistan? Not possible from the north, through Russia and the Central Asian Republics. Not from the west, through Iran. The only viable direction was from the east, through Pakistan. If we did not agree, India was ever ready to afford all support. A US-India collusion would obviously have to trample Pakistan to reach Afghanistan. Our airspace and land would have been violated. Should we then have pitched our forces, especially Pakistan Air Force, against the combined might of the US and Indian forces? India would have been delighted with such a response from us. This would surely have been a foolhardy, rash and most unwise decision. Our strategic interests – our nuclear capability and the Kashmir cause – would both have been irreparably compromised. We might even have put our very territorial integrity at stake.

The economic dimension of confronting the United States and the West also needed serious analysis. Pakistan’s major export and investment is to and from the United States and the European Union. Our textiles, which form 60 percent of our export and earnings, go to the West. Any sanctions on these would have crippled our industry and choked our economy. Workers would lose their jobs. The poor masses of Pakistan would have been the greatest sufferers.

China, our great friend, also has serious apprehensions about Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The upsurge of religious extremism emboldening the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in China is due to events in Afghanistan and the tribal agencies of Pakistan. China would certainly not be too happy with Pakistan on the side of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Even the Islamic Ummah had no sympathy for the Taliban regime; countries like Turkey and Iran were certainly against the Taliban. The UAE and Saudi Arabia – the only two countries other than Pakistan that had recognised the Taliban regime – had become so disenchanted with the Taliban that they had closed their missions in Kabul.

Here, I would also like to clear the notion that we accepted all the demands put forward by USA.

On September 13th 2001, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, brought me a set of seven demands. These demands had also been communicated to our Foreign Office by the US State Department.

1. Stop Al-Qaeda operatives at your borders, intercept arms shipments through Pakistan, and end all logistical support for bin Laden.
2. Provide the United States with blanket overflight and landing rights to conduct all necessary military and intelligence operations.
3. Provide territorial access to the United States and allied military intelligence as needed, and other personnel to conduct all necessary operations against the perpetrators of terrorism and those that harbour them, including the use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.
4. Provide the United States immediately with intelligence, immigration information and databases, and internal security information, to help prevent and respond to terrorist acts perpetrated against the United States, its friends, or its allies.
5. Continue to publicly condemn the terrorist acts of September 11 and any other terrorist acts against the United States or its friends and allies, and curb all domestic expressions of support [for terrorism] against the United States, its friends, or its allies.
6. Cut off all shipments of fuel to the Taliban and any other items and recruits, including volunteers, en route to Afghanistan, who can be used in a military offensive capacity or to abet a terrorist threat.
7.Should the evidence strongly implicate Osama bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan and should Afghanistan and the Taliban continue to harbour him and his network, Pakistan will break diplomatic relations with the Taliban government, end support for the Taliban, and assist the United States in the afore-mentioned ways to destroy Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network.Some of these demands were ludicrous, such as “curb all domestic expressions of support [for terrorism] against the United States, its friends, and its allies.” How could my government suppress public debate, when I had been trying to encourage freedom of expression?

I also thought that asking us to break off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan if it continued to harbour Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda was not realistic, because not only would the United States need us to have access to Afghanistan, at least until the Taliban fell, but such decisions are the internal affair of a country and cannot be dictated by anyone. But we had no problem with curbing terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We had been itching to do so before the United States became its victim.

We just could not accept demands two and three. How could we allow the United States “blanket overflight and landing rights” without jeopardising our strategic assets? I offered only a narrow flight corridor that was far from any sensitive areas. Neither could we give the United States “use of Pakistan’s naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders.” We refused to give any naval ports or fighter aircraft bases. We allowed the United States only two bases – Shamsi in Balochistan and Jacobabad in Sindh – and only for logistics and aircraft recovery. No attack could be launched from there. We gave no “blanket permission” for anything.

The rest of the demands we could live with. I am happy that the US government accepted our counterproposal without any fuss. I am shocked at the aspersion being cast on me: that I readily accepted all preconditions of the United States during the telephone call from Colin Powell. He did not give any conditions to me. These were brought by the US ambassador on the third day.

Having made my decision, I took it to the Cabinet. Then I began meeting with a cross section of society. Between September 18 and October 3, I met with intellectuals, top editors, leading columnists, academics, tribal chiefs, students, and the leaders of labour unions. On October 18, I also met a delegation from China and discussed the decision with them. Then I went to army garrisons all over the country and talked to the soldiers. I thus developed a broad consensus on my decision.

This was an analysis of all the losses/harms we would have suffered. if we had taken an anti-US stand. At the same time, I obviously analysed the socio-economic and military gains that would accrue from an alliance with the West. I have laid down the rationale for my decision in all its details. Even with hindsight, now, I do not repent it. It was correct in the larger interest of Pakistan. I am confident that the majority of Pakistanis agree with it.

Source: The Nation

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نائن الیون۔ کیا ہم کوئی دوسرا فیصلہ کرسکتے تھے؟

June 6, 2011

جنرل(ر) پرویز مشرف

پاکستان کا امریکہ اور اسکے اتحادیوں کا افغانستان میں طالبان کیخلاف حملے میں ساتھ دینا ایک بحث طلب معاملہ ہے۔یہ فیصلہ ہم نے جیو سٹرٹیجک حقائق کومکمل طورپر مدنظر رکھتے ہوئے کیا لیکن اس فیصلے پر تعریف اور تنقید دونوں کی جارہی ہیں۔ پاکستان میں دہشت گردی کے حالیہ واقعات کے بعد پاکستان کا نائن الیون کے حملوں کے بعد کا ردعمل زیادہ اہمیت اختیار کرگیا ہے۔اس لئے میں اپنا فرض سمجھتا ہوں کہ پاکستانی عوام کو تمام ضروری معلومات سے آگاہ کروں تاکہ وہ صورتحال کا بہتر طورپر ادراک کرسکیں۔ میری حکومت کا امریکہ کا ساتھ دینے کا فیصلہ درحقیقت میرے ماٹو ”سب سے پہلے پاکستان“ پر مبنی تھا۔ کچھ لوگوں نے مشورہ دیا کہ ہمیں امریکہ کی مخالفت کرتے ہوئے طالبان کاساتھ دیناچاہئے کیا یہ کسی بھی طرح پاکستان کے حق میں تھا؟ یقینی طورپر نہیں۔ اگر القاعدہ اور طالبان کو اس جنگ میں فتح ہوبھی جاتی تو بھی یہ پاکستان کے مفاد میں نہیں تھا کہ وہ طالبانائزیشن کو اختیارکرتا۔ طالبانائزیشن اختیار کرنے کا مطلب ہوتا کہ ہم ایک ایسے معاشرے میں رہ رہے ہیں جہاں خواتین کو کوئی حقوق حاصل نہیں، ا قلیتیں خوف کی حالت میں رہیں نیم پڑھے لکھے عالم انصاف کے رکھوالے بن جائیں ۔ میں اس قسم کی صورتحال کو پاکستان کیلئے کبھی بھی پسند نہ کرتا۔
فوجی نقطہ نظر سے یہ با ت واضح تھی کہ طالبان کو اس جنگ میں یقینی طورپر شکست ہوناہے اور پاکستان کیلئے یہ بہت نقصان دہ ہوتا کہ وہ ایک شکست خوردہ فریق کا ساتھ دیتا۔دنیا کی تنہا عالمی طاقت امریکہ نائن الیون کے حملے کے بعد زخمی اور شرمندہ ہوچکا تھا۔ افغانستان میں القاعدہ اور طالبان کیخلاف شدید ردعمل ناگزیر ہوچکا تھا۔ مجھے امریکہ کی طرف سے سخت لہجے میں پیغام دیا گیا کہ پاکستان کو یا تو ہمارا ساتھ دینا پڑے گا یا ہماری مخالفت کرنا پڑے گی۔ مجھے یہ پیغام بھی دیا گیا کہ اگر پاکستان نے امریکہ کی مخالفت کی تو اسے بمباری کے ذریعے پتھر کے دور میں پہنچا دیا جائے گا۔
یہ وہ صورتحال تھی جس میں ہمیں پاکستان کے حوالے سے انتہائی اہم فیصلہ کرنا تھا۔میری پوری توجہ اس بات پر مرکوز تھی کہ ایک ایسا فیصلہ کیاجائے جس سے پاکستان کو طویل المدتی فائدہ ہو اور وہ ہر قسم کے منفی اثرات سے بچارہے۔
امریکہ کے پاس افغانستان پر حملہ کرنے کیلئے کیا آپشن تھے؟ وہ شمال کی طرف سے ایسا نہیں کرسکتا تھا کیونکہ وہاں روس اور وسطی ایشیا کی ریاستیں موجود تھیں۔ وہ مغرب کی طرف سے ایران کے راستے سے بھی ایسا نہیں کرسکتا تھا۔ وہ صرف پاکستان کے ذریعے افغانستان پر حملہ کر سکتا تھا۔ اگر ہم راضی نہ ہوتے تو بھارت ایسا کرنے کیلئے تیار تھا۔ امریکہ اور بھارت کا اتحاد پاکستان کو روند کر افغانستان تک پہنچتا۔ ہماری فضائی اور زمینی حدود کی خلاف ورزی کی جاتی۔ کیاہم اپنی فوج کے ذریعے امریکہ اور بھارت کی مشترکہ قوت کا مقابلہ کرتے؟ بھارت ہماری طرف سے ایسے ردعمل پر بہت خوش ہوتا۔ یہ ایک مکمل طورپر بے وقوفانہ اور غیر عقلمندانہ ردعمل ہوتا۔ ہمیں اپنے سٹرٹیجک مفادات…. اپنی ایٹمی قوت اور کشمیر کے حوالے سے نقصان اٹھانا پڑتا۔ ہماری علاقائی خود مختاری بھی داﺅ پر لگ سکتی تھی۔
امریکہ اور مغرب سے ٹکراﺅ کے نتیجے میں اقتصادی صورتحال پر بھی سنجیدگی سے غور کرنے کی ضرورت ہے۔ پاکستان کی اہم برآمدات کا ذریعہ امریکہ اور یورپی یونین ہیں اور ہمارے ملک میں زیادہ سرمایہ کاری بھی وہیں سے ہوتی ہے۔ ہماری ٹیکسٹائل جو کہ ہماری برآمدات کا 60فیصد ہے وہ بھی یورپ کو برآمد کی جاتی ہیں۔ اس پرکسی بھی قسم کی پابندی سے ہماری صنعت کا گلا گھونٹا جاسکتا تھا۔ مزدوروں کی ملازمتیں کھو جاتیں۔ پاکستان کے غریب عوام کو اسی کا سب سے زیادہ نقصان ہوتا۔
ہمارے اہم ترین دوست چین کو بھی القاعدہ اور طالبان کیخلاف شدید تحفظات ہیں۔ چین میں مشرقی ترکستان اسلامک موومنٹ کی وجہ بھی افغانستان اور ہمارے قبائلی علاقوں کے واقعات ہیں۔ اگر ہم القاعدہ اور طالبان کا ساتھ دیتے تو چین بھی ہم سے خوش نہ ہوتا۔مسلم اُمہ بھی طالبان حکومت سے کوئی ہمدردی نہیں رکھتی تھی ترکی اور ایران طالبان کے سخت خلاف تھے۔ پاکستان کے علاوہ صرف متحدہ عرب امارات اور سعودی عرب نے طالبان حکومت کو تسلیم کیا تھا۔ لیکن وہ بھی طالبان سے اس قدر مایوس ہوئے تھے کہ انہوں نے کابل میں اپنے سفارتی مشن بند کردئیے تھے۔
یہاں میں یہ بات بھی واضح کرناچاہوں گا کہ ہم نے امریکہ کی جانب سے پیش کردہ تمام مطالبات تسلیم کرلئے تھے۔ 13ستمبر2001 کو پاکستان میں امریکی سفیر وینڈی چیمبر لین میرے پاس سات مطالبات لیکر آئیں یہ مطالبات امریکی وزارت خارجہ کی جانب سے ہمارے فارن آفس کو بھی بھجوائے گئے تھے۔ جو مندرجہ ذیل تھے۔
1۔ اپنی سرحدوں پر القاعدہ کے کارکنوں کی سرگرمیاں روکی جائیں پاکستان کے راستے ہتھیاروںکی سپلائی کو روکاجائے اور بن لادن کیلئے ہرقسم کی لاجسٹک سپورٹ کا خاتمہ کیاجائے۔
2۔ امریکہ کو تمام ضروری فوجی اور انٹیلی جنس آپریشنز کیلئے پروازوں اور لینڈنگ کے حقوق فراہم کئے جائیں۔
3۔ امریکہ اور اتحادی فوجی انٹیلی جنس کو ضرورت کے مطابق اور دیگر فوجیوں کو دہشت گردوں اور ان کے سرپرستوں کیخلاف تمام ضروری آپریشنز کرنے کیلئے زمینی رسائی فراہم کی جائے جس میں پاکستان کی نیول پورٹس، ائیر بیسز اور سرحدوں پر سٹرٹیجک لوکیشنز بھی شامل ہوں۔
4۔ امریکہ کو فوری طورپر ایسی تمام انٹیلی جنس امیگریشن انفارمیشن اور ڈیٹا بیسز اور داخلی سلامتی کے بارے میں اطلاعات فراہم کی جائیں جن سے امریکہ اس کے دوستوں اور اتحادیوں کیخلاف دہشت گردانہ سرگرمیوں کو روکنے اور ان کا جواب دینے میں مدد مل سکے۔
5۔11ستمبر کے دہشت گرد اقدامات اور امریکہ ،اسکے دوستوں اور اتحادیوں کیخلاف کسی بھی قسم کی دہشت گردی کی کھلے طور پر مذمت کا سلسلہ جاری رکھا جائے اور امریکہ ،اس کے دوستوں یا اسکے اتحادیوں کیخلاف دہشت گردی کی حمائت میں ہر قسم کے اظہار رائے کو روکاجائے۔
6۔ طالبان کو ایندھن اور دیگر اشیاءو ریکروٹس بشمول براستہ افغانستان ایسے رضا کاروں کی ترسیل کا سلسلہ منقطع کیاجائے جو فوجی حملے یا دہشت گردی میں مددگار کے طورپر استعمال کئے جاسکتے ہوں۔
7۔ اگر افغانستان میں اسامہ بن لادن اور القاعدہ نیٹ ورک کے سرگرم ہونے اور افغانستان کے طالبان کی جانب سے ان کی مدد کرنے کی ٹھوس شہادت ملے تو پاکستان طالبان حکومت سے سفارتی تعلقات توڑے گا اور طالبان کی حمائت ختم کردے گا اور اسامہ بن لادن اور القاعدہ نیٹ ورک کو بیان کردہ طریقوں کے مطابق تباہ کرنے میں امریکہ کی مدد کرے گا۔
ان میں بعض مطالبات مضحکہ خیز تھے جیسا کہ ایسے تمام داخلی اظہار رائے کا سدباب کیاجائے جس سے امریکہ اسکے دوستوں اور اتحادیوں کیخلاف دہشت گردی کی حمائت کا تاثر ملتا ہو بھلا میری حکومت عوامی اظہار رائے کو کیسے دبا سکتی تھی جبکہ میں اظہار رائے کی حوصلہ افزائی کیلئے کوشش کررہا تھا؟ میں نے یہ بھی سوچا کہ ہم سے یہ کہنا کہ افغانستان سے سفارتی تعلقات توڑ دئیے جائیں اگر وہ اسامہ بن لادن اور القاعدہ کی حمائت جاری رکھیں حقیقت پسندانہ نہیں کیونکہ افغانستان تک رسائی کیلئے نہ صرف امریکہ کو ہماری مدد کی ضرورت ہوگی کم سے کم طالبان حکومت کے خاتمہ تک۔ لیکن ایسے فیصلے کسی ملک کا داخلی معاملہ ہے اور کسی کی جانب سے اسے ڈکٹیٹ نہیں کیاجاسکتا تاہم دہشت گردی کو اس کی ہر شکل میں ختم کرنا ہمارے لئے کوئی مسئلہ نہیں تھا ہم امریکہ کے اس کا شکار ہونے سے پہلے ہی ایسا کرنے کی کوشش کررہے تھے۔
ہم دوسرا اور تیسرا مطالبہ تسلیم نہیں کرسکتے تھے ۔ہم امریکہ کو اپنی فضائی حدود میں کھلی پروازوں اور لینڈنگ کے حقوق اپنے سٹرٹیجک اثاثوں کو خطرے میں ڈا ل کر بھلا کیسے دے سکتے تھے؟ میں نے ایک کو ریڈور فراہم کرنے کی پیشکش کی جو ہمارے حساس علاقوں سے خاصے فاصلے پر تھا ہم امریکہ کو اپنی سرحدوں پر نیول پورٹس، ائیر بیسز اور سٹرٹیجک مقامات کے اعتدال کی اجازت بھی نہیں دے سکتے تھے ہم نے نیول پورٹس اور فائٹر طیارو ں کے اڈے دینے سے انکار کردیا ہم نے امریکہ کو بلوچستان میں شمسی اور سندھ میں جیک آباد کے دواڈوں کے صرف لاجسٹکس اور ائیر کرافٹ ریکوری کے استعمال کی اجازت دی ان اڈوں سے کوئی حملہ نہیں کیاجاسکتا تھا ہم نے کسی بھی مقصد کیلئے ” بلینکٹ پرمیشن“ نہیں دی۔
ہم باقی مطالبات پورے کرسکتے تھے اور مجھے خوشی ہے کہ امریکہ نے کسی اعتراض کے بغیر ہماری جوابی تجویز قبول کرلی۔ میں اپنے اوپر لگائے جانے والے اس الزام پر حیران ہوں کہ میں نے کولن پاول کی ایک فون کال پر امریکہ کی تمام شرائط مان لیں جبکہ انہوں نے مجھے کوئی شرائط پیش ہی نہیں کیں۔ یہ شرائط تیسرے روز امریکی سفیر لائی تھیں۔
میں نے اپنا فیصلہ کرنے کے بعد اسے کابینہ کے سامنے پیش کیا پھر میں نے سوسائٹی کے مختلف طبقوں سے ملاقاتیں شروع کیں18ستمبر اور3 اکتوبر کے درمیان میں نے دانشوروں ، ممتاز ایڈیٹروں ،کالم نگاروں، ماہرین تعلیم، قبائلی سرداروں، طلباءاور لیبر یونین کے رہنماﺅں سے ملاقاتیں کیں۔18اکتوبر کو میں نے چینی وفد سے بھی ملاقات کی اور فیصلے پر تبادلہ خیال کیا اس کے بعد میں ملک بھر کی فوجی چھاﺅنیوں میں گیا اور فوجیوں سے بات چیت کی اس طرح میں نے اپنے فیصلے پر وسیع اتفاق رائے پیدا کیا۔
یہ ان تمام ممکنہ نقصانات کا تجزیہ تھا جو ہمیں امریکہ کے خلاف فیصلہ کرنے کی صورت میں اٹھانے پڑتے اس طرح میں نے ان سماجی اقتصادی اور فوجی فوائد کا تجزیہ کیا جو مغرب سے اتحادی کے باعث ہمیں حاصل ہوسکتے تھے میں نے دانشمندی پر مبنی اپنے فیصلے کی تمام تفصیلات بیان کردی ہیں اور اب مجھے اپنے اس فیصلے پر کوئی پچھتاوا نہیں ہے پاکستان کے وسیع مفاد میں یہ درست فیصلہ تھا مجھے یقین ہے کہ پاکستانیوں کی اکثریت اس سے اتفاق کرے گی۔

Source: Nawa-i-Waqt

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Bush frustrated by Musharraf

November 12, 2010

Former US president George W. Bush has acknowledged that Pakistan “paid a high price for taking on extremists” and said its forces were successful for several years in targeting Al-Qaeda militants crossing the porous border with Afghanistan.

In his book “Decision Points” published Tuesday, Bush said he had “complex” relations with Pakistan and its former military leader Pervez Musharraf, who pledged to support the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Bush said: “Over time, it became clear that Musharraf either would not or could not fulfill all of his promises.”

“Some in the Pakistani intelligenceservice, the ISI, retained close ties to Taliban officials.

Others wanted an insurance policy in case America abandoned Afghanistan andIndia tried to gain influence there,” Bush wrote.

Bush said he grew frustrated by late in his presidency. He recalled a meeting withUS special forces returning from Afghanistan in which one troop pleaded with him, “We need permission to go kick some ass inside Pakistan.
“Bush said he could not reveal details of his decision but noted that the Predator, an unmanned predator drone, “was capable of conducting video surveillance and firing laser-guided bombs.”

“I authorized the intelligence community to turn up the pressure on the extremists.

Many of the details of our actions remain classified. But soon after I gave the order, the press started reporting more Predator strikes,” he wrote.
Musharraf raised controversy in 2006 when the United States threatened to bomb Pakistan “back to the Stone Age” if it did not lend support after the September 11 attacks.

In the memoir, Bush said Colin Powell, then secretary of state, called Musharraf on September 13, 2001 and told him he “had to decide whose side he was on” and gave him “non-negotiable demands” including breaking relations with the Taliban and denying Al-Qaeda havens inside Pakistan.

Bush said that Pakistan’s cooperation was impeded by its obsession with historic rival India. Both Bush and Obama have sought warmer relations with India.

“In almost every conversation we had, Musharraf accused India of wrongdoing,” Bush wrote.

Source: Today’s views

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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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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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India and Pakistan were close to a Kashmir solution: Musharraf to NDTV

October 9, 2010
London: Speaking exclusively to NDTV’s Group Editor Barkha Dutt, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has said that there is great public support in Pakistan for groups like the Laskhar-e-Toiba, but these groups were not raised during his tenure. 

Here’s the full transcript of the interview:

Barkha: The counter argument of course, and not to get trapped in that India- Pakistan stalemate, but the counter argument of course is that there is terrorism being imported across the Line of Control (LoC). Now, I want to ask you something about what you said this past week in an interview to a German magazine that grabbed Indian eyeballs at least. An admission for the first time of the world’s worst kept secret: that there are underground militant groups, not just trained in camps in Pakistan, but also sent across the LoC as the Pakistan army looks the other way. You have since said that you were misquoted, but many people believe that you actually spoke the truth. You never shied away from speaking the truth. When you were president, you actually tried to reduce infiltration across the LoC and those numbers have come down. So why renege on speaking the truth? Why are you trying to come back from what you said very honestly?

Musharraf: No, I didn’t say that they were. I said certain things which were taken as such. Now first of all saying that I was doing that, first of all that argument has to be killed. Mujahideen groups came into being after the freedom struggle in Kashmir started in 1989, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen are products of 1991…

Barkha: But Lashkar-e-Toiba is not an indigenous Kashmiri group. It’s a terrorist… 

Musharraf: But what I’m trying to prove is, associating me with doing that. I was nothing in 1991; I was a brigadier, so I could not in that interview certainly be saying that I was; my government was doing this. We came into being in 1999-2000. When Lakshar-e-Toiba, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e- Mohammed… when all this and many others came into being in the 1990s. Now many of them, Hizbul Mujahideen started from Kashmir.

Barkha: What is the Lakshar-e-Toiba as a group for you? For India it’s a terrorist organisation. For you what is it?

Musharraf: We will enter into a debate, where one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

Barkha: So is the Lakshar-e-Toiba a freedom fighter group for you?

Musharraf: From our point of view anyone who is fighting in Kashmir, your part of Kashmir, is a Mujahid who’s fighting for the freedom, for the rights of the people of Kashmir.

Barkha: Using acts of terror that often see innocent women, children killed?

Musharraf: As…as…as.. just a minute, as enshrined in the UN Charter, by the UN recognized as a dispute, okay. Now the other part: Terrorism; they are fighting against the Indian Army and Indian Army is killing the civilians. So who is the terrorist? Isn’t the Indian Army also a terrorist then? I think we are going to enter into a discussion where you won’t prove anything, I also won’t prove anything.

Barkha: I want to go beyond this because you have spoken extremism and terrorism being the key challenges before Pakistan, and the reason I ask about LeT is because after the Mumbai attacks of 26/11, we have the David Headley confessions or the interrogation report and we have independent CIA reports and they all talking about the involvement of the LeT and some say some even backing from not just sections of the ISI but even army majors who have been named in the Mumbai attacks. Now what do the Mumbai attacks have to do with Kashmir, and the LeT has been implicated in the Mumbai attacks.

Musharraf: Okay… Now yes I was talking of the history in the 1990s, these organisations came into being and they had great public sympathy. Everyone in Pakistan knew it, every individual in Pakistan knew that people are volunteering to go and they are going into Kashmir to fight the Indian Army.

Barkha: With the covert help of the Pakistan establishment?

Musharraf: No, I never said that. This is the point I was making. I never said that.

Barkha: How did they get across the Line of Control?

Musharraf: Have you been to the LoC?

Barkha: Often. And I know it is porous of course. I know it’s porous.

Musharraf: If even I go there today, at this age, even I will be able to cross; nobody will be able to detect me. I will be able to infiltrate and go deep inside okay. Because there are gaps and it’s a porous border. It’s a mountain area and the more north you go, and if you are capable of walking in the snow you can go across anywhere. Right? So they are capable of doing it and they are motivated and indoctrinated. People are themselves… they don’t need training – they themselves want to go; they want to learn and want to go. The turn came when I came on the scene in 1999-2000, and then 9/11 also happened. These people turned their guns inwards, towards Pakistan and me. Right? There were suicide attacks on me. That’s because I joined the coalition forces in Afghanistan, took a decision to join. And they turned their gun on me and that is before 9/11, I had bent many of the organisations. Right? But fighting against the Indian Army in Kashmir we call them Mujahideen, and we need to settle the Kashmir dispute because its enshrined in the UN, it’s a dispute recognised by the UN.

Barkha: Many people believe – on both sides, that your famous four point formula for Kashmir remains the only pragmatic template within which Kashmir can be resolved. Do you feel a little upset that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has kind of dismissed the theory, that this came quite close to a solution, and how close – if you can share more details with us than you have in the past. How close did our countries come to a solution?

Musharraf: You said it and let me tell you very proudly, those parameters are mine. I thought of them, because I realised that when I was talking to everyone on Pakistan side, the Indian side, the dispute is the Kashmir dispute. What is the solution? Not one of them ever gave me a solution. So therefore, that set me thinking, and that is where I came into this issue of demilitarisation, maximum self governance, this over-watch and all that, and making the LoC irrelevant. Now you asked me how close we were, we were as close as drafting the final agreement.

Barkha: Were there drafts shared on both sides?

Musharraf: Yes, of course, through back channel. Yes, we were discussing. Some good English was required; I wish you were there to form some sentences.

Barkha: What was the block? Why did it suddenly fall through? Why did it not go through? Why is the present government denying the existence of any such draft?

Musharraf: Who is denying?

Barkha: When we pose this question to the PPP government in Pakistan they say there is no paper.

Musharraf: What does your government say?

Barkha: I think our government indicates that this four point formula was a template and we were almost there.

Musharraf: I mean frankly I don’t want to get involved in that. I’ve told you…(Interrupted by Barkha)

Barkha: No. Where did it fall through? What was the stumbling block?

Musharraf: As I said we were drafting and in fact on the other two issues we could have signed any day.

Barkha: Which were the other two issues?

Musharraf: Siachen, and Sir Creek, we could have signed any day. We carried out the joint survey by the two navies of the Sir Creek area and we know exactly the disputed area in the land and in the sea. A joint survey and we could have reached an agreement. On Siachen, where we needed to withdraw the forces and the demiliatrised zone, we could have reached an agreement. I mean if the two leaders decide to sign they will, they can, and Kashmir was the issue….

Barkha: How close did it come on Kashmir? Was there a specific draft on Kashmir in the back channels, or given your four point formula?

Musharraf: Well it was being formed. The draft was being formulated, that is the good thing, and it was being formulated in good spirit.

Source: NDTV

 

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Musharraf: More Troops in Afghanistan

September 25, 2009
By CHRIS CUOMO, CHRIS STRATHMANN and KATE McCARTHY [ABC News]

President Musharraf - The Hope for Progressive PakistanFormer Pakistani president Gen. Pervez Musharraf said that President Obama should have complied “yesterday” with Gen. Stanley A. McChyrstal’s recommendation to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

“I think you should take it immediately. You should have taken it yesterday,” Musharraf told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

Musharraf made his comments following the leak of McChrystal’s security assessment that called for additional U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan. In the assessment, McChrystal said more troops alone cannot achieve success “but will enable implementation of the new strategy. Conversely, inadequate resources will likely result in failure.”

In February, Obama authorized an additional 21,000 troops be deployed to Afghanistan and now he must decide if the situation requires even more.

Musharraf said he “absolutely” believes there need to be more troops in Afghanistan.

Sending more troops could also mean an increase in casualties, something Musharraf says the United States should be prepared for.

“We must avoid, as much as possible, casualties. But when soldiers move and armies act, casualties will be there, and we should accept casualties,” Musharraf said.

“We have to win,” the former general said. “And quitting is not an option.”

Musharraf even proposed what he called a “drastic” measure to secure the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“As far as I’m concerned, we should mine it so that people can’t go across,” Musharraf said.

While he acknowledged that mines are a controversial weapon, Musharraf argued that it is an “unusual war.”

Musharraf dismissed Afghanistan’s long history of defeating foreign armies, including the Soviet army in the 1980s.

“There’s always a first time,” Musharraf said.

He argued the United States could succeed where the Soviets failed because “the whole world” was helping insurgents fight the Soviets.

At another point, the former Pakistani general said, “It was you who invaded and came into Afghanistan, so you better face it now and win there.”

When asked what the consequences would be if the United States withdrew from Afghanistan, Musharraf said it would result in destabilizing Afghanistan. He said the country would become the center of all al Qaeda “sanctuaries” and consequently could extend its influence into Pakistan and possibly even India.

Musharraf said he believes Obama has “intentions of improvement” since taking office.

“He’s saying the right things. He wants to focus more on Afghanistan, compared to Iraq, which is the right strategy at this moment,” Musharraf said. “He wants to reach out to the Muslims.”

Musharraf added that “we need to see [results] on ground.

Returning to Pakistan

Musharraf came to power in 1999 following a military coup and resigned in 2008 amid threats of impeachment after he removed a Supreme Court judge from the bench and imposed emergency rule on the country.

The former president said he “will return to Pakistan” despite the possibility of facing trial as soon as he sets foot in the country.

“Well, these are realities which one has to face. But however, I am very sure of one thing — that whatever I have done till now, constitutionally and legally, there is no charge against me,” Musharraf said.

When asked if he would try to return to power, Musharraf would not answer the question directly.

“Well, I give thought to what is happening in Pakistan. And I give thought to what the people of Pakistan are desiring, and I also give thought to whether I can do anything for Pakistan,” Musharraf said. “Collectively, I have to make a decision based on all these three elements.”

The former general, who is currently living in exile in London, is prohibited by law from running for political office until this December, two years after he took off his military uniform.

Should Musharraf decide to return to politics, he likely would face Nawaz Sharif, a political opponent and someone the former president called “abrasive” and confrontational.

“He has never been on good terms with any president of Pakistan, so I don’t know what kind of a mental make-up he has. But the man is abrasive against the other power brokers of Pakistan,” Musharraf said.

The former general even went so far as to call Sharif a “closet Taliban.”

“Even on Pakistan television these days, talk shows are going on saying that he has met Osama bin Laden five times — five times before 9/11 — and he has been financed by Osama bin Laden,” Musharraf said. “Then the other element is that he never speaks against terrorism and extremism.”

But when pressed for proof of Sharif’s meetings with bin Laden, Musharraf said he personally could not offer any.

“No, I can’t do that, but there are certainly there are people who vouch for it, who were present there,” Musharraf said.

Source: ABC News

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