General Pervez Musharraf in India – Part 3

 

Ex- President General Pervez Musharraf was invited by India today Group to deliver a Dinner key note address: ‘The Challenges of Change’ at the India Today Conclave held at Taj Palace Hotel, In New Delhi on Saturday, 7 March 2009. 

He travelled to India to confront the most hostile but august audience that he was honoured to address and won a day for Pakistan in a Q/A session. 

Video Link: 

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php?option=com_magazine&opt=section&sectionid=86&sec=42&videoid=31731&start_bottom=10&ptype=video

 

Transcript of Q&A with Pervez Musharraf

Arun Poorie: You are here as a messenger of peace. What did you do about it in the nine years when you were in power?

 

Musharraf: Let’s stop the blame game. We need to look at the reality, forget the past and look ahead. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I can tell you I tried my best for peace between India and Pakistan. I was never negative when the opportunity for peace came to me.

 

Arun Poorie: What plans do you have about the future?

 

Musharraf: To me, the core issue is confidence building by greater people to people affinity. Once the confidence is there, we should move towards resolving the core issues, and stop meddling with the internal affairs of each other’s country.

 

Arun Poorie: What do you have to say about what happened on 26/11 in Mumbai?

 

Musharraf: Let’s stop the war hysteria. Just a day into the investigations, the Pakistani army and the ISI was blamed for it. I am for a considered and matured response to these issues. As far as the investigations is concerned, Pakistani government should fully cooperate and the guilty should be punished.

 

Arun Poorie: Are there any terrorist camps in Pakistan?

 

Musharraf: See we have done damage to each other. I am aware of what the Indian Embassy is doing in Jalalabad and Kandahar. A terrorist from Kabul has been received by Indian intelligence agencies in India and looked after. I have documents to show this. Let us stop the blame game. India is a big country. You try to do damage to us, we will do damage to you. We should address the trust deficit between the two countries. The ISI does the same thing as the RAW does. There is no distinction.

 

Ravi Shankar Prasad: In the face of the present situation, do you see Taliban taking over Pakistan?

 

Musharraf: Areas in North West Frontier (Province) where the problem is, account for less then one per cent of the population. There is no danger of Taliban taking over Pakistan politically.

 

Arun Poorie: What specific confidence building measures do you have for the future?

 

Musharraf: We need to look at strategic issues. We will have to address water issue which would develop into a new conflict between the nations. We have to stick to the Indus Valley treaty.

 

Soli Sorabjee: Will you handover Dawood Ibrahim to us as a confidence building measure?

 

Musharraf: This is a small issue. I do not know if he is there. I too have a long list of people that india needs to give us. The role of Indian Embassy in Afghanistan in Jalalabad and Kandhar is not good either.

 

Individuals are a small issue. We need to look at strategic issue. I do not think handing over Dawood will change anything. (When asked to try) I know it will not help in easing tensions between the two nations, if that happens then you will have to handover Dawood back to Pakistan (laughs).

 

Rahul Kanwal: A conversation of Gen Kayani, the army chief, who succeeded you has been intercepted where he said Taliban is a ’strategic asset’?

 

Musharraf: This is a lie. He cannot say that. I challenge them to show me the proof. It is a lie.

 

Amar Singh: When our (then) PM Vajpayee travelled to Lahore by bus to Lahore for friendship, Kargil happened. Now you say you are for peace?

 

Musharraf: I would not like to comment on this issue. I have dealt with this matter in my book.

 

Shekhar Gupta: Compare your years in power with that of Zia ul Haq.

 

Musharraf: The comparison cannot be done as the situation and ground realities were very different in both times. You must understand that Pakistan is not the perpetuator of terror but a victim of terror in the last 30 years.

 

Question: How is it to live in Pakistan and not be in charge?

 

Musharraf: It’s good. I am relaxed. The most difficult job was to take decisions in highly complex situations. Now I read about them in the papers.

 

General VP Malik: What are the chances the army taking over Pakistan again? How can India help Pakistan in its problems?

 

Musharraf: It is the internal matter of Pakistan. The political leadership can deal with the situation. I would not like to comment on that. India can help Pakistan by not carrying out maligning Pakistani army and ISI in the world.

 

Source: India today

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Prevez Musharraf in India- Part 2

 

Ex- President General Pervez Musharraf was invited by India today Group for a India Today Conclave; ‘The Challenges of Change’. He addressed the audiance at a Dinner address note at Taj Palace Hotel, In New Delhi on Saturday, 7 March 2009.

 

Following is the Transcript of address by General Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan

 

Video Link :

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php?option=com_magazine&opt=section&sectionid=86&secid=42&videoid=31708&start_bottom=0&ptype=video

Transcript:

 

 

 

Bismillah Rehman Ur Rahim. Aroon Puri Sahab, excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. It is indeed my proud privilege to be speaking to such an august gathering. I would like to express my gratitude first of all to Aroon Purie sahab for having invited me and then giving me this opportunity to speak frankly to this august gathering. I would also like to express my gratitude to all of you for being here together and for honouring me.  I would also like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the officials of Government of India for all the care that they have taken and they are taking for my security and protocol.  Thank you very much ladies & gentlemen.The subject that I have been given to speak is indeed the challenge of change. I am presuming, obviously, that the challenge of change in the context of Indo-Pakistan relations and not the world.  So therefore, I presume ki yeh ek apas ki baat hain, apas ki baat karni hai and we have to be very frank and forthright in this apas ki baat. The subject indeed is most apt. It is apt because it rally depicts what is happening in the world, in our region and also may I say in our respective countries and there is an urgent requirement of a change. But when we say change, I take it implies breaking the status-quo, burying the past, moving forward positively. That, to be exact, is the essence of my speech or my lecture today. 
Ladies & gentlemen, I stand for peace. Peace between Indian and Pakistan, whether you believe it or not, irrespective of all the cover, what you have said on the cover. And I mean every word of it again whether you believe it or not. I stand for peace, for the sake of the whole world, which today considers our region as a nuclear flashpoint. I stand for peace for the sake of our region, the South Asian region, where progress and development is tied to harmony between India and Pakistan. I stand for peace for the sake of the people of our two countries. The down-trodden, toiling masses of India and Pakistan and I stand for peace for the sake of our future generation to whom we owe a better life and a better environment. 

Yes, indeed Mr. Aroon Purie, I was being advised against coming, even by my daughter – because of her concern for me nothing else. Because of her concern for me against the extremist reactions, negative reactions by the extremists on both sides, in India and Pakistan.  But I decided to come. I decided to come to prove a point that the extremist must not have their way.  We the moderates must guide events. We the moderates must stand for resolution of all issues, of all disputes, between us for everlasting peace and we must not allow the extremist to create obstacles in the way of that peace of that direction towards peace. I know that the people of Pakistan desire peace, I know it for sure and I would like to tell all of you that, that is the reality.  But they would like to have peace with honour and dignity, not a peace through coercion – a peace with sovereign equality. 

Ladies & gentlemen, my credentials as a man for peace, you must differentiate a man of peace from a man for peace. I can’t be a man of peace because I have been solider. So I am a man of war but I am a man for peace and my credentials are proven by all my actions, the action that I have been taking in all the years that I have been at the helm of affairs. It was I who started/initiated the thawing of the relations between India and Pakistan. When I rang up Prime Minister Vajpayee after your most unfortunate earthquake in the year 2000 in Gujarat and I offered support from Pakistan. It was again Prime Minister Vajpayee and myself, I who finalized the draft joint declaration after the Agra Summit in July 2001 which would have formed the basis for durable peace.

The drafting of this declaration was indeed done at the highest level, by me myself, Foreign Minister of Pakistan Mr. Abdus Sattar, Prime Minister Vajpayee and your Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh sahab. We did the drafting. It is just unfortunate that some force behind the scene sabotaged this attempt twice where we could not finally reach an agreement on this joint declaration. Subsequently, we again went into the cold situation of the past, till a very unfortunate occurrence of the attack on your Parliament in December 2001 and what followed was very furious indeed. Firstly you went for a troop build-up, all the Indian forces moved on our border, including the forces on the Eastern command and we reciprocated of course.  So there was a force stand of for almost one long year between us with the forces eye-ball to eye-ball contact.

Another thing that happened and I saw was that all along this one year there was a war hysteria that was whipped up in the public in India and if I may be allowed to say, by whom.  By your political leadership and also the media.  If I was to take a dig at India Today, maybe your magazine or your India Today also, that was the situation here.  On our side, I tried my utmost to cool tempers.  And you can read any of my statements or whatever I did, my actions.  If you remember, my role was positive throughout. In January, just one and half months after this and during this stand of I decided to go for a handshake with Prime Minister Vajpayee at Katmandu during the SAARC summit in January 2002, to defuse the situation.  And throughout this one year I was insisting on de-escalation, reduction of tension, I was asking for dialogue. 

Ultimately, ladies and gentlemen war was averted.  Thank God!  These peace overtures finally led to the SAARC Summit in Islamabad in January 2004 and it resulted in the Islamabad resolution which stipulated resumption of dialogue and initiating confidence building measures for resolving all our disputes.  That was very good.  But Ladies and Gentlemen we lost two and a half years since the Agra summit in July 2001.  So we restarted the same process.  We also started the back-channel diplomacy.  And then in India there was a change of Government – BJP lost and the Congress took over the reins of the Government.  The good thing was despite this change the peace process did not get derailed, it continued and we came for the Delhi summit between myself and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  That was in April 2005.  And after this Delhi summit we issued a joint statement which stipulated very importantly, the peace process being irreversible and that purposeful dialogue on Kashmir to be initiated for its final settlement.  That was all very good.  But again Ladies & Gentlemen, we lost another one and half years.  So if you see from the Agra Summit in July 2001 and now it was April 2005, we lost four years.  And again we were at the same point, good intentions of moving forward towards peace. 

If you allow, I would like to digress a little and give you a very interesting episode during this Delhi Summit where myself and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to see the one-day cricket match between India and Pakistan.  And there we were batting and Afridi, our great hitter whenever he is in form, was informed so he was hitting every ball for a six or a four to the boundary and the ball used to come near our enclosure every time.  It was very embarrassing  and whenever he hit, I would start looking left and right so that I avoid looking at, I don’t know what he is doing over there.  And the match continued and then we left and went for the official meeting and at the meeting, I told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, I said Mr. Prime Minister I suggest although we are not scheduled to go for the closing ceremony, let us go for the closing ceremony also and let us do the prize distribution.  He did talk about security problems, but then he very graciously agreed that we would go and I said very good and we started our discussion.  But during the meeting my MS, my Military Secretary always had instructions whenever there is match or some kind of interesting thing going on, keep me informed even during important discussions, so every time he would enter with a chit. Maybe Prime Minister Manmohan Singh thought that he is giving me some important discussion point, actually he was giving me the cricket score.  And I used to look at the chit and in that chit every time India loses two wickets, they are two down, the next chit comes after another half-an-hour, forty-five minutes, they have lost another one or two wickets. 

Finally, when they had lost eight wickets I told Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh, I said Mr. Prime Minister it appears that your team is sabotaging our attempts to go for the ceremony and that is exactly what happened when the team was all out before we could go.  However, please don’t take it that I am thinking that Pakistan team is great.  I think your team is a great team and they are playing much better than ours these days.  And Afreedi is not at all in form like he was at that time. 

So, coming back to the subject, Ladies & Gentlemen, we also took a lot of other bold steps.  I declared a unilateral ceasefire on the Line of Control, a unilateral ceasefire which was reciprocated by India, by you and it is still holding out.  We have save so many lives and so much loss of property.  The idea of the Srinagar Muzafarabad Bus Service and also opening of maybe five more routes for travel across the Line of Control and a transit trade relationship came from our side.  And also may I say after the devastating earthquake in Kashmir on both sides and our frontier province in 2005, I even said that we need to open the line of control totally for relief operation on both sides. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I very honestly and sincerely say that I was not doing all this for any showmanship or for any point scoring. I was doing all this with a very sincere understanding and a very sincere conviction that the path of peace is the right course to be adopted for Pakistan and for India and for this whole region and for the whole world. 

Ladies and Gentlemen we have done enough damage to each other over all these years since our coming into being.  We have fought three wars. We fought a number of mini wars and we have had a cold war throughout since 1947.  I strongly believe that we should try for peace now with equal zeal as we tried confronting each other.  The twenty-first century is a century of geo-economics they say and they also say that the nineteenth century belonged to Europe, the twentieth century belonged to the United States and they say that the twenty-first century belongs to Asia.  The question that comes to my mind is are we the South Asians poised to be a part of this Asian century of progress and development.  The answer that I gave to myself is no.  We are not, I am afraid we are not.  While South-east Asia, East Asia, North-east Asia, China, Australia they are all cooperating for economic development, South Asia, Central Asia, this region is out of the loop.  It is out of the loop because the only reason out of the loop because of Indo-Pakistan acrimony and hostility.  The three most serious challenges common to both India and Pakistan that we have to face together and separately in our respective countries are:-

(i)           The curse of terrorism and extremism

(ii)          Poverty and underdevelopment; and

(iii)         Hostility between our two countries.

These are the three issues I think which we have to address and resolve to move forward, together as I said and separately in our respective countries.  Our social indicators, maybe, are the worst in the world.  Maybe we are the most illiterate, most backward and the poorest.  There are hundreds of millions of people who live below the poverty line.  The situation indeed demands, bold and affirmative action.   We must overcome the burden of history.  That is what I feel to move forward.  We must look at the present realities and we must work for the future.  We have to cooperate to rise together and I have always said for the sake of the people, for the sake of toiling masses of our two countries, we can draw a lesson from Europe.  Europe was at each other’s throats.  They were warring for centuries, even outside their boundaries in other parts of the world, in South America, in Africa and in Asia they were warring with each other.  But then they realized the dividends of peace and may I say they decided to put aside the burden of history and therefore, now we see the European Union, their common currency the Euro and their cooperation for progress and development.  I think we need to learn a lesson from them.  We must also see the dividends of peace that will accrue. 

On the issue of trade, I think at the bilateral level there will be manifold increase in trade.  I am sure we all will agree.  In the few years of reproachma when during my tenure at the helm of affairs in Pakistan were our relations indeed irrespective of the covers, was the best ever between India and Pakistan, the relation between India and Pakistan I think in those years.  During those years, the trade, the importable items to Pakistan, I know increased from two hundred to one thousand four hundred.  That benefitted both sides Pakistan as well as India.  So, therefore, I know bilaterally the trade will increase manifold to our mutual advantage.  Intra-regionally, there will be interaction as far as Pakistan is concerned, maybe we have a road access to Nepal and Bangladesh.  As far as India is concerned, you will have a road access to Afghanistan.  Inter-regionally the South Asia and India in particular, could interact with Central Asia, could interact with the Gulf, could interact with Iran and IPI pipeline is the case in point. So certainly economically we stand to gain immeasurably.  On the defence side, there will be certainly a defence expenditure reduction, more resources diverted towards development, well-being and welfare of the people.  Our fight against terrorism and extremism will be more coordinated.  With cooperation from each other we will able to fight it more strongly. 

SAARC, the only organization representing South Asia will be rejuvenated from all points of view.  Tourism will boom especially religious tourism on both sides – there are so many people who would like to come to India and so many people in Pakistan and so many people in India you know because you have your revered Hindu shrines in Pakistan, Sikh shrines in Pakistan, Buddhist localities in Pakistan.  So there will be a tremendous boom on the tourism side. I don’t think we need anybody else coming in because there will be millions of people coming and going from our two countries.  The question that I ask myself – is such a dream of peace possible?  And the answer is yes indeed, it is possible.  But it is made difficult when we funnel public hatred within our public, for political expediency and also through a negative media, taking the public apart, increasing the gulf between the people of the two countries and the key to progress on peace lies in the affinity of the people of the two countries. If instead of bringing them closer to each other, if we were take actions where we are increasing the gulf between them – that is certainly not the direction of peace.  The start point in my mind is to reduce the trust deficit through very genuine confidence building measures. 

We must avoid hyper reaction.  We must avoid war hysteria, whipping up war hysteria in the public, creating hatred in the public because of any terrorist attack that may have taken place.  We must realize that we are the victims and we have to go for solutions together.  We are victims together of terrorism and extremism and we have to go together to solutions for terrorism and extremism.  So let us not create such a hysteria in our public where coming together becomes difficult, where cooperation on the issue of terrorism and extremism becomes almost impossible. 

Having done this, improving the environment, we must then take on resolution of disputes with true sincerity, flexibility and boldness.  These are the three qualities that are required because the last element, boldness, unless boldness is there sincerity and flexibility and understanding is useless and meaningless.  Because if you don’t have the boldness to go for the solution, and solutions may I say are very much possible, if our niyath and I am not purposely saying intention, because I don’t think niyat means intentions, it is far bigger, deeper than intentions.  Niyat comes from the heart, intention I think is only from the mind.  If the Niyat is there from the heart and minds, solutions to our problems are very much possible. 

I would like to give very short comments on each of our dispute.  And the first one that I want to take on is Kashmir itself.  We have to head for a solution.  I had given a formula which was my idea, which could form the basis for moving forward and taking it towards a solution and the formula included identifying the zones of Kashmir, going for graduated demilitarization, especially from the cities, going out of cities so that the people of Kashmir can heave a sigh of relief and giving maximum self-governance to the people of Kashmir and having some kind of an over-watch on the self-governance.  We thought of even making the Line of Control irrelevant.  I think this is another Berlin wall which needs to torn down and not kept as a water-tight Berlin wall where people cannot even meet each other families and relations.  

Then is the issue, and may I say lot of progress was made in the general direction that I have said and I am very proud of being a part of that progress that we made, Siachen is the other dispute.  I think it is the easiest to solve because I think both of us are suffering.  And may I hasten to add the Indian soldier is suffering far more than the Pakistani soldier because of the weather and terrain hazards that you face.  And also may I say that there is an environmental hazard now in Siachen where the glacier is melting down.  So for the sake of peace, for the sake of environment, we need to reach an accord.  We must disengage and demilitarize.  I think it can be done very easily. 

Sir Creek is the third issue/ dispute.  The significance of Sir Creek is no longer land it is more extended into the sea, into the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).  Well we have carried out a joint survey and completed the joint survey during my being at the helm of affairs.  And we certainly have a very clear idea of the problem.  We must go for a compromise solution, that is very much possible.  Even if in this zone, if all the mineral wealth of the world and all the oil and gas of the world is within this area that we are fighting for, we must find a common solution.  And it is very easy. 

Lastly is the water dispute.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I think futuristically this has potents of danger.  We must not open new fronts and we must stick to the water treaty, Indus Water Treaty.

Having identified the disputes, I feel we must show resolve to solve these disputes and to start and in the words of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “we must pick the threads again” from where we left and start moving forward.  We must start meetings for the dispute resolution at the Committees level and at the summit level.  We must also initiate confidence building measures without any loss of time, we must stop unconsidered accusations against each other and also we must stop meddling in each other’s domestic affairs.  And then we should also restart the back channel.  I think it is very useful. 

My hope, having said all this, Ladies and Gentlemen, is that the public and civil society at both ends, in India and Pakistan, and the media should play a positive role to put pressure on our respective Governments to go for peace, make progress towards resolution of disputes and ultimate peace.  In this globalized world we all understand the significance and the importance of the media.  The media can create perceptions on the positive side as well as the negative side.  It is the cry of the day and the environment today that the media must create positivity and be positive for the sake of, as I said the toiling masses, because peace will be a win-win for both, especially for the people of Pakistan and India.  So let the media and the political leadership show positivity. 

Having said all this, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am coming towards the close. I would be remiss if having travelled all the way from Islamabad to Delhi, and had this opportunity to address such an august gathering at this very prestigious India Today Conclave afforded by Aroon Purie sahab, I was not to open my heart to you and talk very frankly, not that I haven’t talked very frankly in the past, but I would like to go for some more frank talk.  And I do expect a very frank question and answer session, a very frank question session and a more frank answer session.

Firstly, Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a dire need of an attitudinal change, at both ends – more in India, less in Pakistan.  Please bear out with me.  We have to or you have to accept the reality and the sovereign equality of Pakistan, because I know that in some quarter this is not acceptable.  We have to change and we have to improve public perceptions of each other.  The perceptions of Pakistan in India are poor and I sincerely think so.  Why are there poor?  Why do you perceive Pakistan to be poor, to be bad from all points of view?  And I say this with authority having interacted with many Indians who have come to Pakistan and when I go abroad.  We see Pakistan bashing in your political campaigns.  We see Pakistan bashing, Pakistan army bashing, ISI bashing and maligning of our society in your media, including India Today Sir.  And I do read India Today, because you have a good magazine and certainly it is a lot of reading material.  It creates misperception of Pakistan in the public.  Therefore, whenever Indians come to Pakistan, and I have met so many of them, they get very pleasantly surprised when they see what we have in Pakistan and when they meet people, and their attitude, the attitudes of the people of Pakistan.  What I see that either the people who come there do not know us, they don’t know anything about Pakistan or they have very negative distorted impressions of Pakistan and many of them have told me that they thought that things are this, this, however they see that it is very different.

Also talking very frankly of attitudes, I remember when Advani sahab came to Pakistan and I think he praised or said some good words about Qaid-e-Azam, Mohd. Ali Zinnah, and I remember the uproar here in India and I think he was forced to resign or he was forced to do something or the other.  I am told by a very avid reader, a friend of mine, who comes here, he says he visits the book-stores, all book-stores.  He says that on Qaid-e-Azam, you will not find a positive book in the book-stores of India – I am talking about Delhi and other cities.  The one that he saw was, ‘Zinnah the man who broke India’.  I would like to ask you what drawing a simile, what should Pakistan’s attitude be towards Bangladesh for that matter.  We had a very violent separation.  Should we live in our history, hate each other.  I think we have buried the past.  We have undone this burden of history.  It was terrible.  In fact when I went to Bangladesh many years back and they took me to the monument of their 1971 monument, it is quite embarrassing for me.  I wrote there words to the effect that, maybe I am slipping up on a few words, that the courage needed to reconcile and compromise is far greater than that needed to confront and fight.  I am prepared to show that courage. I hope there is reciprocation.  I think we need to change this attitude of ours, between our two countries, show that courage to reconcile and compromise.

May I say that this hate campaign is to quite an extent one sided.  I don’t see any India bashing or very little India bashing in Pakistan’s political campaign. So I think we need to correct the situation, try to improve images of each other.  Because I believe we cannot as I said get closer and hope for peace if the people of the two countries hate each other or there is great divide or there is a gulf between the people.  As I said we have to create positivity and one hopes that all this august gathering the civil society of India and Pakistan, and the media of India and Pakistan create this positivity so that the people start getting closer towards each other.  And this was happening in the past few years but all these events of terrorism and extremism which I am going to talk now have created that negativity again which needs correction.  One does understand that India is a large country, you have very strong forces.  But Pakistan is also not a small country and our armed forces are also not of any mean strength.

So, therefore, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have to understand that Pakistan cannot be coerced; the people of Pakistan cannot accept and live with corerce.  India has to show magnanimity and humility and I know that you will gain in stature when you show magnanimity and humility in your bigness.  One cannot be a large country with a small heart. 

The second point that I want to make of the attitudinal change is that we have to resolve all our disputes, especially Kashmir, without any loss of time, because it is impacting negatively on our respective societies.  And I want to make two points on this issue of resolution of disputes.  Number one Ladies and Gentlemen, as I have learnt through my own job training of the eight-nine years, that resolution of disputes involves a give and take.  It cannot be a take and take.  And it is the give part which is the difficulty and that is where leadership demands, there is a demand on the leadership to be bold enough to give on both side, then only can you reach conclusions, otherwise you will never reach conclusions, you will never reach peace, you cannot resolve disputes if you think you can take everything.

The second point that I want to make in the resolution of disputes, fleeting opportunities, Ladies and Gentlemen, do not last forever.  They come for maybe a short period.  The demand on the leadership is to grasp that fleeting moment and that is why I said it needs boldness.  You cannot allow the fleeting moment to go by because it is not going to last forever.  So, I only hope that the leadership on both sides grasp fleeting opportunities and they bring peace above.

The last point that I want to make is on the issue of terrorism and extremism which indeed is a curse for all of us.  It has to be defeated.  But how?  How to defeat terrorism and extremism – in the world, in the region, in Pakistan, in India, how to defeat it?  Firstly, we have to have a very realistic and clear understanding of the root causes of terrorism and extremism.  And then addressing those root causes is the critical issue, otherwise Ladies and Gentlemen we will fail.  We can fight for centuries against terrorism as it exists now, if we don’t address the root causes, it will carry on and on and on.  We have to adopt a holistic approach towards eliminating terrorism and extremism and here I would like to point out, very frankly, that we must consider some ground realities in India also.  I am going to talk about Pakistan also.  Please don’t take it that I am just here to give a lecture to the Indians on what is happening here, I do understand the environment in Pakistan also.  But we have to understand these things, we have to talk very frankly about them, we have to understand them and we need to address them.  And if we all behave like Ostriches with our heads in the sand, well then we won’t reach any kind of peace. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Kashmir remains the key dispute and the sore point.  We had a freedom struggle since 1947 going on and from 1989 onwards this non-violent movement turned into a militant struggle.  This has a direct impact on Pakistan’s society.  There is an emotional involvement of the people of Pakistan with the people of Kashmir.  There is public sympathy in the people of Pakistan for the people of Kashmir.  Therefore, this has given rise to dozens of freelance mujahedeen groups and it is encouraging militancy in the Pakistan society which certainly needs to be controlled.  But the task of controlling these dozens of militant groups who have come up since 1989, is not easy, it is very difficult.  And I personally feel that dispute resolution is the only permanent solution and we must go to the dispute resolution. 

The story also does not end at Kashmir, Ladies and Gentlemen.  New phenomenon of terrorism and extremism have erupted in your society and in Pakistan’s society.  If you need to address the alienation and the frustration of the minoritisation, in general and the Muslims in particular, in India as a result of some prejudices, unequal opportunities, may be some atrocities are leading to extremism within the Muslim youth here.  This needs cognizance and correction at our level with the Government policies.  As I said please don’t think that I am not cognizant about what is happening in Pakistan’s society.  We face challenges from four facets of terrorism and extremism. 

We face the challenge of terrorism from Al Quida, we face the challenge of terrorism from militant Taliban, we face of the challenge of extremism of the Talibanisation of the Tribal districts of the frontier province, we face the challenge of extremism in our society.  I know that we evolved strategy to deal with each one of these four.  So please understand, I am talking very bluntly and in a straight-forward manner, but please understand that there are problems in India, there are problems in Pakistan, there are problems in this whole region and in the world.  We need to understand those core issues and the problems, strike and go for the resolution of those core issues, I always have been saying drawing a simile between terrorism and extremism with a tree. 

If you kill terrorists, wherever anything happens whether it is Bombay, Lahore or anywhere, you have plucked leaves of a tree. The leaves will grow again, maybe in great numbers.  If you are able to cut off any terrorist organization, you have chopped of one branch of that tree, the tree will continue to grow.  You have to get to the root of that tree, uproot that tree, then only will you end terrorism and extremism and that is root that I always keep talking about.  That is the root which the world has to understand and we have to understand in this region, you have to understand in your own country and we have to understand in our own country.  My belief has always been that terrorism is born from the womb of festering political disputes.



 




 

 

 

 

General Pervez Musharraf in India – Part 1

 

BY A Khokar,

Ex- President General Pervez Musharraf was invited by India today Group for a  Dinner key note address: ‘The Challenges of Change’ at the India Today Conclave held at Taj Palace Hotel, In New Delhi on Saturday, 7 March 2009.

Following is the Introduction speech by India Today Group Chairman & Editor-in-Chief, Aroon Purie.

Video Link Reception 

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/index.php?option=com_magazine&opt=section&sectionid=86&secid=42&videoid=31793&start_bottom=0&ptype=video

 

Transcript:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please join me in welcoming General Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan. At this particular moment of time, when India and Pakistan relations are probably the worst they have ever been, Delhi, to use a military term, is probably “hostile terrain” for you. But you have still ventured to come. I am not surprised given your commando training and its motto: Who dares win.

 

After the Lahore attacks on Sri Lankan players there were apparently suggestions that you shouldn’t visit India for security reasons. But as you told us when you landed in Delhi yesterday: “That would have been a plus for terrorists.”

 

And when I told you the rumour mills in Delhi were churning out that you were not coming. You said to me: “I always meet my commitments.” For coming to India at this critical juncture and being with here with us tonight, sir, I salute you.

 

General Musharraf, starting from the train journey that took you from Delhi to Karachi your life has been extraordinary by any standards. Born into a middle class family and living in an elitist, feudalist society you have made it to the top through sheer dint of your merit and guts.

 

Running Pakistan is probably the most challenging job in the world. You were Pakistan’s president for 8 years, concurrently holding the post of Army Chief of Staff for most of these years.

 

You have said in your book that you had nine lives and you seemed to have lived them to the full. As head of state you weathered severe political storms, guided your country through some of the most turbulent and traumatic times, braved intense criticism and opposition before voluntarily relinquishing your post as President last year.

 

Besides all this, you’ve survived three direct assassination attempts. You were lucky not to get onto plane that carried President Zia ul Haq to his death. You came close to a fiery end when Nawaz Sharif denied permission to your flight from Colombo to land after dismissing you as Chief of Army staff.

 

This is your first visit to India after you left office and I thank you for giving us the honour of hosting it. Five years ago in 2004 when you were Pakistan’s undisputed leader you had conferred on us a similar privilege by addressing the 2004 India Today Conclave live via satellite from Islamabad.

 

You charmed us all with your gift of communication, your candour and if I may adapt a military phrase, your ability to shoot from your lip and give it back as good as you got.

 

You also gave some advice to our film star Aishwarya Rai who was in the audience not to act in war movies which showed Pakistan soldiers in a poor light.

 

General Musharraf, you are so well known in India that I was wondering how best to introduce you to our audience tonight.  So to prepare for it I asked our librarian to send me all the cover stories that we had done on you.

 

I discovered, sir, that you have set a rare record for being the only foreign leader who has appeared as many as 16 times on our cover in just 10 years – a feat not even your friend, former US President George Bush, could achieve despite signing a landmark nuclear deal with India apart from turning the world upside down.

 

So I am going to give you and, of course, the audience a little slideshow and to read out the cover headlines of India Today that in many ways chronicle your tumultuous 10 year reign at the helm of Pakistan. Because we are India Today, the covers are mainly in the context of your relationship with India. You may not like what you see. But as they say in both our countries: ‘Gustaakhi Maaf’.

 

In October 1999, when you came to power by ousting your then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup or what you called a ‘counter coup’, our title said it all: Pakistan: Back to the Gun.

 

Within 6 months of your take over, the Pakistan economy tottered and domestic discontent became widespread. Our cover of April 10, 2000 said: General in Trouble.

 

Then in the Summer of 2001, despite being the architect of the Kargil war, you audaciously proposed to the then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee that India and Pakistan resume the stalled peace dialogue. In the run up to the Agra Summit we had three covers:

 

Our June 4, 2001 cover reflected the widespread cynicism: “What can they talk?”

 

When it became clear that you had wanted to make Kashmir the central issue at the Agra Summit our July 16, 2001 headline was: Mission Kashmir.

 

Just prior to the Agra Summit, we decided to do a ground report on the state of Pakistan and came back disillusioned. The cover title of our July 23, 2001 issue: The Lost Nation.

 

You remained optimistic though about your country’s future and the outcome of the Agra Summit. In your first interview to INDIA TODAY, in this issue, you said: “We have never been closer to permanent peace as now”.

 

But the Agra Summit ended with the peace process being further away than it ever was. We explained why in our issue of July 30, 2001: The Inside Story of Why the Agra Summit failed and What Next.

 

Two months later 9/11 happened and it was a day that changed the world. US Secretary of State Colin Powell called you up and said famously: “You are either with us or against us.” You made your choice. Our October 1, 2001 issue called you: “America’s General.”

 

By December 2001, terrorists had struck Parliament and India was poised to do a retaliatory military strike against Pakistan.

 

In a bid to avert war with India you announced a major clampdown on extremist organizations and curbs on radical Islam. Our cover headline of January 14, 2002 said: General in a Jam. Will he deliver?

 

We then sent our editorial team to investigate your promises and our cover title of 28 January 2002 asked: “Can Musharraf Change Pakistan?” Our conclusion was pessimistic.

 

By May, the Kalachuk massacre in Jammu brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war again. We believed you made a major miscalculation in thinking your alliance with the US meant that you could rattle your saber in Kashmir. Our cover of June 17,2002: Pervez Musharraf: On Thin Ice.

 

After a prolonged stalemate, two years later, you and Prime Minister Vajpayee made a high stake gamble for peace at the SAARC summit in Islamabad. Our cover headline of January 19, 2004 applauded by calling you both: Bravehearts.

 

Nine months later and a deadly revival of infiltration and terror in Kashmir saw us bring out a cover on September 13, 2004: General Mischief.

 

With the Manmohan Singh government in the saddle when you made your second official visit to India, instead of army regalia, you chose suits and offered a way out of Kashmir. Our cover of May 2,2005 about your new avatar, asked: The General’s Changing Face: Is it For Real?

 

Instead of others writing about your history you brought out your memoirs titled ‘In the Line of Fire’ which among other things gave your own controversial account of the Kargil war. Our cover story of October 9, 2006: Musharraf’s memoirs: Myth and Reality.

 

By 2007, with your popularity plummeting in Pakistan and your arch rivals Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif announcing their return from exile our cover headline of our September 17, 2007 we raised the question: Time Up?

 

As the year progressed, the situation had worsened as your government made a series of mistakes including the storming of the Lal Masjid, the sacking of the higher judiciary and the declaration of an emergency. Even though you agreed to step down as Army chief, the dispute over your election as President remained. For us the writing was on the wall and our November 19, 2007 said: Why He Will Not Last.

 

Our assessment, if I may say so, was bang on. A month later, Benazir Bhutto was tragically assassinated and your credibility nosedived. The lawyers’ agitation saw popular discontent express itself in Pakistan like never before.

 

Then the February 2008 elections saw your rivals Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif win more seats than the King’s party PMLQ. By August 20, to your credit you made a dignified exit and stepped down from the Presidency rather than precipitate a national crisis.

 

Now here you are, not just a survivor but someone who could still be the force to reckon with in Pakistan’s fluid and turbulent politics.

 

You come to India, sir, at a crucial crossroads of history in the sub-continent, when events in Pakistan are again spinning out of control with politics in a mess, violence increasing and the army turning restive again. India is watching these developments with grave concern.

 

Our two countries not only have a shared past but our present is intertwined and our future dependent on how we conduct relations with each other.

 

We are all eager to know what you think of the situation and how to address this major Challenge of Change. May I now invite you to deliver the concluding keynote address.

 

Source: India Today

India Poised to attack Pakistan on our Western Borders

 

By A Khokar

 

On 22nd Jan 2009, INDIA handed over to Afghan authorities ZARANJ – DELARAM highway built by it in the face of stiff resistance from Taliban, vowing that the collaboration between the two countries in the field of development will not stop.

 

There are approximately 3,000-4,000 Indian nationals working on several reconstruction projects across Afghanistan. The principal projects include, among others:

 

– Construction of a 220 KV Double Circuit Transmission Line from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and a 220/110/20 KV sub-station at Kabul under the North-East Power System project to bring power from neighbouring countries to Kabul (USD 111 million);

 

– Humanitarian food assistance of one million tons of wheat in the form of high protein biscuits distributed to 1.4 million schoolchildren every day under the School Feeding Programme, administered through the World Food Programme (USD 100 million);

 

– Construction of a 218 kilometre road from Zaranj to Delaram to facilitate movement of goods and commodities from Afghanistan to Iranian border (USD 175 million – approval for an additional USD 91 million is being sought);

 

– Reconstruction and completion of Salma Dam Power Project (42 MW) in Herat province (USD 116 million – approval for additional USD 36 million is being sought);

 

– Construction of Afghan Parliament (USD 83 million);

 

– Reconstruction of Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Kabul in various phases, including reconstruction of surgical ward/polyclinic/diagnostic centre (USD 6.7 million);

 

– Reconstruction of Habibia School (USD 5.1 million);

 

– Digging of 26 tube wells in North West Afghanistan (USD 1.2 million);

 

– Gifting of vehicles (400 buses, 200 mini-buses, 105 municipality and 285 army vehicles) (USD 25 million);

 

– Setting up of 5 toilet-cum-public sanitation complexes in Kabul (USD 0.9 million);

 

– Telephone exchanges in 11 provinces connecting to Kabul (USD 11.1 million);

 

– Expansion of National TV network by providing an uplink from Kabul and downlinks in all 34 provincial capitals, contributing towards greater integration of the country (USD 6.8 million).

 

The present level of India’s assistance to Afghanistan is USD 750 million, making it the 5th largest bilateral donor after the US, UK, Japan and Germany. According to the Indian Embassy at Kabul, of the total pledge of USD 750 million between 2002 and 2009, the fully committed amount is USD 758.21 million and cumulative disbursement up to 2006-07 has been US $ 278.94 million.

 

This ambitious project (Zaranj – Delaram), funded and executed by India, will provide Afghanistan a shorter route to the sea, via the Iranian port of Chabahar, than is currently available through Pakistan. Iran, India and Afghanistan had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in January 2003, to improve Afghanistan’s access to the coast.

 

Under this agreement, Iran is building a new transit route to connect Milak in the southeast of the country to Zaranj in Afghanistan, and has already completed an important bridge over the Helmand River.

 

On its part, India has completed building the new road connecting Zaranj to Delaram, which is on the main Herat-Kandahar road.

 

These projects will shorten the transit distance between Chabahar and Delaram by over 600 kilometres. According to the MoU, Afghan goods will have duty-free access to the Iranian port and the trade from Afghanistan will have to pay no more than what is applied to Iranian traders for using Iranian territory for transit purposes.

 

India is to enjoy similar benefits as Afghanistan at Chabahar port and for transit. Furthermore, India and Iran have also agreed to build a railroad from Chabahar to the Iranian Central Railway Station, thus creating a link to the Karachi-Tehran Railway line, which goes further westwards.

 

While Afghanistan gains superior access to realize its trade potential, India will be able to prevail over checks posed by Pakistan in refusing to allow the transit of Indian goods en route to Afghanistan. Furthermore, India would be able to obtain quicker access (of GAS / HYDROCARBONS) to Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

 

 

 

The Zaranj-Delaram project, consequently, has direct ramifications for the three participating countries, and impacts on Pakistan by default. Afghanistan, the host country that is still a long way away from recovery, continues to be a playground for competing foreign policy agendas and the ‘new great game’ that is evidently being played out on its soil.

 

The Taliban detests India’s proximity with the Hamid Karzai regime and leaders of the erstwhile Northern Alliance. The Taliban/Al Qaeda combine and the trans-national jihadi groups have consequently and continuously targeted Indian nationals and interests since India began reconstruction operations in Afghanistan, particularly in southern Afghanistan and in the Herat area bordering Iran.

 

Reconstruction efforts and the unfortunate consequence of violence play out amidst the reality of the limited control exercised by the Hamid Karzai Government over southern and eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban, Al Qaeda and an assortment of tribal elders and warlords, have de facto control over this region, and some of these entities either operate from their safe sanctuaries along Pak-Afghan border.

 

US-NAT forces as well as India would like to portray that the dangers of anarchy across wide areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border go well beyond the confines of the region, and be seen to be sourced in Pakistan to a far greater extent than in the debilitated state of Afghanistan. The Mumbai attack followed by declaration of LeT as Terrorist by UN Security Council and now the Lahore attack (where foreigners are involved) are all such orchestration to build a positive case against Pakistan to cripple Pakistan and declare it as the epicentre of Terrorism.[1]

 

Despite the steadily worsening situation in Afghanistan and the direct attacks against Indian projects and workers, there is no indication that India intends to dilute its presence or commitment to projects in Afghanistan. Indeed, there are strong efforts to further consolidate India-Afghanistan relations beyond the present commitment, which is primarily related to reconstruction and development efforts.

 

There is, for instance, a proposal for the Indian Army to train the Afghan National Army in counter-insurgency operations. While India would remain “actively engaged” in the reconstruction exercise in Afghanistan in the foreseeable future, the next step of military cooperation would unambiguously threaten Pakistan’s attempts to secure dominance and recover strategic depth in Afghanistan.

 

Though Pakistan is currently wracked by multiple internal convulsions that have, in some measure, undermined its capacities of power projection into Afghanistan, it remains the case that it shares strategic goals with the Taliban in this theatre.

 

India’s deepening co-operation with Afghanistan may hamper Pakistan’s prospective strategies envisage an augmented share of power for the Taliban at Kabul, in the proximate future, and a return to the status quo ante of a Taliban regime, in the medium term. India endeavour would be that a pro Indian strong regime at Kabul is constituted which would immediately put the Durand Line between Pakistan and Afghanistan into question, and further destabilize North Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). But Pakistan’s covert assistance to the Taliban in Afghanistan, and its efforts to recover ‘strategic depth’ in that country through this proxy, will inevitably continue, though its scale may be calibrated to ensure that it does not provoke US ire and reprisals.

 

 

[1] where as our politician are busy wrestling for power; our enemies finding it a ripe time are all out to snatch away even our land from under our feet.(Hum hain keh Jotioun main daal bant rahey hain)

 

 

 Source: Indian Media

 

 

Lahore Attack: It is a Spent Cartridge

 

By A Khokar

 

In Pakistan we may not like the despotic Zardari regime that some how President Asif Ali Zardari came to power riding the tide of NRO, cooked up by General Musharraf to offer the late Bibi and zardari, a safe landing on the Pakistani shores and that after the sad demise of Bibi, Zardari was able to grab the seat of power. But after the 26/11, Mumbai massacre where Pakistan was implicated and his government seemingly, took a humiliating posture in order to play down the aftermath repercussion of Mumbai mallow drama.

 

 

Mumbai drama was invariably orchestrated to under mine the existence of our beloved country Pakistan but the lying low scheme of Zardari did work and a destructive war waged by our enemies against Pakistan was averted. It was a good job done, by a known bad boy.

 

 

But our enemies finding their plan gone awry did not sit idle; they were but to strike back and they did. Lahore attack on the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team is a repeat of Mumbai massacre from every possible angle.

 

Any how credit goes to the planner of this ambush site that Sri Lankan team that it was provided with a boxed security and it is difficult to strike any target being escorted in such a security formation. But they attacked at the round about of Liberty Chowk where owing to the chowk constraints the target (slowing down of bus on turning) had gone vulnerable and at that very moment they consecutively attacked from three sides. It is a successful and  well executed  ambush. This also leaves a big lesson and example for the people writing the military combat training ‘blue bibles’ on the subject.

 

 

We salute the courageous police stalwarts; they gave their lives. They not only saved the lives of our honourable guests but also safe guard the honour of this nation.

 

This nation also owes a lot to the witty driver and the police officer in charge in the bus that they were so alert and committed; they very skilfully sped away from the ambush site to the safety after attack.

 

There is no doubt that our beloved homeland: Pakistan is encircled by savage Hyenas from all the sides. But probably we Pakistanis can’t afford to get discouraged by such like incidents. Lahore incident is yet another, mallow drama orchestrated like Mumbai attack; but it is a— spent cartridge.

 

 

We must only know that when enemies see that we have our victory insight; they always intensifies their atrocities and strikes very vehemently. The scale of chaos and intensity of turmoil being injected in our society shows that our victory must also be closer than we think.

 

Pakistan is the gift of God, bestowed to the best of his chosen people— called Pakistanis. On Pakistani soil, we all walk by faith— in a Living God and not by mere worldly gains— in our sight. May Creator of this universe direct our steps!

 

We ought to know that our disappointments may have their seasons but God favour is for life long. All Pakistanis must shun the attitude of self pitying and walking in pressure of worries, disgust, fear and negativity.

 

 

We are praying and praying more than ever; because our tide is coming back.

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Love for all, Hatred for None