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    Full text of interview with President Pervez Musharraf!

    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=308652

    Q & A: General Pervez Musharraf
    The full text of the interview by Peter Popham of The Independependent with the President of Pakistan
    24 June 2002
    Internal link

    The two faces of Musharraf: Dictator and Taliban's friend or secular liberal?
    Q: Allow me to congratulate you on your first year as President.

    A: Thank you, thanks very much (laughs), thanks a lot.

    Q: But you've got a lot of problems - problems to the right, problems to the left, problems in the middle.

    A: (laughs) You've put it correctly.

    Q: People fear for your safety. They say you cannot leave Rawalpindi, cannot leave Islamabad

    A: That's absolutely untrue, I can leave anywhere, I've gone abroad, I've gone to Lahore, Karachi, I move in accordance with my plan of movement, in accordance with what I want to do. This is absolutely ridiculous - why should I not move? I don't get scared like that - no problem, I go anywhere, any time. I keep going around here, in Pindi and Islamabad, very frequently I go and have coffee in Marriott or PC, I'm moving around, very comfortably around. The people around me may not be very happy about it.

    Q: Stories have appeared in the press saying you cannot leave home without 200 or 300 security guards

    A: There is security around me - but two or three hundred, maybe they've counted all the policemen from here to the president's house in Islamabad. The police function in accordance with the blue book that they have, I haven't changed that at all, in fact I've been telling them to review this blue book concept because it's overdoing everything. But there's no special additional anything that they do for me. During the referendum campaign I went to every part of Pak with thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people right in front of me.

    Q: Mr President, you have three quarter of a million Indian soldiers on the border, al Qaeda terrorists coming into North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, and terrorist incidents like the car bombing in in Karachi. Is it not true to say that Pakistan is in grave crisis?

    A: Pakistan is facing difficult days, yes, and maybe I'll go to the extent of saying these kind of difficulties were never faced before. But as far as these internal things are concerned they were brushing it under the carpet and I am not brushing it under the carpet. I am facing them head on and I want to rectify the internal situation. Bring stability and tolerance and balance into this society, into our internal environment where these extremists were roaming freely and nobody dared to touch them. I am daring to touch them, I will not heed them, and we are meeting a lot of successes, let me tell you. Inshallah we will be all right on this internal front, we will actually improve the law and order situation internally.

    Now on the west, yes, Afghanistan has always been turbulent. Right since the time the cold war started it has always been turbulent. And after that with the internecine battles between the warlords it has remained like that. Kashmir has always been active since the last decade. But now with the Indian troops moving on to the border is an addition. And all of them happening together at one point is also the issue. So yes I will agree with you that rarely has Pakistan faced such a difficult situation.

    But I am very confident that if you mean that our security is threatened - no. Our security is not threatened at all. I don't think so. We are very secure and there is no problem so far as our stability and sovereignty is concerned.

    Q: Are attacks like those in Karachi more likely if you clamp down on freedom fighters, terrorists in Kashmir, and if so what can you do about it?

    A: I think what we are seeing is the peak, and what more can there be? We have crossed the peak I think. I personally feel that this should start decreasing now. Because we are on one side improving the law and order situation, law enforcement agencies, we are improving our intelligence services to be able to pre-empt any terrorist attacks and extremist attacks and we are trying to improve our investigative agencies so we are able to track down culprits. So all this is happening, and we have caught a number of extremists, I am talking about domestic, so that should be improving.

    On the al Qaeda side they are on the run, and we have caught so many of them so I think also that situation should be improving.

    Q: You took the initiative to crack down on sectarian terrorists soon after you came to power. But in the case of the Taliban and the militants in Kashmir, you had to have your arm twisted.

    A: We had diplomatic contacts with the Taliban, we were one of the few countries who had recognised them and maintained our embassy there, this was our stance, not because of what the world was doing because the world was against the Taliban but when I went around everywhere I did explain our situation. Our position was - especially mine, when I came in '99 - that 90 per cent of Afghanistan was in Taliban hands and they happened to be Pukhtuns and there was no other popular leader. Now Pukhtuns have very close affinity with Pakistan, on our border in Baluchistan and Frontier they have their kith and kin living across the border. So I think there was no other option whatsoever for Pakistan to follow other than recognising Taliban and trying to be with them, going along with them.

    Now unfortunately the world had deserted us after the Cold War, everyone had left, we were here alone faced with three million refugees - so what should the world have expected of Pakistan? We couldn't have left the Taliban and gone on the side of the Northern Alliance. We had to recognise the Taliban. All that I did was to bring normalcy. I tried to approach even the Northern Alliance, I tried to moderate that we need to have a balanced approach, we need to moderate the views of the Taliban. I think our policy was absolutely clear, even in the later stages when the operation against the Taliban started in Afghanistan, let me tell you that there was no problem in our breaking off diplomatic relations - but let me tell you that the United States itself wanted us to continue diplomatic relations, yes, yes indeed, because we were the only ones who were providing a window of contact with the Taliban, with their ambassador here. That however never meant that we were in sort of love with the Taliban - certainly we didn't want that kind of Islam in Pakistan. Nobody wanted that kind of Islam. But having diplomatic relations did not mean we want that kind of rule here or that we are very much impressed by what they are doing in their country - not at all, we had diplomatic relations.

    On the other side, Kashmir is a festering wound, it is going on since partition, there is a United Nations Security Council resolution, we are demanding its implementation, and that has been our stance, that we will give diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris. All through we have been doing that, and we will continue doing that, supporting them in all forums, they must be heard and we must resolve the Kashmir dispute, this is our stand even now.

    Q: But people have been saying for a long time, and now even western statesmen such as Jack Straw have begun to say that the position of Pakistan, that you provide only moral, political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle, is not correct. In fact you have been supporting them with the direct support of the Pakistani Army, training militants, etc. This has become what the world now believes to be true. Isn't it time that you accepted the fact that your story is not being believed any more?

    A: Yes, yes. That's why I've been saying that nothing is happening. I'm concerned with what is happening now. A lot has been happening on both sides, on the Indian side, on the Pakistani side, so I'm a believer that we should be looking forward, we should not be talking of the past, and that is why I have been saying that nothing is happening on the line of control - now.

    But we have to move forward. The resolution of the problem does not end here. It ends with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute: addressing it and resolving it.

    Q: In the process you have to stop terrorists crossing from Pakistan-controlled territory in to Indian-controlled Kashmir.

    A: It's a chicken and egg situation. We have to mutually de-escalate, we have to mutually take action, moving towards a process of dialogue, towards a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Now who takes what steps is an issue which can be resolved as long as the will is there to move forward. So therefore it's a step by step approach, whoever takes a step there is the requirement of a response from the other side. And that is how we keep going forward. But if a step is taken and there is no response from the other side, I think that would be dangerous.

    Q: How do you evaluate the conciliatory measures that India has taken so far?

    A: Cosmetic. Cosmetic. These are no conciliatory measures, these are easing their own problems. When they say we have called back the Navy, they were not in our waters, because they know what to expect from this side. And if they are happy moving around in high seas in rough waters with their ships getting worn out, wear and tear of ships, and it costs a lot to keep a flotilla out, it wasn't disturbing us in the least! Except they keep roaming around in the sea. So if they call them back they will ease their own problems. The other, air flight, they want to open their air space to us - 140 or 130 flights of theirs are affected at the moment, about 10, 12 flights of ours. Not disturbing us at all. So therefore we said, we will see, we need to negotiate, we need to see how to open air spaces. They are again trying to ease their own problems.

    On the rail movement contact, we said yes, people to people contact, let train movement between the two countries take place, let people come, we haven't decided on the goods coming or going. No trade. People to people contact is all right. But they are easing their own problems actually.

    Q: Nothing of substance yet.

    A: Nothing of substance.

    Q: When will you say, this is not cosmetic, something has happened?

    A: As far as de-escalation is concerned: the air force, moving back, because they are in the forward air bases. Although that also is not very substantive - what is important is the logistic buildup, that takes time. Aircraft will take a few hours to come back.

    Then on the army side, their strike formations moving back. Not the defensive ones, the strike formations. From the international border. From Kashmir, from inside Kashmir, any formation moving back, moving out of Kashmir. These are the de-escalatory steps.

    But what we are looking for is not really de-escalation, frankly, let me not create an impression that the reciprocation we expect from India is de-escalation. We couldn't care less, let them escalate, let them keep remaining on the border. That's not disturbing us at all. We expect a substantive movement towards a process of dialogue addressing the Kashmir dispute, and all other issues. That is what we call a substantive response from the Indian side. Rest of them, nothing is disturbing us.

    Q: How do you get the rest of the world to focus on Kashmir? Only when you get talk of nuclear war do you get a flurry of envoys...

    A: That is really unfortunate. I have been saying this since I addressed the United Nations General Assembly last year, that we must get to the real cause of terrorism. What is terrorism? We need to define it first of all. Because we keep saying terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We include state terrorism in it. Okay, a person killed a man, he's a terrorist. If a state kills a man, a civilian, what is that? If a state is killing a man in their own country one would even accept that, it's a law and order problem. But a disputed territory, and the state is killing the civilians there and suppressing them, what is it, I would like someone to define what this is.

    And then secondly, if you see all the people involved in the September 11 terrorist attack, were they Islamic extremists? No, not at all. Not one of them was an Islamic extremist, a religious extremist. The motivation for doing this act was not Islam. All of them we read from the news were in bars and they had a very good night before they went there. This is not an Islamic activity. So what motivated them to do this was not Islam, it was not religion. It was a cause: it was the Palestinian cause that motivated them to do this. So therefore I am very clear in my mind, the root of the issue of terrorism is to resolve political disputes. And that is the root cause of terrorism. Because that leads people to the extreme act of giving up their life. They don't do that for religion, nobody here has done that for religion.

    Q: You made a terrific speech on January 12, welcomed all around the world, in which you spoke in detail of the problems that are eating Pakistani society "like termites". You spoke of the inadequacy of the education provided by madrassas. Have you begun to take steps to remedy that?

    A: We have done a lot but we have certain resource constraints. The strategy is quite clear, that we want to bring madrassa education in line with the mainstream of education. We have introduced subjects that we want them to teach in madrassas, four subjects, and we have asked themk to take the normal examinations. And we have asked them to get registered with a board that we have created. This board will then examine them. But this cannot be implemented in a few months. When we pass an order, its implementation has to be seen. How does a madrassa in a remote part of Baluchistan implement what I am telling them? Do they have the teachers, do they have the capacity to do that, do they have the money to do that? So it is easier said than done. I do realise that. Therefore we have allocated a lot of funds for this purpose. We have told the madrassas we will assist you in giving you teachers. But of course our resource limitations are there. Therefore in accordance with whatever our resources are we will keep moving forward. But the fact is that most of them have accepted this point of view that yes, they have got convinced that yes we should teach these subjects. So that's a positive point. But I would admit that we need to move faster, we need to have more resources to move faster.

    Q: Mr President, one of the reasons you have resource limitations is the ever-expanding military budget.

    A: Our problem is not the military budget first of all, let me correct, 53 per cent of our budget was going on debt servicing. Military spending is there, certainly, but let me tell you that in real terms military spending has been reduced. You are not right when you say we have increased the military budget. India has been increasing, by 28 per cent and then 14 per cent and then another I don't know how many per cent this year. I froze the military budget. Since the time I have come, we didn't increase the military budget at all. So therefore in real terms we decreased the military budget. Now this is phenomenal, in spite of all the tensions that we've had to deal with...For this tension, for whatever has happened, we have allocated some additional funds because of the mobilisation.

    Q: And of course that will have to continue for as long as the crisis continues.

    A: Yes. But we are checking the major expenditures and we are keeping them to the minimum. On the defence side, all my civilian government ministers compliment me for that.

    Q: Tensions appear to have eased over the past week. Do you think India and Pakistan came close to having a war three weeks ago?

    A: They came close and they are still close. Because I keep telling every one, one judges this situation through two gauges, one is the gauge of intention and the other is the gauge of capability. And the gauge of capability is more serious. Intentions can change any time, one conference and you decide to go to war, the intention is there and if the capability is there you can start war. So the capability exists even now. The danger even now exists, it's just a matter of overnight change of intention. Intention has gone down: yes, on both sides, tempers have cooled. So that is a positive. But capability exists.

    Q: What brought that about? You made declarations to Mr Armitage that satisfied Delhi. That's what seems to have been the key event. Can you share with me what the reason is why you made those declarations to Mr Armitage because all sorts of strange stories are circulating, they say Mr Armitage is a very rough, abrasive character, he came in and threatened you, threatened economic sanctions...

    A: I was very pleasantly surprised when Mr Armitage came that he is such a wonderful person. We had an excellent meeting.

    Q: You are both commandos. You did some arm-wrestling?

    A: No I think he's much stronger, he's a big man. He does a lot of bench presses. I did talk about weight lifting and all that which I did dabble around with in my youth.

    We had a very very congenial and very good interaction where he understood exactly our point of view. I said I was pleasantly surprised because perhaps because of his physique maybe people think he carries that kind of image as you are saying. But I was very pleasantly surprised. Not at all. There was no such thing.

    I think since 11th September we have developed a great understanding with the United States on our national stand and on me as a person, frankly. No, there has been no threat whatsoever, there was no question of a threat. We explained our position, I explained my position. I explained Pakistan's position. I explained the reality in Kashmir. And I also said yes, there is nothing happening across the Line of Control. I know that the world is concerned about the war clouds, and they were all concerned about cross border terrorism. Now I did tell them that we need to address this Kashmir dispute once for all, and this is the assurance I've got, that we need to address the Kashmir dispute and move forward on it. So all I've done is that there is nothing happening across the Line of Control and move forward towards its resolution. It is a step by step approach that both we and I need to take.

    Q: Meanwhile Mr Vajpayee is declaring that India has won a great victory without firing a shot.

    A: I think if they take this as a face saving it is very good, let them say anything if they are de-escalating. But I am looking for a response on Kashmir. Let them take that seriously. We are looking for a response, we have to start discussing Kashmir and moving forward to its resolution.

    Q: You've had discussions before they've gone nowhere - how can you persuade India to make any progress - they don't want to make any progress on Kashmir.

    A: We have never discussed Kashmir - except in Agra, now when we went there. Never has Kashmir been discussed. They would never discuss Kashmir, they would try to sideline it by saying we need to discuss all issues - what all issues? Minor issues of trade, minor issues of [inaudible], minor issues of Sir Creek - these are simple irritants, I call them. But the main issue they used to sideline. "Let's develop confidence-building". That's why we've been fighting these wars. Why have we been fighting these wars? Because we have been asking them to implement the Security Council resolution. Which they don't. And then comes the '65 war. Then we had this Simla accord. Now in this Simla accord there is a mention of Kashmir in a very apologetic manner, just once in the whole document - once Kashmir is mentioned.

    Mr Vajpayee is very keen, he keeps talking of the bus diplomacy, he keeps talking that he was moving closer and that he wanted to have peace, he keeps talking of the Lahore Declaration. In Lahore Declaration there was no mention of Kashmir, not once. It was me, because I was Chief of Army Staff when the draft was being prepared, I happened to be there when they read out the draft, our side, and there was no word of Kashmir. And I brought that out and I said at least we should write the word Kashmir there. But this is their sincerity on Kashmir. Kashmir has never been discussed.

    In Agra yes it was discussed, it was discussed for hours. In three meetings that I had with prime minister Vajpayee I was discussing Kashmir throughout. And we reached an agreement, we reached a joint declaration, accepting the centrality of Kashmir. And because of their own internal dissensions we couldn't get to signing it.

    Q: Did you make tactical mistakes at Agra, because people say that press conference was too successful - bewitching a roomful of Indian editors - do you not think you would have been better to keep your mouth shut on that Sunday morning?

    A: I was trying to help, how could I have known that I sitting alone in front of 30, 35 of their luminaries - they should have put me on the dock! I took the risk of being in front of them! They call themselves a very open, democratic society, what is wrong with that? They call us closed, they call me a dictator so what's wrong with them if I was sitting with their media and press. After all I was talking openly and let them come and talk openly to our press, I will allow that. One of their ministers was here, Sushma Swaraj, and I asked her, I said the media is here you talk, I'll sit. She didn't want to!

    I don't know, I think that's an excuse. The reality is that we reached a declaration and prime minister Vajpayee and Jaswant Singh accepted that declaration, the wording of it, but their internal dissension, there were some hardliners, the hawks, who behind the scenes scuttled the whole thing.

    I think I was extremely courteous and I was extremely peaceful, I wanted peace, I wanted peace forever, I was talking very good! Never did I say anything offensive or harsh.

    Q: On the contrary you charmed them.

    A: They shouldn't grudge that!

    Q: You have a tantalising relationship with Mr Vajpayee - there seems to be some chemistry there but it comes to nothing. What's the problem?

    A: Very frankly, I think he's being influenced and he's not being himself. Quite clearly, I am very sure. Because when we discussed - he's a nice man, I think he's a good man, he's a balanced person, he wants peace, I think. That's my judgement in 8 or 9 hours of sitting with him. He accepted Kashmir. He asked me, how can we move forward? I told him that there are four steps that we can take: 1st I gave him credit that you've invited me. I give all the credit to you for being a statesman and for having taken this bold step. And second I said, one more bold step you have to take, you have to accept the centrality of Kashmir, which no leader in India has done ever, you should accept the centrality, that this is the dispute that has bedevilled our relations, that we have to resolve it, to have peace between ourselves.

    I said, you will be liked for it. It will be a bold decision, but I'm sure your public will like it, and our public will also like it.

    Then the 3rd and 4th steps will be difficult ones: now we are moving towards a resolution of Kashmir. So I said 3rd step is we eliminate whatever is unacceptable to you and to us. We are in a process of elimination, we eliminate those.

    And the 4th step from out of the remainder we strike at a mutually acceptable decision with flexibility, with give and take, beyond stated positions. And he accepted these. So we discussed all these things. I think he was an open-minded person, but then let me also tell you that after the first meeting of three hours we went for the delegation meeting. Here after three or four hours we had an excellent meeting, very good, we accepted everything, we came out laughing and smiling and we sat across the tables, their team that side, my team this side. And somebody passes him a file, he stands up and he reads an address. And to my shock and horror the same offensive, the same language, nothing, not a word related to what we had been talking for three hours. I said, let me also reply, then I also because he said we will not tolerate and accept this, I also said, we have our honour and dignity to guard. We will guard that with all our might. So what we discussed for three hours, for public consumption he was talking something different.

    In spite of that we went in and we reached this declaration. And again somebody scuttled it. And we had excellent, courteous meetings, in spite of the fact that we then did not sign the declaration. I went back to say goodbye - I went there and shook hands and went off - disappointed, of course.

    But now: from then onwards: what happened? What did I do? What did Pakistan do? Nothing! Everything was being done by them! They realised, maybe, that they have lost in many ways - diplomatically or media wise or whatever. And they needed to correct this situation. And he somehow got under the influence of his hardliners and he used to sort of attack me, attack Pakistan, be offensive. So I think he needs to be natural, he needs to decide on what he wants as a leader of India. And then convince others.

    I am a believer that a leader does not go by what the general trend is. Some people think that you see the general trend and you go along with it. No, I don't think so. A leader's job is to change that trend. That is the real leader. You decide on what is good for your country and change the perception, change others' views. That is the leadership quality. Instead of flowing around with others' views.

    Q: You've been forced by events to give up on the Taliban, are we seeing the same thing happening now on the other side of the country?

    A: As far as Taliban are concerned, not giving up. Policies are made in accordance with environments. The environment changed, our policy changed. National interest is permanent. Now on the other side, national interest remains permanent. National interest can never be given up. Our national interest was not that we keep saving Taliban. Our national interest is with Afghanistan, it is not with Taliban. We would like to have peace in Afghanistan, we would like to have stability and unity of Afghanistan, that is our national interest, it is not to support Taliban and to bring Talibanisation into Pakistan and the region. No, that was not our national interest.

    But here our national interest is the cause of Kashmir must be resolved - through peaceful means. We will keep following this national interest. No leader, no government can change national interests.

    Q: I've noticed that there is a change in the national debate about Kashmir in Pakistan. People are saying and writing in the newspapers, let Kashmiris solve their own problems, Pakistan has enough problems of its own. Do you hear people saying this to you?

    A: This is a school of thought, but not in the majority. The majority have opposite views. We have to resolve our internal problems, but that doesn't mean Kashmir has to be forgotten. Kashmir is there, it has to be resolved. These political issues don't die down in months, you don't switch from - you have a certain direction. National interests are permanent as I said. So even if something happens temporarily because we are facing a problem here internally, we may be focusing here more internally, the dynamics of Kashmir as I said - there are Kashmiris in Azad Kashmir, in the whole of Pakistan - my chairman, Joint Chief of Staff Committee, a 4-star general is a Kashmiri, my military secretary Major Gen Nadeem, he is a Kasmiri - how can we get this out? There are Kashmiris in the UK, there are Kashmiris all over the world, just like Irish are all over the world - can they get Ireland out of their blood? They are Irish...so I would say that Kashmir needs to be resolved - okay, I also say it needs to be resolved in a peaceful manner. But if at all the other side does not want to resolve it, then we are stuck again. Then what happens? Therefore I keep telling the United States and everyone, we must understand the dangers of this region. These dangers can only be averted if we resolve the Kashmir dispute. We must do that. Otherwise there is another Palestine here in the making.

    After all, people are dying there, 75,000, 80,000 people have died there.

    So we must understand realities, remove the causes of extremism from the world, resolve these disputes, they will remove the causes of extremism.

    Q: It's a very longterm programme, removing the causes of extremism.

    A: Yes it is longterm, but let's move in the right direction at least. I can't expect that you can resolve it in a few months or days or weeks. It is longterm. But let's move in the direction, let people be saying yes we need to resolve the K dispute. Let the whole world tell India you need to address the Kashmir dispute and implement the United Nations Security Council resolution. Let them start saying and let them start telling them you need to sit down and talk on Kashmir with Pakistan and then we start moving forward.

    Q: Might you defer the elections for a further period?

    A: No I am not doing that. Because I have given my word and whenever I give my word I adhere to it. Whenever I have said anything in the past I have done it. Therefore I don't want to change my word. I have said that we will have elections in October, therefore we should have elections in October.

    Q: Can you tell me about your proposal for a National Security Council.

    A: It's extremely important from our experience's point of view. We've had experience of democracy in this country - elected governments, anyway, not democratic, none of them were democratic. But however, they were elected governments. And the experience we've had over the past is that every power broker - there are three power brokers in Pakistan, the prime minister the president and the chief of army staff - all three of them at some time have overreached, overstepped their authority.

    So therefore there is a requirement for institutionalising a system which would ensure checks and balances for all three of them. And also ensuring that national interests remain supreme as opposed to party and political and individual interests. This I am saying again because in the past again our experience has been that the government and the prime minister, the chief executive, has been having their own personal and party interests over national interests. At the cost of national interests.

    Thirdly that all the reforms and restructuring we've been doing - we've done a lot, we've done a hell of a lot in the political arena, on the economic side. This must continue. This must not be reversed. And there are many people who would like to reverse it.

    And then there is disharmony in the provinces: we need to bring harmony in the provinces.

    So for all these four this National Security Council is important.

    Q: But separately the Pres will retain the power to dismiss govts?

    A: But that also I am going to institutionalise, that it should be the National Security Council which will assist in reaching this decision. Previously one of the issues was exactly this, in the absence of a National Security Council. When the prime minister was not performing, and was looting and plundering the country, what does a good president do? He can only warn her or him and then take a decision to fire.

    Now obviously he doesn't take the decision in one day or one night or one hour, he starts thinking, the other starts responding that they may like to impeach him. That was what was happening in the last days, the prime minister was trying to impeach the president, the president was trying to throw him out, who's right, who's wrong? This is one versus one. One is an elected man, the other is also elected by all the assembly. But it's one's word against the other. Every time the army chief used to be drawn in, by these very people! They keep cribbing that the army interferes, no sir, they pull him in to mediate. So why not have an institutionalised method where they don't do this one on one. It's a body that brings harmony to the whole function. It's very important from our point of view. It suits our environment. It may not suit your environment in your country. But when the government itself, and the prime minister himself or herself is doing wrong -who should check? It's irrelevant to say the people have elected them, yes the people have elected them to do well, to perform well, to govern well. Now if they are not governing well and they have five years - what can the people do? So they will ruin the country in five years, because they can do it.

    Q: So supposing you have a misperforming prime minister, the National Security Council could ensure the implementation of your ideas anyway - is that it?

    A: The National Security Council will have to first of all guide that prime minister - it should not be meant just to fire the assembly - it should regularly be overwatching, overseeing, and regularly through contact - because the prime minister will be a member of the National Security Council - correcting course if at all the course is going wrong. They should be correcting course. So it will not be an impulsive move by one man. It will be continuous correcting or keeping to the course. I think it will be very good, it will be very healthy.

    Also on the positive note to reinforce the prime minister in case he is performing well. Because here the Opposition start pulling the prime minister down from day one. Their objection is nothing. Their object is to pull him down so we will have another election and he comes in. Never has any government completed its tenure. All this will be put to naught through this National Security Council. The National Security Council will reinforce the prime minister if he or she is performing well.

    A person sitting in the UK or US or Holland may think this is undemocratic. But sir, for Pakistan it is very correct.

    Q: In your wildest dreams did you ever see yourself ruling the country?

    A: Never. I was very happy playing games and sports. He [Major-General Rashid Qureshi, present at the interview, President Musharraf's press spokesman] was my chief of staff on my last appointment. In fact there was a stage when I was not at all hopeful that I would be made Chief of Army Staff. I took everything as a bonus right from the beginning. People used to think when I was a major general, I could have been passed over, I was roaming around the United States, riding around there, a lot of people said, what are you doing, you should be in your country, I said if they take me they take me, if they don't they don't! Why am I to be bothered? I think it was all Destiny.

    All people are equal, but some are more equal than others. We call these "corporations."

    #2
    WOW! He mesmerises me
    As far as Taliban are concerned, not giving up. Policies are made in accordance with environments. The environment changed, our policy changed. National interest is permanent. Now on the other side, national interest remains permanent. National interest can never be given up. Our national interest was not that we keep saving Taliban. Our national interest is with Afghanistan, it is not with Taliban. We would like to have peace in Afghanistan, we would like to have stability and unity of Afghanistan, that is our national interest, it is not to support Taliban and to bring Talibanisation into Pakistan and the region. No, that was not our national interest.

    But here our national interest is the cause of Kashmir must be resolved - through peaceful means. We will keep following this national interest. No leader, no government can change national interests.


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    "#define QUESTION ((bb) | | !(bb))" ó Shakespeare
    I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

    Comment


      #3
      For me the best part is:

      Q: But people have been saying for a long time, and now even western statesmen such as Jack Straw have begun to say that the position of Pakistan, that you provide only moral, political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle, is not correct. In fact you have been supporting them with the direct support of the Pakistani Army, training militants, etc. This has become what the world now believes to be true. Isn't it time that you accepted the fact that your story is not being believed any more? :hehe

      Comment


        #4
        And look at the ANSWER.

        Comment


          #5
          On the other side, Kashmir is a festering wound, it is going on since partition, there is a United Nations Security Council resolution, we are demanding its implementation, and that has been our stance, that we will give diplomatic, political and moral support to the Kashmiris. All through we have been doing that, and we will continue doing that, supporting them in all forums, they must be heard and we must resolve the Kashmir dispute, this is our stand even now.
          That, in his words, is what Pakistan's stance is on the Kashmir issue, implementation of the UN resolution. Its as simple as that, but unfortunately the India doesnt see it that way being the solution to the Kashmir dispute. It doesnt wanna talk about the Kashmir as a main cause of sourness b/w India and Pak - over which 3 wars have been fought.

          PS: PT would love to read this "moral, diplomatic and political support" bit

          ------------------
          "#define QUESTION ((bb) | | !(bb))" ó Shakespeare

          [This message has been edited by 5Abi (edited June 25, 2002).]
          I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

          Comment


            #6
            Yes, yes. That's why I've been saying that nothing is happening. I'm concerned with what is happening now. A lot has been happening on both sides, on the Indian side, on the Pakistani side, so I'm a believer that we should be looking forward, we should not be talking of the past, and that is why I have been saying that nothing is happening on the line of control - now.

            But we have to move forward. The resolution of the problem does not end here. It ends with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute: addressing it and resolving it.
            MUSH KICKS ASS

            TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT AT ME

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by RealDeal:
              And look at the ANSWER.
              RD, u stole my words yar! hehe

              Comment


                #8
                Just came across this.

                NEWSWEEKís Lally Weymouth meets Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee And President Gen. Pervez Musharraf

                INDIA: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee

                WEYMOUTH: U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told you that Pakistanís President Musharraf had promised to stop the flow of militants into India-controlled Kashmir. Do you believe these promises?
                VAJPAYEE: There has been no change in Pakistanís policy so far as cross-border infiltration is concerned. Every day we are getting reports that infiltration [by militants into Kashmir] continues unabated.

                Q: Did Musharraf also promise to get rid of the training camps in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and in Pakistan?
                A: That was the promise. There are 50 to 70 terrorist-training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and in Pakistan.

                Q: Do you think Musharraf is trustworthy?
                A: [Laughs] We are prepared to deal with him as he is, but we are cautious this time. Our past experience is not very encouraging.

                Q: Is this just a pause between crises?
                If Pakistan implements all the assurances given to us, then a new beginning can be made.

                A: If Musharraf ends terrorism from Pakistani soil, what moves will India make in response?
                India will be ready to have talks with Pakistan and discuss all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.

                Q: Would you meet with Musharraf?
                A: If his promises are implemented.

                Q: When will you pull some of your troops back from the Line of Control?
                A: It will take some time. Let us see what happens on the ground.

                Q: How close were Pakistan and India to war?
                A: It was a touch-and-go affair... I did not rule out the possibility of war. Until the last minute we were hoping that wiser counsels would prevail.

                Q: Did the U.S. make a mistake in making Pakistan a partner in the war against terror?
                A: No, it was the right policy. Pakistan should be pressured to fight terror not only in Afghanistan but inside Pakistan itself.

                Q: The U.S. has not succeeded in capturing the leadership of Al Qaeda. Where are they?
                A: They may be in Pakistan.

                Q: Do you think that Osama bin Laden is alive?
                A: Yes.

                Q: Do the Pakistanis know where he is?
                A: Of course.

                Q: So they know where he and his key lieutenants are hiding?
                A: Not every movement, but broadly speaking, they know where the rest of Al Qaeda and the Taliban are.

                Q: Are there elements of Al Qaeda in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir?
                A: The terrorist organizations operating in Kashmir are closely linked to Al Qaeda and other ďJihadiĒ organizations directly supported and directed by Pakistan.

                Q: How do you view the fall elections in [Indian-held] Kashmir? Will they be free and fair?
                A: The elections will be held under the supervision of the Central Election Commission. We have made a commitment that the elections will be free and fair.

                Q: Some say that India has rigged the elections in the past.
                A: This time elections will be free and fair.

                Q: Is autonomy the long-term solution for Kashmir?
                A: We are for the devolution of power.

                Q: What should the U.S. role be in the future?
                A: That of a facilitator.

                Q: India used to say it didnít want a third party to the Kashmir dispute. Hasnít the U.S. emerged as a third party?
                A: No, thatís why I said a facilitator, not a mediator.

                ------------------------------------------
                PAKISTAN: Gen. Pervez Musharraf

                WEYMOUTH: Did you tell Deputy Secretary of State Armitage that you would stop cross-border terrorism and shut down the training camps?
                MUSHARRAF: First of all, I donít call it cross-border terrorism. There is a freedom struggle going on in Kashmir. What I said is that there is no movement across the Line of Control.

                Q: U.S. and Indian officials say the number of terrorist infiltrations from Pakistan across the Line of Control has decreased.
                A: Iíve told President Bush nothing is happening across the Line of Control. This is the assurance Iíve given. Iím not going to give you an assurance that for years nothing will happen. We have to have a response from India, a discussion about Kashmir. If you want a guarantee of peace in this region, there are three ways: (1) denuclearize South Asia; (2) ensure a conventional deterrence so that war never takes place in the Subcontinent; (3) find a solution to the Kashmir problem.

                Q: So you are going to build up your conventional defenses?
                A: Our Army is enough for deterrence at the moment. But the Indians are increasing their defense budget, having contracted billions of dollars of purchases from Russia and the West. If they tilt the conventional balance, we shall have to restore it.

                Q: How close did you come to having a war?
                A: It was very close. As far as Pakistan was concerned, we said we will not initiate a war, but if attacked, we will defend offensively.

                Q: It is said the Indian Army wanted to conduct surgical strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.
                A: We would have taught them a lesson. This is not a small country; this is not Afghanistan.

                Q: But did you tell Armitage that training camps in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir would be dismantled?
                A: No. We didnít talk about it.

                Q: Is this moment a turning point for Pakistani-Indian relations, or just a pause between crises?
                A: This is certainly a turning point for the good. I have an assurance: I have been told by President Bush and Deputy Secretary Armitage that, yes, [India] needs to move forward on the initiation of a dialogue on Kashmir. So we are looking for a response from India.

                Q: Do you think that some kind of autonomy is a solution for Kashmir? Or accepting the Line of Control as a border?
                A: That is just not possible. If the Line of Control is to be the border, what have we fought these two wars for, 1965 and 1971?

                Q: Vajpayee says you know where Osama bin Laden is and that the remnants of Al Qaeda are here.
                A: That is how they keep maligning us. If they are hiding somewhere, we are trying to locate them. Pakistan has arrested over 300 people and handed them over. I cannot say we have freed Pakistan from Al Qaeda. But [top Qaeda operative] Abu Zubaydah was caught by us. Whether Al Qaeda is within our borders or in the tribal areas or in the cities, we will not allow it here.

                Q: Who attacked the U.S. Consulate in Karachi?

                A: One possibility is Al Qaeda. The other is RAW-related [Indian intelligence]. RAW does a lot of anti-Pakistan activity within Pakistan. So many bomb blasts have been taking place. Who is brewing this? Obviously, they are RAW-inspired. They [the Indians] donít like us getting close to the U.S. They thought after September 11 that Pakistan would be declared a terrorist state.

                Q: Arenít the extreme groups a threat to you and your government?
                A: Certainly, I get a lot of threats. But Iím not scared. I take principled stands, whether it is an external or internal threat. Now Iím facing both. Obviously, I am stepping on the toes of a lot of people.

                Q: Would you like to see the United States try to bring about some kind of settlement?
                A: I think the U.S. is the only country which can persuade India to initiate a dialogue and move towards a solution of Kashmir. Bilateralism hasnít worked.

                Q: Critics say you are not cracking down very hard on Pakistani fundamentalists.

                A: About 660 extremists are still behind bars. Their parties are banned. Their leaders are behind bars.

                Q: Do you feel you have these [extremist] groups under control?
                A: I canít say the law-and-order situation is excellent. They have their sympathizers. We have to find out who is doing these bomb attacks.

                Q: Do you have any thoughts about returning this country to a more democratic system?
                A: We will have elections in October, though we have the most democratic system now, a functional democracy. All the democratically elected governments here have been autocratic. I am a dictator, all right, because I am not elected. But I think my functioning is most democratic.

                © 2002 Newsweek, Inc.

                I am only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.

                Comment


                  #9
                  The wool Mush seems to have pulled over many in Pakistan seems to be amazing. He is asked openly if he is lying and he says yes. And you guys think this was a great answer? What am I missing?

                  The only two things that I read of this answer are:

                  a) Mush admitting he is no longer believed by anyone

                  b) Mush proving he is atleast as good as Clinton in using middle school grammar techniques when confronted with proof!

                  BTW, I do grant that he has taken some positive steps but it seems we have to push and twist his hands to each such step. Guess he has to continue to pretend to be a reluctant witness for the prosecution.

                  Quote:

                  Q: But people have been saying for a long time, and now even western statesmen such as Jack Straw have begun to say that the position of Pakistan, that you provide only moral, political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle, is not correct. In fact you have been supporting them with the direct support of the Pakistani Army, training militants, etc. This has become what the world now believes to be true. Isn't it time that you accepted the fact that your story is not being believed any more?

                  A: Yes, yes. That's why I've been saying that nothing is happening. I'm concerned with what is happening now. A lot has been happening on both sides, on the Indian side, on the Pakistani side, so I'm a believer that we should be looking forward, we should not be talking of the past, and that is why I have been saying that nothing is happening on the line of control - now.

                  end quote

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by ArjunMahavir:
                    The wool Mush seems to have pulled over many in Pakistan seems to be amazing. He is asked openly if he is lying and he says yes. And you guys think this was a great answer? What am I missing?

                    The only two things that I read of this answer are:

                    a) Mush admitting he is no longer believed by anyone

                    b) Mush proving he is atleast as good as Clinton in using middle school grammar techniques when confronted with proof!

                    BTW, I do grant that he has taken some positive steps but it seems we have to push and twist his hands to each such step. Guess he has to continue to pretend to be a reluctant witness for the prosecution.

                    Quote:

                    Q: But people have been saying for a long time, and now even western statesmen such as Jack Straw have begun to say that the position of Pakistan, that you provide only moral, political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle, is not correct. In fact you have been supporting them with the direct support of the Pakistani Army, training militants, etc. This has become what the world now believes to be true. Isn't it time that you accepted the fact that your story is not being believed any more?

                    A: Yes, yes. That's why I've been saying that nothing is happening. I'm concerned with what is happening now. A lot has been happening on both sides, on the Indian side, on the Pakistani side, so I'm a believer that we should be looking forward, we should not be talking of the past, and that is why I have been saying that nothing is happening on the line of control - now.

                    end quote

                    If that was easy to be politician then most of us will be one but it ain't that easy.Mushi answered that Question very well,all you have to do is to read twice both the question and the answer.If he was going to Deny Peter Popham over infiltration in Kashmir then he would be in bigger mess instead he twisted that Question to present situation at the sametime he showed his strong Commitment to Kashmir Issue.and the warning for India and west incase if there is no development from india in result of current halt of Kashmir's Militant attacks, it all can start again.I have been saying that nothing is happening on the line of control - now.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Jahan: If that was easy to be politician then most of us will be one but it ain't that easy.Mushi answered that Question very well,all you have to do is to read twice both the question and the answer.If he was going to Deny Peter Popham over infiltration in Kashmir then he would be in bigger mess instead he twisted that Question to present situation at the sametime he showed his strong Commitment to Kashmir Issue.and the warning for India and west incase if there is no development from india in result of current halt of Kashmir's Militant attacks, it all can start again.I have been saying that nothing is happening on the line of control - now.

                      AM: kudos. you're explanation is as illuminating as Mush's answer.

                      However (you knew this was coming. didn't you?) my question was less to do with what Mush said (which is clearer admission than his past ones) and more to do with the reaction to his answers in this discussion board. In what is it great and laudable for Pakistan that its leader is accosted with and admits incredulity?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Arjun Said :However (you knew this was coming. didn't you?) my question was less to do with what Mush said (which is clearer admission than his past ones) and more to do with the reaction to his answers in this discussion board. In what is it great and laudable for Pakistan that its leader is accosted with and admits incredulity?

                        However(i bet you didn't know this was coming)there were several Question asked and replied in the interview.most of the People in this discussion board are happy over full interview but you happen to pick one Question which pleases your interest from your point of view.well let me explain it to you again,When Mushi admits what Pak has done in past and then whats going on at LOC right now he had enough courage to admits previous (agressive stance)policy which India and West consider act of terrorism plus warning underneath his reply that it could happen again.Now to me what i Praise is his Boldness(if you had seen his speech at UN Office in NY or other interviews),Vision and personality to conduct his Job as President for this Country.

                        God Bless Pakistan.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          thank you. you made my point. I still don't understand why the fact that Mush admitting to terrorism makes you happy (and most others here as you claim) ....but that's ok.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ArjunMahavir:
                            thank you. you made my point. I still don't understand why the fact that Mush admitting to terrorism makes you happy (and most others here as you claim) ....but that's ok.

                            Thank you for asking that Question.ever think why someone terrorist is other people Hero?Exactly like Irish separatist are terrorist for England but they ae more then hero to their own people.its like Bhagat Singh & his followers were terrorist & mobsters for British Viceroy but as of today he is Hero for India.Do you understand now?its all hidden in person perspective on Terrorism.

                            God Bless Pakistan.



                            [This message has been edited by Jahanzaib (edited July 08, 2002).]

                            Comment


                              #15
                              except members of IRA weren't sent in by France. neither was Bhagat Singh sent in by China. that's why they are freedom fighters whereas Pakistani trained in Pakistan and POK snuck into Kashmir are terrorists.

                              thanks for helping me make the distinction really clear.

                              Comment

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