Musharraf in London

February 15, 2010

musharraf salute

Perhaps the most striking thing about a speech given by former president Pervez Musharraf in London on Monday was how many people turned out to hear him. There were two overflow rooms for those who wanted to hear his words relayed over closed-circuit television. I can’t think of many former rulers who can pack a crowd like that — although this was also a measure of the intense interest in London in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Musharraf now lives in comparative obscurity in the Edgware Road area of London — a street full of Middle Eastern restaurants where waiters look at you strangely if you try to order beer, and where men sit outside on the pavement smoking shishas even in the middle of winter.  Yet he still talks as articulately as he used to with no hint of the self-pity, or criticism, of Pakistan’s existing rulers. He still cracks a joke with confidence, and at the end raises his hand in a military salute to a clapping audience ( a rather more polite response than he might receive if he returned home).

Some of his main points:

* The West made a mistake in failing to recognise the importance of the Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan when it overthrew the Taliban in 2001, and in not giving them proper representation in the government. “The Pashtun are totally alienated and therefore for the past eight years they have been pushed towards the Taliban.” But the notion of ”moderate Taliban” made no sense since the distinction was between Taliban and Pashtun. “All Taliban are Pashtun, but not all Pashtun are Taliban.”

* The West was in danger of making another big mistake by talking of drawing down troops in 2011 instead of promising to stay as long as it takes. “We are showing a lack of resolve and a lack of commitment … when we are talking of running away and going after two years.”

 ”We must win. Failure, quitting, is not an option,” he said. “In Afghanistan, we have to defeat al Qaeda, we have to dominate the Taliban and we have to install a legitimate government in Afghanistan.”

* India remained “an existential threat” and it must stop interfering in Pakistan through Afghanistan. (India denies Islamabad’s accusations that it uses its growing presence in Afghanistan to destabilise Pakistan, particularly its restive Baluchistan province.)
At this point, terrorism and extremism in Pakistan may be the bigger threat, but that does not mean it is the only threat. “There is a threat on the eastern border,” he said. “Obviously, I am not going to let my guard down on the eastern border. I will never ignore the eastern border until you tell India to take their forces off.”

*  Pakistan would have to tread carefully in taking action against groups such as the Jamaat-ud-Dawa — the humanitarian wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba — and others focused on Kashmir, since they enjoyed a great deal of public sympathy. “It has to be done in a very deliberate manner…”  he said. “Please let the government of Pakistan handle them.” But in any case “the resolution of the (Kashmir) dispute, is the core”.

* Asked about whether he wanted to return to politics in Pakistan, he said: “I love my country and I would like to do anything for Pakistan.”  But this was for the people of Pakistan to decide as he would have to come back through the political process. “I am a civilian now, I am not a military man. I cannot take over anything.” He made no mention of the charges against him which for now prevent him from returning to Pakistan.

You can find audio and video recordings here.

(2008 file photo of then President Musharraf saluting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown)

16 comments

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Musharraf is a convincing liar. He can lie with such confidence that people leave impressed. He must thank the RAW for saving his life. Ahmed Rashid, in his book “Descent into Chaos” mentions about how Musharraf just barely managed to escape the bombs that were planted on the path of his motorcade.

He sent in Pak troops into Kargil and simply denied that no military service personnel were involved from Pakistan. India had the decency to bury those dead soldiers.

He was a very deceptive guy. His hatred for India overwhelms every decision. He decided to drop the Taliban in 2001 and jump in with the American forces just because he realized that the Indians would have taken than opportunity otherwise. Interestingly he talks about dominating the Taliban. Pak military created the Taliban and dominated it until 9/11 happened. Now he talks as though Taliban is something that jumped out of the sky and he is advocating that “WE must dominate the Taliban.”

When he came to India, he bluntly declared that India’s wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim was not in Pakistan. A couple of years later, Dawood’s daughter was married to Pak cricketer Miandad’s son.

Musharraf is a sinister guy. He can never be trusted. His back channel diplomacy towards Kashmir made no sense. Here was the architect of Kargill. And he is also working on back channel diplomacy. How are the two compatible? The duplicity is too obvious. He could fool the Americans by playing with them and against them at the same time. But Indians know his nature very well. Any move made by him has to be watched carefully. A handshake can be followed by a vicious stab. Any diplomacy from him or people like him means he is buying time. Pak military simply cannot be trusted. They are the reason the whole region is burning. And Musharraf symbolizes its very nature.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

A product of Pakistan Military Academy, Gen Musharraf is clearly an intelligent person. Pakistan needs a whole core of civilian and military leaders to confront the unique challenges faced by Pakistan in the future.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive

Umair,

Musharaff is a person who lies a lot. He just plain outright lies. You can google those lies. Those lies are pasted in back to back clips of people on the internet keeping track of what type of fecal matter falls out of his mouth.

As far as your comment about him being intelligent, well if he is intelligent, the rest of your country is doomed. He is not so much intelligent, but a conniving, judiciary killing, backtracking, excuse making weasel and this shows in almost every facet of every situation he has ever faced.

The smartest thing he ever did, was bowing down to the U.S., esp. when during the Richard Armitage and Powell visit, he was threatened that Pakistan would return to the stone age.

I must admit though, based on current performance, I truly think Gen. Kayani is a much more apolitical, much more laid back and non-rhetorical, despite belonging to the same punjabi mafia junta.

As a gift to you, please look at this clip of the cockroach Gen. Bisharaf, you will see and Indian muslim admonishing him.

Kargil was the worst disaster for Pakistan. Many died needlessly on both sides, because Bisharaf, like a mafia thug, decided to blindside India.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP9JCusfj e0

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

@Umair,

One more thing, it is too bad that you admire, lying, conniving people like Musharaf. It is most unfortunate, I do not know if that is an affliction of Pakistan, or just your affliction. India has a lot of liars and corrupt ones too and I fully condemn them as well, to rot in the beds that they make for themselves. I just wanted you to know that corrupt muslims, hindus, or whoever they are are equally worthless in my eyes, but not yours, apparently

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

Please read, uniformed rats from Pindi and Islamabad seeking to retain strategic depth in Afghanistan against India.

http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-mat rix/archives/2010/02/pakistan_plays_lets _make_a_dea_1.php

Let’s hope that Obama and his might band of merry men do not fall for this nonsense.

The uniforms in Pindi and Islamabad do not acknowledge Karzai in the equation whatso ever.

Posted by G-W | Report as abusive

“Musharraf is a convincing liar. He can lie …..”
He was born in Delhi, that’s why.

Posted by babag | Report as abusive

Myra:

The guy who supported Taliban and ran their operations and was double dealing with the West has the nerve to say:

“The West was in danger of making another big mistake by talking of drawing down troops in 2011 instead of promising to stay as long as it takes. “We are showing a lack of resolve and a lack of commitment … when we are talking of running away and going after two years.”

”We must win. Failure, quitting, is not an option,” he said. “In Afghanistan, we have to defeat al Qaeda, we have to dominate the Taliban and we have to install a legitimate government in Afghanistan.”

The guy is a joker at best.

Read Kamran Shafi’s take on this man whom he often calls “commando”.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/kamran-shafi-birds-of-a-feather-9 99

“whoever wishes to be angry, let them be angry, why should we bother? We have to maintain our security, and the Americans should know, and the whole world should know that we won’t compromise our security, and will use the equipment everywhere!’

“The timing of his new disclosures, the exact opposite of what he had said when he was himself in power is evidence of the fact that he is no friend of Pakistan, or of its military (read army) when it comes to grinding his own axe – this time to try, foolishly of course, to come back to power using means fair or foul. We must recall that when he lorded it over us, his government had rejected a New York Times report which had said Pakistan had used $5bn on weapons systems that were India-specific.”
________________________________________ ___

Umair:
@A product of Pakistan Military Academy, Gen Musharraf is clearly an intelligent person. Pakistan needs a whole core of civilian and military leaders to confront the unique challenges faced by Pakistan in the future.”
Posted by Umairpk
—Umair: Don;t you think that this guy humiliated Pakistan and Kashmiris via Kargil operation. Oh, but you’ll think Kargil brought India to the table for talks. Musharraf shoots more than he can handle. he does not think before he speaks. By saying that he spent US money on wherever he deemed fit irrespective of the purpose it was meant for shows he is politically retard. he said he spent US $$$ on India. By now it is all known that his duplicity is major reason for K-L Bill. US does not trust Pakistan anymore and they wanted to lay down rules with aid. kayani cried in vain and when asked to say NO to money he could not say NO. Had Mushy been intelligent Pakistan would not have seen K-L Bill. But I agree with you that he is a real product of Pakistan Military Academy!

Talking about civil/military for Pakistan, read another one from kamran Shafi. No wonder Mr. Shafi was shot by your security agencies.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/colu mnists/14-kamran-shafi-well-done-mr-anto ny-220-zj-06
_____________________________________

@Musharraf is a convincing liar. He can lie …..”
He was born in Delhi, that’s why.
Posted by babag

–Oh, so it is people like you that Muhajirs are scared of.

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

People of Pakistan are decent people. They did not deserve Parwez(Musharaf was his father’s name. He is the first head of state who was called a “dog” by the street crowd. This is worst than being thrown at with a shoe which his friend George W was awarded in Iraq.
He was born in Delhi but failed to work for peace with his native land and then turned out to be a coward by caving in to George W and sold his adopted land. He has zero inteligence but lots of cleverness to know that most of the current Govts. heads are analogue politicians starting from the Indian Faqir to Mr ten percent to non elected Gordon Brown and Mr “We Can” in the US. He sees a great chance to polish his shoes and stay on in London until the dust clears. I recall his military cunningness when a reporter questioned him about his shaking hand with Mr Shimon Perez, his answer was that He did not but Mr Perez shook hand with him.
He neither understands nor speaks Pashto language, but has the cheek to talk about them.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive

Myra I think the reason why the crowds were overflowing is perhaps more to do with the man’s personality. If it were due to the great interest in Pakistan, which I’m sure there is anyway, I wonder if Nawaz Shariff or Gillani could draw them in similar fashion? Like it or not the man has a certain charisma.

I would like to discuss what he has said. It is the usual mix of Mushraffese. Notice when he has something favourable to say about the West, he uses the term ‘we’. When there are problems it is the “West”. He knows how to play his audience.

AS regards his point about the West not including the Pashtuns, incidentally isn’t Karzai a Pashtun? But he does seem to have a point there. However, one must ask as to whether he himself warned or counseled them of their mistake. After all at that time he was the darling of the media, Bush, Blair and all the rest. A word of caution from him would have been effective. In any case it was the Loya jirga (undoubtedly influenced) which chose Karzai but it could have made for a better team.

As regards his views on India, I suppose one has to expect what he says. His views are too well known and he dare not, at this time, be seen as a dove. There we go again with the eastern threat. No point in discussing this further because it will go off at a tangent as always.

“But in any case “the resolution of the (Kashmir) dispute, is the core”. back to square 1. Terrorism can be fought but….Kashmir is the core, is the core, is the core…….. Should I repeat the Indian mantra? :)

I am in agreement with his assesment about cutting

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive

Recent terrorists attack in Pune was one more attempt of pak sponsored terrorism in India. Their argument is that we will stop sponsoring terrorism after resolving Kashmir issue (resolve means handover Kashmir to them in their eye). There is no question of giving any part of Kashmir to them. Actually now time has come to take back POK also to resolve this issue forever. We should not bow down on international pressure for this matter and must built china like wall if required to stop infiltration. Once again it proves that we must not entertain pak people in India.

Also, with this attack statement of Sharukh (SRK) that to take Pak cricketer in IPL proved to be wrong. Shivsena was right by opposing SRK statement, but there way of opposing SRK film was wrong. Actually by this way they help in the public belief that SRK is right by making such wrong statement. We can never fight pak sponsored terrorism unless we change our mindset to favor pak people may be cricketer, singer, artists or others. Actually by ignoring them, It will create pressure on pak authorities to control terrorists. Our mindset has become pseudo-secularists and all the media also does the same thing. We afraid that minority in India will feel bad. Sorry to tell but with this mindset we can never fight terrorism by any means and suffer with it indefinitely!

Posted by aliens | Report as abusive

@“Musharraf is a convincing liar. He can lie …..”
He was born in Delhi, that’s why.
Posted by babag

Bagbag: Then why don’t you listen to Mammohan Singh, who is born in Pakistan, and speaks the truth?

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

Babag: “Musharraf is a convincing liar. He can lie …..”
He was born in Delhi, that’s why

So were Zia Ul Haq and your beloved Dr. AQ Khan.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive

“Then why don’t you listen to Mammohan Singh, who is born in Pakistan, and speaks the truth?”

He lives in India.

Posted by babag | Report as abusive

@“Then why don’t you listen to Mammohan Singh, who is born in Pakistan, and speaks the truth?”

He lives in India.
Posted by babag

—Explains the root cause of hatred for Muhajirs in Pakistan. Substance is not primary to you, where it comes from is important. So lies of those born in Pakistan are palatable to you. Keep it up.

Read this from your country man, Ahmad Faruqui, what hell Pakistan is unleashing in Azad Kashmir (he calls it living hell). Someone had the guts to speak the truth unlike others who are in constant struggle where the are born. Email him about his place of birth!

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn -content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/edit orial/16-azad-kashmir-today-hs-05

“During the past 62 years, the people of Azad Kashmir have been unable to arise out of poverty in large measure because they are caught in the crossfire between India and Pakistan. The land which their elders knew as a mountain paradise has been turned into a living hell.

Of the four million people who inhabit the region, nine of 10 live in extremely impoverished conditions in rural areas. Population growth is excessive, at 2.4 per cent per year, and the average house holds no fewer than seven people. Sadly, Azad Kashmir’s future is as murky today as it was in 1947. And the objective for its creation, the liberation of the vale of Kashmir, seems increasingly remote.”

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

@Actually by ignoring them, It will create pressure on pak authorities to control terrorists.”

@Our mindset has become pseudo-secularists and all the media also does the same thing.
Posted by aliens

–@pseudo-secularists! Reminded me of Advani, one who coined this term, called Jinnah secular. Modi showed his respect for secular constitution in Gujarat anti-Muslim riots, Congress did the same during Sikh killings.

Is their a motivating example of a “secular” leader or the need of secularism at all?

Posted by RajeevK | Report as abusive

@ Dara:

“Myra I think the reason why the crowds were overflowing is perhaps more to do with the man’s personality. If it were due to the great interest in Pakistan, which I’m sure there is anyway, I wonder if Nawaz Sharif or Gillani could draw them in similar fashion? Like it or not the man has a certain charisma.”

On this point — as opposed to getting into the bigger discussions — I tried to get a seat at a forum last month which included Imran Khan among the panelists and left it too late, so it was fully booked.

I’m not trying to suggest that everyone in London is talking about Afghanistan and Pakistan — like everyone else in the world people are getting on with their daily lives and worrying about the economy. But I have certainly noticed a steady increase in interest since I first moved back here, which includes (but is not limited to) seeing the free morning commuter newspaper print photos of soldiers who died in Afghanistan on its front page.

This is obviously no substitute for opinion polls. But I think it’s worth mentioning, since I am not sure whether it is clear in India how much the issue is discussed here?

Posted by Myra.MacDonald | Report as abusive