Ifs and buts and Pervez Musharraf BY Muhammad Abdullah Gul


 Exactly 15 years after the incident of 9/11 General (R) Pervez Musharraf in his recent interview made an effort to dispel some of the accusation made against him. Some of the glaring accusations are listed here under:- a. After 9/11 he gave in to the US demands too quickly, meekly and cheaply because of which Pakistan is suffering today. b. His U-turn on Afghanistan was flawed and Pakistan had to pay a heavy price for it. c. Rather than working on his 7 point agenda which had germs of success, his option to create a King’s party comprising of turn coast from other political parties and tagged to NAB cases was selfish and politically motivated. d. Sending regular troops into South Waziristan in 2003 was in violation of the 1948 Agreement, when triggered insurgency in FATA. e. Giving a free hand to CIA and FBI from 2006 onward and allowing drone was created space to TTP and allowed foreign agencies to establish their network in Pakistan. f. Rather than making a change in strategy on Kashmir, he unilaterally changed the Kashmir policy which gave a tactic blow to freedom movement in Kashmir. g. Adoption of ‘do more’ policy to please the US was detrimental to Pakistan’s interests. h. Concept of enlightened moderations was in contravention to objectives resolution and Quaid-e-Azam’s dream of making Pakistan an Islamic welfare state. In his apparent bid to show soft face of Pakistan to the world, he strove to make Pakistan a secular state. This ignited religions extremism. i. Sacking of Chief Justice Iftekhar Chaudhary in March 2007 paved the way to his downfall and declaration of emergency on 3 November 2007 to save his skin dug this last nail in his coffin. j. Issuance of NRO was a blunder which brought in dream-team of USA-UK, the PPP-MQM-ANP coalition caused worst harm to Pakistan in its 5 years. k. Promotion of MQM was his worst sin which caused grievous harm to Karachi, Pakistan’s economy and jolted Pakistan. Gen Musharraf has been charged on following accounts and cases are being pursued by the Courts. His sorry explanation of the decision to take a U-turn on Afghanistan had badly bared his decision-making process as seriously limited, flawed and despondent which resulted present gloom in Pakistan. He kept changing his stance on many policy decisions, initially he maintained that the decision to support the global war on terror was a principled stand but now he has revealed that it was due to US military threat. In his autobiography, “In The Line of Fire” on page 201 he writes “When I was back in Islamabad the next day, our director general of Inter Services Intelligence, who happened to be in Washington, told me on the phone about his meeting with the U.S. deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage. In what has to be the most undiplomatic statement ever made, Armitage added to what Colin Powell had said to me and told the director general not only that we had to decide whether we were with America or with the terrorists, but that if we chose the terrorists, then we should be prepared to be bombed back to the Stone Age. This was a shockingly barefaced threat, but it was obvious that the United States had decided to hit back hard” . But both of these statements are not correct, there is enough evidence to prove that there was no direct military threat by the US. George Bush, Colin Powell and Richard Arbitrage have denied that they ever threatened Pakistan with military action, let alone to bomb it back to the Stone Age. Gen Mushrraf at once accepted all conditions set by the Americans. In his book “Bush At War” at page no 59, Bob Woodward writes “at I:30 P.M. on 13th September 2001, Powell called Musharraf” and “ Mushrraf to Powell’s surprise said that Pakistan would support the United States with each of seven action”. In 2006, when Bush was asked about the threat made against Pakistan, he claimed that the first time he had ever heard of it was when he had read a report of Musharraf’s remarks in that day’s newspaper. “I guess I was taken aback by the harshness of the words,” said Bush. “All I can tell you is that shortly after 9/11, Secretary [of State] Colin Powell came in and said, President Musharraf understands the stakes and he wants to join and help root out an enemy that has come and killed 3,000 of our citizens. I don’t know of any conversation that was reported in the newspaper like that. I just don’t know about it” . After making calamitous decision he tried to reach my late father General Hamid Gul for consultation, whom he used to idealize as role model, but he refused to meet him because the decision was already taken. Later he sent message via director general ISI General Mehmood who visited our home and said that Americans will go back before the month of Ramzan. He assured my father that they are not going to handover bases the US forces, they will not let them install anti Pakistan regime in Kabul, and they will kept outside the penetration line and will be fed with the intelligence they want. Conversely central intelligence agency (CAI) got space in the ISI headquarters, civilians were bombed with drones, and Blackwater agents were roaming unchecked until he was replaced by General Ishfaq Pervez Kayani. As far expert opinion on Kargil operation is concerned according to Lt-Gen (retd) Shaid Aziz who was heading analysis wing of ISI during the conflict “The Kargil war was an unsound military plan based on invalid assumptions, launched with little preparation and in total disregard of the regional and international environment” . General Hamid Gul was also of the view that a military operation without a clear political purpose is like shot in the dark and Mushrraf should have faced court martial for his harebrained adventure. Similarly there are several highly controversial claims in autobiography. In my opinion he has unnecessarily divulge state secrets in his book which is full of contradictions and factual inaccuracies. For example dates of martial law imposed by Iskandar Mirza and dismissal of Benazir Bhutto’s second government are incorrect. He took official jets to set out on tour to Europe and America on promotional campaigns for boosting the sale of his book. It’s worth mentioning that many including two former heads states of Bush and Vajpayee have rejected claims made by him in his book. Musharraf disclosure in the book that the US had paid millions of dollars to Pakistan for capturing Al Qaeda operatives was a humiliation for the country. Under the US law, they cannot give prize money to any government or institution, and the federal Govt of Pakistan has denied receiving any such payments. He was pointless when tried to depict a picture where army officials cared about personal friendships more than their professional duties “Consider the cast of actors and their relationship to me. Apart from being their chief, I played squash with the two commanding officers, Shahid Ali and Javed Sultan. Mohammad Aziz was my appointee. The commander of the Rawalpindi Corps, Mahmood Ahmed, had been my regimental commanding officer when I was in charge of an artillery brigade in 1986-1987. The DGMO, Shahid Aziz, is my relative. The commander of the Triple One Brigade, Brigadier Sallahuddin Satti, was my brigade major when I was a brigadier. The officers critical to the countercoup in the other cities, Lahore and Karachi, were also my appointees. Only the head of our premier security service, the ISI, Lieutenant General Ziauddin, was close to Nawaz Sharif __ but Ziauddin did not command any soldiers. The deck was stacked against the prime minister” . The biggest crime committed by him was to betray Muslim brothers of Afghanistan for which Pakistan is still paying through blood and flesh. I am optimistic that people seated in the helms of affairs will gradually reverse his policies, which indeed is the only salvation paradigm. To conclude the reality of his services for Pakistan and “Pakistan First” slogan can be fully understood by this statement of former Israeli President Shimon Peres “As a good Jewish boy, I would have never dreamed that I would pray for the safety of Musharraf, the president of Pakistan. That is a most unexpected experience” . =================