Musharraf spoke at Stanford
General Pervez Musharraf who ruled Pakistan for almost nine years was
a 'Big Speaker' at Stanford University today.
Musharraf spoke for over 50 minutes mainly describing Pakistan's role
in helping the West defeat the Soviet Union, and now in the ongoing
War on Terror. He said the war against the Taliban was Pakistan's
war, and the West should not doubt Pakistan's intentions. He said
there were powerful lobbies trying to malign the Pakistan Army and the
ISI; he said that Pakistani soldiers were being killed while fighting
the militants, and asked how can anyone believe there was
'double-dealing' going on. Musharraf's holistic approach to fight
terrorism involved keeping a strong military "because that's the language these elements understand", but also alleviate poverty and educate people, and solve long simmering political conflicts.
Musharraf's speech was followed by a short one-to-one question-answer
session with Professor Scott Sagan. Besides other questions Sagan
asked why Pervez Musharraf pardoned AQ Khan. Musharraf said that AQ
Khan was a very popular person in Pakistan and the 'sensibilities' of
his country demanded that AQ Khan not be put through any interrogation
The QA session was then opened to the larger audience. In most of the
questions asked by the Desi students Musharraf was criticized for
removing Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, for selling his countrymen
to the US, and for suppressing media. Musharraf said whatever he did
against the Chief Justice, he did according to the rights provided to
him in the constitution. He blamed 'certain elements' for taking
political advantage of the situation; he said that ultimately the
situation got so bad that he was forced to declare emergency.
Musharraf said that the 600 people he wrote about in his book whom he
handed over to the US were all foreign members of Al-Qaeda. He
claimed no Pakistani was given to the US, and said that he even sent a
team to Guantanamo Bay to get a few Pakistanis who were arrested in
Afghanistan released from the US custody.
Talking about the Mumbai attacks Musharraf said Pakistan must punish
those who were involved in planning the attacks, but should not
extradite anyone. He claimed that whereas 61 Pakistanis were killed
in Samjhota Express explosions which were later proved to be the work
of Hindu extremists and ex-Indian Army personnel, Pakistan never
demanded extradition of the people responsible for that act of terror.