Musharraf Discusses India, Terrorism, And His Future
As the former military ruler of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf is not exactly known as an apostle of democracy. He seized power in a coup in 1999; three years ago, he was pushed out of office after imposing martial law.
But as he tells Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep, Musharraf intends to return to Pakistan — as an elected leader. He even has a Facebook page.
Musharraf also had plenty to say about his country’s relations with India — and the military tension between the two nations. Here are highlights of those comments, excerpted from a 50-minute conversation:
Chances For Peace In Pakistan
“Peace will not come that easily. One is the resolution of disputes; the other is the forced differential, and the orientation of Indian armed forces entirely against Pakistan.
“If that be the case, even if you have peace and resolve disputes, but if Pakistan sees 80 percent of Indian forces — army, navy, air force —oriented toward Pakistan, well, that is a serious issue.
“So therefore, any sensible government will also counter that with a force oriented to the eastern border. And this is exactly what’s been done since 1948… to deter aggression by India. Which is three times more than Pakistan. The army is three times more, the air force is maybe five times more. The navy is maybe five or six times more…
So, unfortunate reality, why I have to be so emotional about it, is every time it is Pakistan who is a rogue. Indian bomb is not a Hindu bomb. Pakistan bomb is a Islamic bomb. I think we are being very impartial, we are being very unfair to Pakistan…”
His Role In Talks Over Kashmir
“I was certainly trying for it [peace]. And we were reaching success. I have always praised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [of India] for his sincerity to reach peace. And we almost reached peace on all the three issues…the third one, Kashmir, we had made some certain parameters and we were moving forward towards drafting an agreement. Unfortunately, that was not to be, but I tried my best.
“And I think the way forward is peace — for the sake of world, which thinks that this is a nuclear flash point; for the sake of SAARC, the only organization of South Asia, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which is impotent because of the conflict because of India and Pakistan; and for the sake of bilateral Pakistan-India advantages — socio-economic advantages which will flow from peace between the two countries…”
The Pakistani Military’s Image
“The problem is every time a civilian government comes, they will conveniently put the blame on the military. This is not at all the case. [The] military is always in favor of resolution of all the disputes, including Kashmir.
“Unfortunately, the world has been told that it is the Pakistan military which is very intransigent. They have been told that their attitude is because they’ll lose in importance. That is not at all the case — they will not lose in importance as long as Indian forces are poised against Pakistan.
“It’s not an issue of resolution of dispute. It’s an issue of a reality on [the] ground, where Indian forces are poised against Pakistan’s borders. As long as that stays. Pakistan’s military significance will always stay.”