Pervez Musharraf: “We fight for Pakistan”

One of the most prominent problems of the world is terrorism. RT spoke to a man who is no stranger to the “War on Terror”, ex-president of Pakistan and a man who ruled the country for nine years, Mr. Pervez Musharraf.

RT: To your opinion, what is the role of Russia in the “War on Terror”, and, specifically, in the region of Afghanistan?

Pervez Musharraf: Yes, Russia has been very familiar with the region, and therefore it must have a very positive effective role in stabilizing Afghanistan. What we need to develop in Afghanistan is a homegrown political system which keeps the integrity of Afghanistan intact.

Therefore, Russia must contribute towards that, and develop a homegrown political solution to the situation inside of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was together for 300 years, more than that, through a term called Missah-ke-Milli. This is a socio-political contract, a national covenant, where all the ethnic groups: the Tajiks, Uzbeks, Khazars, Pakhtuns. They decided to remain intact and accepted the sovereignty of the king.

So we need to know, now that the king is no more there, we have to develop another, homegrown Missa-ke-milli, the same socio-political contract with the ethnic groups, that must ensure the territorial integrity of Afghanistan and decide what kind of government they want. Russia must play a role in that.

RT: Mr. Musharraf, many experts believe that the situation in Pakistan is deteriorating. What’s your opinion on this issue?

P.M.: These bomb blasts should not deter anyone that Pakistan is in danger. Nothing will happen to Pakistan. Pakistan is a country of 170 million people, and very strong armed forces.

It is most unfortunate that innocent people get killed because of a bomb blast. Who is doing this? It is being done by the same terrorists, the terrorists who have come from all over the world. These we call Al-Qaeda. They are foreigners. They are from all over the Muslim world, especially from Saudi Arabia, from the Gulf area and North African countries. They are there. And there are a lot of Uzbeks, and there are Chechens. But more Uzbeks. They are still there. So we need to fight them and defeat them.

And then, with them, it is the Taliban, the militant Taliban who carry out these bomb blasts. So we have to defeat them. But we have to bear the brunt, unfortunately, of innocent people being killed.

RT: Mr. Musharraf, you ruled Pakistan for nine years, almost ten. But many actually blame you that you sympathize with Taliban. What would your reply be to these people?

P.M.: Do you think it is very logical that those people who are trying to kill me, that I will go and shake hands with them? Is it very logical? No, it is not logical, nothing of that sort has happened.

We have to go on a military path. 1,500 soldiers got killed. Do you think we are dealing with them? We have killed hundreds of them! So, how is it possible that this – what you’re saying – that we are dealing with them.

Yes, we are dealing with them to have a political solution. You must deal with them to have a political solution. Otherwise, how will you come to a political solution? So, therefore, it is a three-pronged approach that we have always followed, that I have followed: military, political and socio-economic.

Political – from the position of strength. You use military, show them that you are strong, and then go for a political resolution. Therefore, while we talk, we would like to talk to them. What I have said – “Missah-ke-milli” – “homegrown”. How do you have a homegrown Missah-ke-milli if you don’t talk to them? You must talk to them.

So, we were talking to them, but that it does not mean that we are with them. So, unfortunately, a lot of people have created this misperception.

RT: But still, Mr. Musharraf, what do you think – to what extent did the United States influence, or perhaps even boost Pakistan into the War on Terror’?

P.M.: I don’t think so. American forces are doing action in Afghanistan. Pakistan forces are doing action to protect Pakistan. The Taliban are not want we want in Pakistan. Their views on Islam are not what we want for Pakistan. Therefore, Pakistani armed forces are fighting Taliban in their own interests.

Now, this is a misperception that every one creates that I was fighting because Bush had told me, and now we’re fighting because Obama is saying. No, no. Obama may be interested, or Bush may be interested, or the US may be interested in Afghanistan. Our interest is Pakistan and nobody else. We fight for Pakistan.

RT: What does the future hold for your homeland?

P.M.: The conditions in Pakistan must improve. Pakistan has problems. We must recover from those problems and that causes concern.

RT: Mr. Musharraf, thank you very much for this very interesting interview, and for your very precious time.

P.M.: Thank you.