The speech under question is the January 12, 2002 speech of Gen. Musharraf over the national television in Pakistan. The US President, George Bush had exhorted Gen. Musharraf in the first week of January, to make his position clear on terrorism. As usual, in order to pull the wool over the eyes of India and Western benefactor countries, Musharraf made several promises. It is worth recalling some of them:
- He condemned the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament and said terrorism tarnished the image of Pakistan
- He banned Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
- He vowed to finish off religious extremism
- He promised that no organisations will be able to carry out terrorism on the pretext of Kashmir. Whoever is involved with such acts in the future will be dealt with strongly
- He said that Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used for any terrorist activity anywhere in the world.
- He ordered all madrasseh to register with the government within two months
Let's remember that Gen. Musharraf condemned, banned, vowed, promised, said and ordered so many things. And now, to the perfidious part of the speech. We will later see the perfidious action part as none of the above promises was kept. In the same speech, the following were interspersed as well:
- If Kashmir dispute was not resolved peacefully, the region will not see peace
- "Kashmir runs in our blood. No Pakistani can afford to sever links with Kashmir. We will continue to extend our moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmiris."
A few days after the January 12, 2002 speech, an open and defiant meeting was held in Holiday Inn, Islamabad where representatives of LeT, JeM, Tehrik-e-Jaffria, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) met with other similar luminaries as Lt. Gen. (r) Hamid Gul, Gen. (r) Aslam Beg, Maj. Gen. (r) Zaheerul Islam Abbassi (who in September 1995 tried a military coup along with terrorist outfits to seize power from Ms. Benazir Bhutto to establish a Caliphate) and Jama'at-e-Islami (S) chief Maulana Sami-ul-Haq (who is popularly known also as Maulana Sandwich for some strange reason) and discussed the 'appalling betrayal of the Kashmiri cause' by Gen. (r) Musharraf. Pakistan did nothing to prevent this meeting or arrest these people who support jihad openly. Since then, all the Pakistani actions have been farcical on the front of containment of terrorism even while claiming to take action all the time. So much so, President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani have said that Musharraf followed a policy of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.
Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, who held such portfolios as Information and Railways in Gen. Musharraf's Presidency, openly admitted that he was a jihadi in Kashmir. His colleagues in the jihad business ascertained that he set up a camp at Fateh Jung near Rawalpindi, where around 3,500 jihadis were trained in guerrilla warfare. Gen. (r) Mirza Aslam Beg, an ex Chief of Army Staff (COAS), confirmed the claim and went on to say that even the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could confirm that ! Gen. (r) Mirza Aslam Beg also said that the camp, Freedom House, still existed. Another ISI officer, since deceased, confirmed this.
Ms. Benazir Bhutto - no paragon of virtue herself when it comes to terrorism - admitted that some of her Army Generals planned to attack the US in collaboration with Osama bin Laden. Writing in the Washington Post on March 12, 2007, this is what Ms. Bhutto had to say: Why is it that all terrorist plots – from the Sept. 11 attacks, to Madrid, to London, to Mumbai – seem to have roots in Islamabad?Pakistan’s military and intelligence services have, for decades, used religious parties for recruits.
Mr. Shamshad Ahmed, a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan summed it up all nicely, in an article dated November 24, 2007, by saying, "Every act of violence anywhere in the world is traced back to our country in one way or the other."
Another former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, Najmuddin A Shaikh, wrote thus in Daily Times on August, 29, 2008 , while discussing Pakistani tactics in Afghanistan: It is now no secret that, Afghanistan apart, the assistance required by the spontaneous uprising in Indian-occupied Kashmir also made it necessary to maintain and enhance rather than dismantle the anti-Soviet jihad machinery.
This implicit reliance on jihad, terror, and violence to achieve political goals was amply demonstrated in the National Assembly of Pakistan by no other than the Secretary of Defence Maj. Tanveer Syed on Aug. 7, 2007 when he demanded the Pakistani government to wage jihad against India to get Kashmir. He assured the nation that if full-fledged jihad was waged, Pakistan would get Kashmir within six months. He said, "“India will not give freedom to the Kashmiris through dialogue so we have to wage a Jihad and our Mujahideen will secure the freedom of Kashmir within six months” It is noteworthy that the Secretary of Defence, who justified jihad, was a retired Army major.
One of Gen. (r) Musharraf's protege, Madam Shireen Mazari, whom he appointed as the Chairperson of the Pakistani Institute of Strategic Studies (aptly named PISS) as soon as he took over power, had this to write about the tactics to be adopted by the terrorists operating in Kashmir, in an article she penned in circa 1999 in The News: “But perhaps the Kashmiri freedom fighters need to be reminded of history: That freedom struggles like the Algerian only succeeded when the freedom fighters took the war to the French homeland. And the British only compromised with the Irish once the IRA took the war to the British Isles and London. These are the cruel realities of military struggles and so the Kashmir war must be taken to the Indian mainland, especially South India to make the ordinary Indian realise the costs of his government's occupation policy in Kashmir. If freedom is to be won through the barrel of a gun then niceties cannot prevail and efficiency and effectiveness should be the primary considerations”
Why does, therefore, Gen. (r) Musharraf want people to believe all the nonsense that he peddles now ? In the Times Now TV interview, Gen. (r) Musharraf blamed the US also for what he termed as 'religious militancy' in his country. No doubt the US, which is as tactically brilliant as its tight buddy Pakistan, failed to see or did not care or both, the long-term fall out of stoking Islamist, jihadi, sectarian mindset in the Af-Pak region. But, it was Pakistan and Pakistan alone that has preserved, nurtured and grown that mindset after circa 1989 to be used against its only enemy, India. Indeed, one can easily surmise that Pakistan participated in the Afghan jihad with the sole intent of turning it on against India later.
The irony is that Gen. (r) Musharraf claims that the policy of encouraging terrorism was practised by Pakistani regimes prior to his own. By their accusations against each other, the Pakistani leaders have all made it clear that every Pakistani government has used terrorism as a tool of the State.
(To be continued. . . )
"I Vetoed Plan by Pak to Attack America: Bhutto", Indian Express
A False Choice for Pakistan, Washington Post
Back to Stone Age, The Nation
Looking back at our role in Afghanistan
Parliamentary Secretary Calls for Jihad