Ex-President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf was featured at the University of Stanford as the ‘Big Speaker‘. As predicted it was bound to be hot event both in terms of the attendance as well as the discussion that followed. According to the press release issued by University of Stanford Pervaiz Musharraf discussed his eight year presidential experience shedding light on the war on terrorism that dominated most of his tenure since 2001.
He claimed that Pakistan hasn’t received enough financial support or international credit in its fight against groups like al-Qaida and the Taliban and was defensive about the money that Pakistan did receive under his watch from Western countries which was to the tune of $10 billion contributed mostly by the United States. This sum was according to him minuscule amount compared to the funds that have been given to Afghanistan and Iraq.
But he was categorical to point out that “There is no misuse of these funds, They are utilized. This is pittance for a country which is in the lead role to fight terrorism. We must get much more.”
The 45 minute Q&A session sparked off a flurry of questions one audience member was very upfront about his stay in power to say
Given that you came to power illegally, given that you illegally twice suspended the constitution of Pakistan, given that you have consistently undermined the judiciary system in your country,”
While an Indian participant grilled the ex-President on Pakistan’s link with the Mumbai attacks “Why should we believe anything you said,” said one student from India, asked after ticking off a litany of accusations against Musharraf ranging from political corruption to assisting terrorists. “I don’t agree with any of the words you said,” the former president shot back. “It is your word against mine.”
For the benefit of those who still believe that $11 Billion was utilized and dispersed properly by the Pakistan Army must read this report published by CSIS back in November of 2007 – A Perilous Course: U.S. Strategy and Assistance to Pakistan [PDF], should be enough to help Pervaiz Musharraf find his way down in the trenches after having perched on a high stool for so long.
I share with you the contents of a leaflet that was distributed by Friends of South Asia, a desi activist group based in the San Francisco area at the University of Stanford meeting.
WHAT IS GENERAL MUSHARRAF DOING AT STANFORD?
Pakistan’s Pinochet should be in Prison, not a Prestigious Speaker at Stanford It is both ironic and pathetic that a former U.S.-backed military dictator who played a central role in perpetuating terror in Pakistan is allowed by a prestigious university like Stanford to lecture on the subject. In 1999, Pakistan was a stable country with a moderate political party in power. There were no suicide bombings, and no abductions by
extremists. By 2007, Pakistan was among the world’s most dangerous places. This transformation is the result of Musharraf’s disastrous rule, and U.S. support for him.
Pakistan has received $11 billion from the U.S. in direct aid for fighting terrorism, funds that he diverted in efforts to retain his support within the army, upgrade weapons to be used against India, and unleash systematic violence against his political opponents. Further, both the U.S. and Pakistan under Musharraf have colluded in the brutal bombing of Pakistan’s north-western regions as part of the “war on terror,” a counterproductive strategy that has strengthened the appeal of the Taliban for locals. Funding a military dictator and undertaking imperialist military campaigns have thus strengthened both the culture of militarism and militancy in Pakistan. The way to achieve peace and stability is to strengthen the rule of law, real democracy and social justice. The U.S.-Musharraf alliance has done just the opposite.
5 questions that Musharraf needs to answer & crimes that he must be tried for:
- Abductions and Torture of “Missing People”
How would you feel, General, if your son was illegally abducted, tortured, and remained missing with no case and no trace? Under the garb of fighting the war on “terror,” your militaryintelligence regime kidnapped and brutalized 700 “disappeared” Pakistani citizens – these are just the documented ones – many of whom are secular-liberal Baloch and Sindhi students, journalists, poets, and political activists. Are they all terrorists? Who gave you the right to terrorize citizens and then have the audacity to speak about preventing terrorism?
- Supporting Talibanization
How do you claim to protect Pakistan and the world from terrorism when the Pakistani military and ISI under you has continued to fund jihadi organizations? In 2002, in particular, you undertook sham elections in which secular-nationalist parties were banned, and – in line with the military-mullah alliance that has been in place since the 80s – you deliberately paved the way for religious parties to form a government in a Pakistani province for the first time in the history of the country. The North-West Frontier, since, has gradually descended into the most brutal form of Talibanization. Why is it that the government under you was so efficient in banning media and abducting reporters associated with KTN and Sindh TV, while Maluvi Fazlullah’s FM radio in Swat and Bajaur Agency was allowed to operate freely? Maulvi Fazlullah now runs his parallel Taliban state in Swat.
- Sabotaging the Democratic Process and Rule of Law
You illegally dismissed the elected Parliament of Pakistan in 1999 and then ruled for 9 years – a corrupt military dictatorship in which military officials grabbed state funds, land and power, and became entrenched in running everything from the bureaucracy to academic institutions. You committed treason again by imposing emergency in November 2007, this time launching a wholesale slaughter of the judicial branch of government – illegally dismissing and detaining more than 50 judges including the Chief Justice of Pakistan, arresting thousands of lawyers, students, human rights activists, and political party workers, and introducing draconian laws for court-marshalling citizens. Your pretext? The judges were releasing terrorists! The real cause? They were investigating the “missing people” case amongst others, and questioning your regime’s use of illegal abductions and torture i.e. they were protecting the public from your terrorism.
- External military violence: The Kargil crisis of 1999
Your reckless military attack in Kargil in 1999 – in which Pakistani soldiers as well as hired fighters posed as mujahideen and attacked Indian-administered Kashmir – was undertaken without any regard for parliamentary process as well as the ongoing peace process with India. It brought India and Pakistan to near-war, caused the death of more than a thousand Pakistani soldiers and 500 Indian soldiers, and displaced hundreds of borders citizens.
- Internal military violence: Bombing of Lal Masjid, Balochistan, Waziristan, Bajaur
Your sordid military campaigns are too many to count. You launched fighter jets and gunship helicopters to openly kill hundreds of Balochis as well as the prominent nationalist leader of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who had served as the Chief Minister of Baluchistan, and was also an elected member of the National Assembly. Baloch nationalists had been rightly resisting the illegal control of their land and resources by your government. For years you support religious militancy, and then launch bombing campaigns on Lal Masjid in Islamabad, Waziristan and Bajaur under the “war on terror”, killing hundreds of innocent civilians while tacitly letting the big Taliban loose. Your bombing campaigns in the North-West Frontier Province have paved the way for the biggest Internally Displaced People (IDP) crisis in our history, with more than half a million people fleeing the region. You actively supported MQM violence on May 12, 2007 in Karachi, as MQM unleashed its violence on citizens and the media for its support of the lawyers’ movement.