Musharraf turned the Pakistani world upside down with the revelation that Pakistan had trained terrorists to fight against India as all else had failed to evoke international response to Kashmir. Why did he do this soon after announcing his decision to return to active politics in Pakistan ”to galvanise Pakistanis and fight a “jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness”.
“It is the right of any country to promote its own interests when India is not prepared to discuss Kashmir at the United Nations and resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner,” as per Musharraf. Musharraf seized power in 1999 when, as chief of Pakistan’s army, he ousted elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a coup.
He told the German magazine, Der Spiegel, that the government turned a blind eye because it wanted to put pressure on India to enter talks. The Pakistani media is now playing with words when they argue that Musharraf claimed “they(the militant groups) were formed” but not by the government, though the government “turned a blind eye to them”.
He also said “The West blames Pakistan for everything. Nobody asks the Indian prime minister, why did you arm your country with a nuclear weapon? Why are you killing innocent civilians in Kashmir? Nobody was bothered that Pakistan got split in 1971 because of India’s military involvement. The United States and Germany gave statements, but they didn’t mean anything,”.
India has always alleged that Pakistan trained militants in the 1990s. But this is thought to be the first time such a senior figure in Pakistan has admitted it.
As per Musharraf, the West have made three blunders so far: After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, they abandoned the region in 1989. Then, after 9/11, they fought theTaliban instead of strengthening the Pashtuns who could have taken on the radical Taliban. Now you try to negotiate with so-called “moderate Taliban,” but there is no such thing as a moderate Taliban. There are Taliban and Pashtuns. But as I have always said: All Taliban are Pashtun, but not all Pashtun people are Taliban. Again, you should reinforce the ancient Pashtun clans who are not ideologically aligned with the Taliban to govern Afghanistan and to fight the Taliban. That’s my strong advice.
The fourth and worst blunder would be to quit without winning. Then militancy will prevail not only in Pakistan, India and Kashmir, but perhaps also in Europe, the United Kingdom and in the United States. That’s my belief.
Musharraf vowed to galvanise Pakistanis and fight a “jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness”. That he would find time from managing Jehadis once he is back in politics is a question that can be answered by his 9 long years of misrule. To a query on whether he might meet the same fate as that of Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated on her return to Pakistan, he said: ‘Yes, that is a risk, but it won’t stop me. I am happy here in London. I am earning good money, but Pakistan is my country.’
Then why did you do this Mr Musharraf?
Maybe to embarrass the existing dysfunctional democracy or his “India Centric”successor Kayani who headed the notorious ISI during his dictatorial rule. Next finger of suspicion points towards discrediting Nawaz Sharif who presided over the worst phase of Pakistan sponsored militancy in the 1990s and now his arch-rival in future Pakistani dispensation.
As per some media speculations Musharraf could “also be peddling his acceptability quotient to the west, whose support he will need to return to Pakistan”. The contemplation that revealing his dark past may soften western attitudes is a possibility.
The former Pakistan army chief, who masterminded a coup in October 1999 and overthrew the Nawaz Sharif government, pointed out that whenever Pakistan was in turmoil, ‘everybody looks to the army. But I would suggest that the times of military coups in Pakistan are over’. Is he discouraging Kayani from following the road he travelled?
Then there is the Kayani theory. Kayani may be using Musharraf to tell the world that the military controls the militants and any future Pakistan arrangement would find the centrality of Military in managing the Taliban and Pakistan based groups in Af Pak. This would nudge the West to negotiate with Pakistan military for a graceful exit from Afghanistan and the region itself. The current attacks on NATO convoys after blocking the supply routes point towards a sinister design. A design to blackmail US into keeping Pakistan Military central to any future arrangement in Afghanistan. Not beyond Kayani to engineer this perception management battle.
Internally it would bolster the sagging morale of the militants who now would find a greater acceptability in Pakistan society as saviours of Pakistan in their anti India tirade.
The Pakistani enigma had already been blown to smithereens by WikiLeaks. They had officially lost the moral high ground in convincing the world that they were the victims not perpetrators of terror. A confirmation of the same by Musharraf only goes to make WikiLeaks revelations more credible.
Pakistan’s future has little or no room for Musharraf. This sales pitch may just be to market himself to earn extra money by way of addressing think tanks and the Western intelligentsia. That, apart from all the political dispensations, may be a more plausible theory.