Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said that Pakistan’s very existence would have been at stake, had he not decided to join the US-led global “war on terror” following the 9/11 apocalyptic attacks in the United States.
Speaking in BBC Urdu programme Talking Point, the former president defended his decision of siding with the Americans, saying that he had taken the decision after weighing the pros and cons of the situation.
He sought to dispel the impression that he was bullied into taking the decision in a phone call by then US secretary of state Collin Powell. “I’d not changed our policy merely on a phone call,” he added.
A day after Powell’s call to Musharraf, his deputy Richard Armitage had also threatened the then-chief of Pakistan’s top spy agency in a phone call that the US would bomb Pakistan back to the Stone Age.
Musharraf said the Bush administration had made up its mind to attack the Taliban-led Afghanistan. And had Pakistan not taken a U-turn on its Afghan policy, the United States would have destroyed Pakistan with the help of India. “Pakistan’s nuclear assets and its very existence would have been at stake,” he added.
Rejecting all conspiracy theories, the former military ruler conceded that the 9/11 attacks were plotted on “Pakistan’s mountains and Afghanistan” and this fact opened Pandora’s Box for Islamabad.
He blamed the United States and its Western allies for the present mess in Afghanistan. “Washington has made a huge blunder by ignoring the Pakhtun majority in the war-ravaged country,” he added.
Over 130,000 US-led coalition troops have been fighting the deadly Taliban insurgency for a decade now. And there is no end in sight to fighting, albeit the foreign troops would start pulling out of Afghanistan in July this year.
He said the Pakistani military should either launch an offensive in the North Waziristan tribal region or give a justification for not doing so. “Pakistan’s soil should not be used for creating instability in any of its neighbours,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2011.