Woodrow Wilson Centre speech: Musharraf vows to repeat his actions

Published: July 22, 2011
Confesses his one and only regret was to offer indemnity to politicians under the NRO.

Confesses his one and only regret was to offer indemnity to politicians under the NRO.


Former president Pervez Musharraf vowed on Thursday that if he ever rose to power again he would not do things differently but would repeat all that he had done before.

“Whatever I did, I need to repeat it if I am back in power,” he told participants at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.

However, Musharraf confessed that he did have one regret. “The only regret I have was on cutting a deal with Benazir Bhutto and implementing the National Reconciliation Ordinance,” he said. Benazir, according to him, violated her agreement with him to not return before the elections.

When quizzed about whether he knew about Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad since he was also army chief at the time that OBL allegedly moved there, Musharraf said that he was not aware, “whether anyone believes it or not”. Musharraf also took the opportunity to explain his actions in 2005. “I was trying to wean the Pakhtuns away from the Taliban, we were trying to organise local jirgas.” Musharraf said that he was accused of playing a double game, whereas he was trying to wean away those who did not want to support the Taliban.

Musharraf said that he regretted missing the fleeting opportunity of achieving an agreement on issues with Kashmir. He said that they were close to an agreement on Sir Creek, Siachen and Kashmir, but that fleeting moment passed. He pointed out that this was a missed opportunity by the US, calling it their “great blunder”.

On his return to Pakistan

Speaking to this correspondent after the event, the former president said that he would be returning to Pakistan on 23rd March 2012. Dubbing the charges against him in the Benazir Bhutto murder case as politically motivated, Musharraf said he was willing to face it, including more political cases that he expected to come up once he returned. He said that there was a leadership vacuum in Pakistan and that his party would gain momentum once he returned.

US women protest address

A day earlier, three American women protested with the Asia director of the Woodrow Wilson Centre for International Scholars over hosting the talk of Pervez Musharraf. Calling Musharraf a despot and a fugitive from justice, they asked him to cancel the address. One of the three women, Laurie Deamer, warned that  “Musharraf’s talk will deeply offend the Baloch because they will perceive Americans as welcoming a leader who failed to protect their friends’ and family members’ lives”. “This will serve only to rub salt into the wounds of the Baloch who must live here, because it is too dangerous for them to remain in Balochistan,” Deamer wrote to Robert Hathaway, the centre’s Asia director.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (61)

  • Naveed
    Jul 22, 2011 - 10:15AM

    I like the guy ..Recommend

  • Amjad
    Jul 22, 2011 - 10:17AM

    How will Musharraf be back in power when only a minority of misguided people support him? Does he plan to take over the country illegaly by guns and force so that he can have another 9 years of illegal dictatorship? How can any self respecting nation allow someone who has no respect for the constitution and laws to contest elections? So sad.


  • Karachivi
    Jul 22, 2011 - 10:52AM

    Wow! An American lady speaking for the Baloch people. Speaks volumes!!! CIA goes overt from covert, will be a headline in the near future.


  • Ali Turk
    Jul 22, 2011 - 11:01AM

    I bet he will never come back to Pakistan
    He has close to Nil support amongst masses
    he does not realise the damage,the long term harm he has caused to the country and the armed forces.


  • ahmed juneid
    Jul 22, 2011 - 11:16AM

    There are no comments on this report.Goes on to show how unpopular this person has become.Even the present situation in Pakistan is not good enough to spare a thought for Mr Musharaaf.He says, his govt was close to making a solution to the kashmir issue.No matter whatever happens,both indian and Pak are (jointly) making their respective nations a jester Who wants to leave kashmir.They are here to enjoy the huge chunk of expenditure going into their kitty in the name of “Defence”.Recommend

  • Cloud 7
    Jul 22, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Musharraf may or may not come back to Pakistan and may or may not repeat what he has done during his ten-year despotic rule. The only thing worrying is that the ‘iron man’ never takes responsibility for whatever went wrong under his command — Bugti and Benazir’s murders, turning Fata into a battleground, trying to find military solution of Balochistan, first allowing the Lal Masjid clerics a free hand and then culminating everything in tragedy. Is Musharraf telling us that he would come back and start another bogus rule, that is if gets one. Recommend

  • Karim
    Jul 22, 2011 - 11:33AM

    Argumentum ad Hominum!


  • Jul 22, 2011 - 11:38AM

    Musharaf knows he was simply the best, so he is more keen to repeat his actions.
    A MAN always stand firms.


  • Sad Panda
    Jul 22, 2011 - 11:54AM

    Just finished reading the book by Syed Shahzad Saleem, for which he ended up losing his promising life. It was so depressing to read that how, under Musharaff, we first relinquished South Waziristan and then the North and finally FATA to the yahoos known as Talibans. Mush’s job was to protect this country from both external and internal threats and he failed miserably on both counts.humiliating defeats to Taliban is the legacy which he left behind before he made the dash to England. Killing of Bugti, turned from few thugs attacking the security forces to a full fledged insurgency and half of Baluchistan is not under Pakistan’s direct control anymore. The cost of all these adventures are way more than the benefits which Mush’s so called era of enlightened moderation gave us.
    I hope Mush comes back and fight the elections in Pakistan and find out his real worth. He will probably bag a single seat but I doubt he will ever come back.Recommend

  • Ayesha Iqbal
    Jul 22, 2011 - 11:56AM

    Respected sir,” we are being a unite nation.with due respect,”i will bring a kind notice for your kind information that you are the best & Pakistan is in great trouble,we all having,facing problems that’s why we need you the greatest political hero.Sir,i request you to show your attitude and save the Nation in Worldwide.pleas,pleas,please.


  • shah faisal
    Jul 22, 2011 - 12:16PM

    so he was there on selling sir creek, kashmir and siachin but americans din pay enough dollars…. he wud repeat the actions given another chance…….

    lol… given another chance..

    UK based politicians will liberate pakistan =) doing deals with USRecommend

  • Baba Jee
    Jul 22, 2011 - 12:24PM

    It is time to stop addressing the American audience and start talking to the Poor of Pakistan. Mr. Musharraf had a decent term at the top slot. If he had delivered he would not be in exile!

    Those who have a chance now must learn before the tide rises any further….

    Individuals come and go… institutions build Nations…..

    We need sincere people who know that they shall live and die in and for Pakistan…. The others are available in Pakistan by the Dozens….


  • MI
    Jul 22, 2011 - 12:34PM

    Musharraf, was, is and will remian the best leader of Pakistan. Musharraf opponents are either corruption supporter or are indians, otherwise every sincere Pakistani love hims and misses him.


  • grinz09
    Jul 22, 2011 - 12:55PM

    @Ali Turk:
    Look at how the masses are suffering NOW under psuedo “democracy”.


  • Zaka
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:05PM

    @Ali Turk
    You can dream whatever you want but the fact is that after Musharraf’s APML registration the loot parties have already started packing up. Inshallah this time nation will not let them run away.


  • parvez
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:07PM

    Excellent insight into the thinking of a person who refuses to learn from his many mistakes.


  • Lobster
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:09PM

    I think 10 years are enough to turn a country around. His picks were the worst of lot, Chaudhary Shujaat and co. More than once he preferred his interests over country’s.


  • Pakistani
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:11PM

    Good days will be back with his return. I want an escape from this democracy of revenge.


  • Hassan
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:14PM

    He should regret for NRO, due to which we have come at this stage that there is no electricity, gas & water. All our public sector has divested.


  • Jul 22, 2011 - 1:21PM

    As he said, he will not do things differently – he will take over the government by force with the military backing. As soon as he is president again, travel the world and not do a thing for the country.


  • Jul 22, 2011 - 1:23PM

    IF he ever rose ti power again. He knows that’s not happening. Bolne mein kya jata hai?


  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:47PM

    The single biggest achievement of Pervez Musharraf was to ensure a steep decline in the incidence poverty in Pakistan from 35 percents when he took over, down to 17 percents at the end of 2007. This finding had been approved and validated by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (these are multilateral international institutions over which PM had no control so no need to dispute these figures).

    The Asian economic development model is different from the one in the West. Look at Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and China, yes China. All these countries became Asian Tigers under the patronage and supervision of dictators or closed political systems. India may be an exception. But compare India to Chia. The two countries being identical in many respects, with India having some advantages over China. But China is far ahead of Indida in terms of economic growth, per capita income and so on. China’s closed political system with unparallel focus on quick, effective and flexible decision makings served it well. So there are alternatives to democracy atleast in the short-run. At the end of the day, every country has to become a democratic one. But the Asia model dictates; rapid economic development under dictatorships and opening up to democracy and other liberal ideas once you achieve a certain level of prosperity. I wish Pakistan could have followed this model………..


  • Zubair Muhammad
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:49PM

    People mass in pakistan like and respect hm, once he come back he will be welcomed
    Pakistani tried of Nawaz and others trust me i do go to street and ask people.He had a good team and good policies.we had good days in his govt.Recommend

  • nasir
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:51PM

    @Baba Jee:
    name a couple among those dozens


  • Mr. Nobody
    Jul 22, 2011 - 1:55PM

    he seems to be the best hope for pakistan in current situation.as much as i grudgingly admire him for his wit and personality my indian genes do not permit me to like him because of what he did in kargil.


  • Sanaullah
    Jul 22, 2011 - 2:09PM

    A true and patriotic leader but not a visionary.


  • Karim
    Jul 22, 2011 - 2:22PM

    @Baba Jee:
    would you like to name a few out of the available dozens?


  • RP
    Jul 22, 2011 - 2:26PM

    so his only mistake was the NRO
    and the sacking of the Chief Justice was…… ????


  • roomi
    Jul 22, 2011 - 3:23PM

    Nine years of unlimited and unchecked Power he had and where did it take Pakistan- to the current crisis when Balochistan to Waziristan is on fire and there are bombs going off everywhere! He has a lot to answer for. From his secret “deals” to keep himself in power and unchecked corporotisation of the army and the country to the deaths of leaders like Benazir and Bugti. He came into power by starting a military adventure in kargil that cost lots of poor Jawans their lives on a no hope mission behind the backs of an elected Government who was making peace deals with India.


  • Hassan K Bajwa
    Jul 22, 2011 - 3:25PM

    What i wouldn’t give for another Mush era.

    I think rather it is the anti-musharraf league that severely overestimates their own popularity among the masses and completely underestimate the fond memories the masses actually have of Mush.

    ask a poor man on the street and he will reminisce the “good times” under mush.

    Anyhow we’ll see next year what happens. Recommend

  • Khan
    Jul 22, 2011 - 3:55PM

    In our society every one thinks they know better than the other … calling some one misguided without enough knowledge will land you no where. I agree democracy is better than dictatorship but if a dictator who gave us hundreds of universities, stronger economy, independent media to name a few … terrorism in Pakistan is not because of him rather its because of all those previous governments (mainly Zia) who failed to seal the border and FATA from where people cross the border for attacking another country.
    Please enlighten us as to who in your so called democratic parties respect law and constitution?
    Musharraf tried to increase education level by many folds … only educated people can distinguish between good and bad politicians thus voting right people instead of sticking with political parties for life despite their incompetency and corruption. There is no substitute for good democracy but for that you need a populace who can distinguish between good and bad for the country. So in short the majority of people are misguided and the proof is voting corrupt leaders and voting those based on family politics instead of country.


  • Jul 22, 2011 - 4:12PM

    When did you realise this mistake Mr. Musharraf? It was an executive order. Could it have been reversed before you bowed out? If yes, then probably this may have been the ONLY best thing you did to the entire NATION.


  • Y Khan
    Jul 22, 2011 - 4:12PM

    LOL…an american women supporting the baloch :)

    The name of CIA comes to mind!


  • Zulfiqar Haider
    Jul 22, 2011 - 4:19PM

    Dictators have their own way of doing things. However, it is very clear that only a handful of persons endorse his actions. So, it doesn’t really matter if he comes back or not.


  • ehsanali
    Jul 22, 2011 - 5:27PM

    He never sacked CJ only he reffered his case of corruption to supreme judicial council which was sabotaged and things were overblown and country pushed 100 year back.Even now CJ is impotent.


  • Q
    Jul 22, 2011 - 5:59PM

    Great leader..


  • Akbar
    Jul 22, 2011 - 6:08PM

    Musharraf rocks – all the way ! I will come back only if he comes, otherwise good bye to Pakistan !


  • aafat
    Jul 22, 2011 - 6:11PM

    The bottom line is that things were, on the whole, better in his time.


  • Mohammad naeem
    Jul 22, 2011 - 6:16PM

    an entertainer for drawing-room class!
    In mush rule judges, media, politicians,civil society and ppl of baluchistan and fata were under siege.. Check the history and compare it with current dmocracy. That is only why we say worst democracy is nicer than best dictatorship!


  • Mirza
    Jul 22, 2011 - 6:20PM

    Without serving and communicating with the poor people of Pakistan, Mush’s lust for totalitarian dictatorial power is evident. He is unwilling to earn the position of PM or president by being in Pakistan and campaigning fair and square. He wants to enter the corridors of power via backdoor, like he did before. However, this time the courts are free and independent and he does not have a uniform on. In addition, his total sell out of Pakistan has become common knowledge in Pakistan. His double game and protecting OBL and other terrorists has been exposed in the US.
    The “Friends of democratic Pakistan” who provide lot of aid to Pakistan are not going to tolerate another dictator and general to assume power. He has to be a resident of Pakistan to contest the elections even if he comes back to the country. Pakistanis are struggling from the effects of devastating floods of last year, power shortage, extreme poverty, unfair allocation of resources and other injustices, while Mush and his family are enjoying the cool weather of West and all the perks. Yet he must still be drawing all the benefits from Pakistan govt. Recommend

    Jul 22, 2011 - 6:27PM

    The grapes have finally turned sour for the General since judiciary, civilian govt, opposition and even military will not like to see him back in Pakistan as out of these there are many contenders for the top post and Imran Khan is already giving some of them sleepless nights to have one more added to the kitty.


  • NoSpinFacts
    Jul 22, 2011 - 6:48PM

    How about the American lady also speaking for the rights of Kashmiris! Various lobbies are allowed to influence decision making in Washington, yet Kashmiri groups with populous support are being targeted to appease India. At the same time, the violent BLA movement (with limited support except for a few rich sardars) is being touted as a freedom struggle. For the record, Israel receives over $20 billion a year in aid and assistance from the United States. I don’t hear grumbles on this aid among vociferous critics of reimbursement to Pakistan due to a battered US economy.


  • Tanoli of karachi.
    Jul 22, 2011 - 7:14PM

    Why these peoples dont do good when in the power during that time they look like pharoh.


  • dr sabk
    Jul 22, 2011 - 8:16PM

    atleast iam with him.i will vote for apml…..Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Jul 22, 2011 - 8:17PM

    Mush . Bush and Blair , Bajpei combine has laid down the path way to combate terrorism in south Asia and hence Mush can be reinstated if the situation in pakistan and afghanistan could not be controlled by the present set up .


  • Salman
    Jul 22, 2011 - 8:26PM

    Musharraf – a true and honest leader.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jul 22, 2011 - 8:46PM

    He will never come back…thats his fate…plz keep trying…


  • Jul 22, 2011 - 8:56PM

    I do not rule out Parvez Musharraf coming back to Pakistan, since the office of Chief
    Justice of Pakistan is not life long.Besides, long lives can be cut short in undeclared
    civil wars.Pakistan has most of them on its own pure and sacred soil.
    –Kulamarva Balakrishna


  • Ishtiaer Hussain
    Jul 22, 2011 - 9:09PM

    As you can read the opinions in this forum; Pervez Musharraf is a very divisive figure in our political history. There is greater need than ever before to look at his legacy in a balanced way. He made certain inevitable mistakes. But his intense focus on economic development, building lasting peace with India, higher education, foriegn investment and media liberalization will go a long way to serve the ultimate interest of Pakistan.
    He is not responsible for terrorism in Pakistan (or bringing the US war to Pakistan). America or Afghanistan’s war, whatever you call it, has been brought by those forces who use Pakistan’s soil against Nato forces in Afghanistan and against Pakistani nation as well. If militants can cross over from North and South Wizirstan into Afghanistan to launch attacks on Nato forces, so does the US has the right to target them with drones. If we could have controlled these terrorists from staging attacks in Afghanistan, there would not have been any drone attacks.
    As for Bugti’s murder is concerned, Pervez Musharraf did not want to kill Bugti in any way. Bugti was killed along with 7 officers and soldiers (who went in to negotiate with him) due to the caving in of his shelter.


  • hamza khan
    Jul 22, 2011 - 9:43PM


    so i presume, minus your maniacal rant, that you think the fact that he has a house in islamabad, his mother is in pakistan and his repeated assertions about him coming back next year are all lies? what sort of backdoor to power does a civilian have? perhaps your distorted and warped view on pakistani politics has affected your mind to the point you’re not able to form rational thoughts anymore. the fact remains that the poor and lower middle class actually do support president musharraf, because unlike the current crop of politicians, he connected to the poor and disenfranchised people. no one did more for the rural areas than president musharraf, even the current so called ‘people’ party. those who are doubting president musharraf now will see the reality next year inshallah. nothing can stop him God willing.


  • ehsanali
    Jul 22, 2011 - 10:18PM

    @Mohammad naeem:
    media was free in his period please do not mislead the public.Recommend

  • Ahmad
    Jul 23, 2011 - 4:05AM

    Repeat his actions? So hes going to screw this country all over again? Good to know.


  • Sajida
    Jul 23, 2011 - 5:27AM

    “President Zardari popularity among the Pakistani leaders most plummeted and Imran Khan’s popularity shot up most.

    President Zardari’s popularity, which was rated at 20 percent has fallen to 11 percent, said the poll results, while PM Gilani’s popularity has plunged down to 37 percent from 59.
    Muslim League-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif is in a better position, however, his popularity has also dropped down to 63 percent from 71.
    Most popular leader is Imran Khan, whose popularity has surged from mere 16 percent to 68 “percent.http://pak-news.com/obl-exit-brings-no-change-in-pakistanis-opinion-poll/

    Musharraf’s popularity lasted whole lot longer than President Zardari’shttp://archives.dawn.com/2004/03/19/top4.htm
    86pc Pakistanis like Musharraf: survey


  • John Donne
    Jul 23, 2011 - 7:26AM

    You are a die-hard opportunist Mr Musharraf. And you are the one who brought chaos to our country in collusion with our enemies-wloves in sheep skin. Now you regret promulgation of NRO,and contradict yourself by stating that you would the samething you did before during 8 years of your regime. Why don’t you become sane, and stop riding on your wishes. Your army mind neither did understand politics nor ever will. Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Jul 23, 2011 - 5:14PM

    Musarraf has attempted to resolve the bone of contention between India and Pakistan in one stroke , The Kashmir issue is a sentimental issue for both the country and can not be solved through normal political or diplomatic negociation but through an understanding between the top leaders of the two countries facilitated by the top leaders of the world who can compunsate the looser country through its economic development . Pakistan can cross the stormy sea if she intend to crack the kashmiri nut in one stroke as it was attempted by MUSHARRAF in the past


  • mawali
    Jul 23, 2011 - 5:55PM

    The fact is Musharraf remains the best leader of Pakistan in the recent past. It was during his regime Pakistan started to assume a semblance of respect and dignity amongst the nations of the World. The only leader of Pakistan who never asked foreign powers for personal favors but for the uplift of Pakistan corroborated by people like Collin Powers.

    Instituted the concept of grass roots democracy in an effort to counter fuedal tendencies the results of which were evident by the measurable efforts of the Nazims of Karachi. Look at what has happened to Karachi in the recent past as a result of fuedal demogaguery.

    The leader who introduced real freedom of speech and mass media in Pakistan. ET and other either online publications and or news channels are the direct result of his efforts. (how soon they forget).

    Did Musharaff make mistakes? Yes, he did but remember he was one man surrounded by the Choudhary brothers. He did not choose friends well!

    Having said that Pakistan would be blessed to have him back as a leader!Recommend

  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Jul 23, 2011 - 9:49PM

    Not in the name of defence but in the name of Kashmir .


  • dada
    Jul 25, 2011 - 4:42PM

    love u sharfuu u r the best great hero of poor nation come back and save us love u.


  • Yousaf
    Jul 26, 2011 - 2:49PM

    As per the latest survey, Musharraf is the second most famous leader in Pakistan after Imran Khan….


  • Rana Asghar
    Jul 26, 2011 - 3:22PM

    Musharraf probably the only honest leader ever produced in Pakistan. I Salute Him. We Love You Sir.Recommend

  • Abid Mohiuddin
    Jul 27, 2011 - 6:50PM

    He had the most respect for constitution and his actions were validated by supreme court .
    Please read pakistani news nowadays and see what is democratic govt doing to the Supreme Court
    We need Musharraf . I believe he has the majority : the young ,the educated moderate ; Only few like you narrow minded people are against him
    Musharraf Welcome!!


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