NRO was my mistake, says Musharraf

Published: October 2, 2010
Makes formal foray into politics by launching APML party in London

Makes formal foray into politics by launching APML party in London

KARACHI: Former president Pervez Musharraf made a candid apology to the nation for making ‘political mistakes’ as he began his political career on Friday with the formal launch of his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) party in London.

The event took place just 11 days prior to the 11th anniversary of his October 12, 1999, coup that toppled the then elected government of Nawaz Sharif.

“I apologise to the nation for my mistakes. (But) I’ve learned from my mistakes,” the ex-military dictator said at the outset, stressing that all he wanted now was to start his political life with a clean slate.

He pledged that if the people of Pakistan gave him their support, he would bring them out of the “current” state of misery.

In a question and answer session with the media later on, he clarified that he had apologised only for the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO). “The NRO was my mistake,” he said, adding that he had struck a deal with the slain chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party Benazir Bhutto. He claimed that under the terms of the agreement, Bhutto was not supposed to return to the country until the elections were held.

In his speech, Musharraf said the people of Pakistan today were unhappy. And “the country where the people are unhappy gets wiped out,” he said.

He claimed that his nine years in power were his first attempt at bringing about a change in Pakistan.  Between 1999 and 2008, “we empowered the people, gave them respect and improved their economic conditions,” he said. He said the time had come for all ‘patriotic’ Pakistanis to stand under the banner of one flag and work towards its progress. “Pakistan comes first,” he mouthed his pet phrase.

“We will remake Quaid’s Pakistan under the banner of the All Pakistan Muslim League,” he said, amid frequent applause and sloganeering by a sizable audience. When asked whether the MQM’s slain leader Imran Farooq was planning to join his party, Musharraf dismissed the reports. Lawyer Naeem Bukhari, who famously wrote the controversial letter that precipitated the stand-off between Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and Musharraf in 2007, showered praises on the ex-military leader in his introductory speech.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2010.

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Reader Comments (21)

  • hassan tariq
    Oct 2, 2010 - 10:35AM

    Mushraf is hope of change of the political system of he appologise for his mistakes he should give a chance to change the system of pakistan .Nwas ,zardari are also benificiers of NRO.if they can get a clean chit Mushraf should also .
    Mushraf period was the period of establishment of pakistan there was not such a lawlessness as today in pakistan .present government fails to achieve the mandate although it is elected by the people of pakistn.
    “mushraf is less bad in much bad polititions”Recommend

  • Mir
    Oct 2, 2010 - 10:46AM

    He had the opportunity but he blew it big time. Opportunity knocks just once! He lost it!Recommend

  • Oct 2, 2010 - 10:55AM

    What about other mistakes? Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Oct 2, 2010 - 11:17AM

    NRO was not the only mistake which General (R) Musharraf committed; there is a list of mistakes which he committed during his tenure.

    Following are the few mistakes which people of Pakistan still remember:

    Toppling of an elected government.
    Siding with US after 9/11due to which there is not a single city where terrorist have not attacked and killed innocent people, destroyed public and private properties and still the suicide attacks are stopped.
    Abrogation of Constitution.
    Lal Masjid.
    Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti.
    Dismissal of Chief Justice of Pakistan.
    Write-off of billions of rupees of bank loans of bank defaulters.
    Could not enhance power by single kilowatt in the country during his 9 years rule.

    General Musharraf was supposed to sing a No Return Order (NRO) instead of National Reconciliation Ordinance, which has created resentment among the honest people of the country. Recommend

  • Fasih Ali Khan
    Oct 2, 2010 - 11:23AM

    Thank God for the emerging hope. Great News for Pakistan Mash’ Allah. I was in Lahore’s meeting, It’s was a real Awami Ijtamaa. Bad news for those who propagate ”He’s got fans only at Face book”.Recommend

  • Ali Haider
    Oct 2, 2010 - 11:44AM

    He gave a big boost to the education sector. I like him for this. Rest he has made many mistakes but who has not. We should let the courts decide.Recommend

  • parvez
    Oct 2, 2010 - 12:38PM

    In eight years he made many many mistakes. After each one his standard line was “I am a man who believes in looking ahead. Let us forget the past and move forward”.
    Even today, I believe he has not learnt anything. Learning is beyond him. He will commit the same blunders because it is in his genes.
    How many blunders must a leader make,
    Before we can call him a leader ?
    The answer my friend is – very very few.Recommend

  • Zubair
    Oct 2, 2010 - 12:54PM

    He had Nine years to steer the country towards the right direction but instead he was supporting all the corrput politicians only to stay in power and now wants to come back clean .. he should be arrested the moment he lands in pakistan and prosecuted for all the MISTAKES .. results of those mistakes are what people of pakistan are facing now .. Recommend

  • iftikhar ahmad
    Oct 2, 2010 - 12:58PM

    Gen Musharraf would best understood under the light of honest facts. He did not topple the government, the government tried to topple his plane along with score of school children.No political leader, including, Benazir could ever say anything different to Gen Powell when he made the fateful call. Lal Masjid operation was directly under the command of Gen Kayani, who took the action when number of SSG officers were killed by the heavily armed foreigners. Bugti is on record to have declared war against the army in Balochistan and personally chose to fight like a warrior and lost his life.Bank loans were written off by the respective banks with the oversight of the State bank of Pakistan. During his government 3000 MW electricity was added to the production and that also is a record. There were mistakes and at the highest level they turn into blunders. he paid the price but no one in his right mind can say that his rule up to 2006, was much despicable than today’s tamasha in Pakistan. Recommend

  • AKPK
    Oct 2, 2010 - 12:59PM

    I am not gona list down a junk of cost and benefit anaysis of political history and performance of correspondiing leaders since, 1947 but would simply say, honestly ask yourself what we were and what we are…..
    We will come to know leadership we needed….Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Oct 2, 2010 - 1:03PM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Now every thing much more depends upon the nation either the nation apologizes or not.But the nation should concentrate deeply,sincerely,honestly and seriously about the governmental setup conditions in Musharraf’s regime and Zardari’s regime and must compare the prices of essential commodities including especially electricity and as far as Lal Mosque’s and judiciary’s affairs although these were committed mistakes are concerned in Musharraf’s regime these events happened once only and in PPPP’s regime innocent and sinless people are being killed on daily basis by military’s,security forces’,FC’s operations,US Drones attacks’ and NATO shelling and our leaders are showing effrontery as well and expensiveness is increased by up to 70% in PPPP’s regime than Musharraf’s regime.Recommend

  • Oct 2, 2010 - 3:28PM

    The criminalization of the political party that represents Karachi is not a surprise to Karachiites.

    Karachiites know it very well that the criminalization of Mohajirs who sided with democratic Fatimah Jinnah against the dictator Ayub Khan is an on-going and premeditated scheme.

    Ayub had moved the capital away from Karachi to remote control the city from an artificially created capital.

    The more the enemies of the MQM shamelessly implicate the MQM in petty to heinous crimes, the more Karachiites will increase their support the MQM.Recommend

  • Talha
    Oct 2, 2010 - 8:00PM

    Musharraf is the best in the current lot of leaders. Musharraf said there is a long story behind the NRO that he will reveal later and one more thing NRO has been done with Benazir not Zardari. And it is the sign of a big heart to accept the mistake publically, who else has the guts ??Recommend

  • Saeed Islahi
    Oct 3, 2010 - 8:04PM

    NRO was his last mistake among so many.But, his regime from the outset, was out of focus.His seven point agenda did not take off from the beginning, as he lacked character,tenacity and sincerity of purpose for any meningful deliverence.His ultimate failure was his final destiny.Only a fool can hope that after nine years of his adventerous misrule, he would be in power.He should instead seek forgiveness from Pakistanis.

    Mr.Nawz Sharif,besides his many Himalayian sized blunders, picked up his ultimate curse in his choice of Musharaff and evntually paid dearly in his near loss of life and liberty.Had he not begged for mercy and obtianined a humiliating pardon with a Saudi largesse, he by now would have been at the dead end of history.

    Saeed IslahiRecommend

  • Saleem
    Oct 4, 2010 - 6:16AM

    Musharraf is the only hope considering the present lot of looters under the lead of hypocrite Nawaz. Recommend

  • hmz
    Oct 4, 2010 - 9:47AM

    Extension of his govt to 8 yrs got him into problems;
    he got stupid advisors, people got bored just the same situation as 8 yrs presidential term in USA gets them in.
    he started compromising on his own given agenda after 12 oct 99. the reason was probably external pressures after 9/11, due to which he could not concentrate on his agenda.
    even if he gives a clear agenda now, as to how he would address the local problems in the presence of external factors, he may get the confidence of people.
    i’m still not sure whether govts in Pakistan come by votes of people or ………………Recommend

  • Copper
    Oct 4, 2010 - 2:21PM

    ok now please carry on admiting other mistakes as well. NRO was a blunder not a mistake, but you did many blundersRecommend

  • Masroor Abbas
    Oct 4, 2010 - 4:27PM

    Musharraf is the only hope for pakistan, he boom telecom/banking and education sector.
    i think we should give him a chance.Recommend

  • Kashif
    Oct 5, 2010 - 3:08PM

    Pervez Musharraf hope of nationRecommend

  • Oct 6, 2010 - 1:17AM

    President Musharraf
    Prime Minister from the MQM
    That is THE solution for PakistanRecommend

  • Qasim
    Oct 13, 2010 - 10:00AM

    Musharraf compromised everything. Almost compromised Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir by aiding the Indians against the Kashmiri struggle. He chronically lied about everything, he engineered Kargil where the army suffered because of his poor planning.

    The current government is a gift from Musharraf, he gave these people the NRO that they needed. Zardari could not even land in Pakistan without going right back to jail because of Zardari’s corruption cases. Zardari was forced to claim that he was a mental patient to avoid being caught in foreign courts(which Musharraf spent hundreds of millions on) and then went back and “forgave” all that corruption like it was his own money and not stolen from the Pakistani public.

    He handed hundreds of people to the US parade on their news media so they could show that their war on terror was a success and they were capturing terrorists. Handed over Dr. Aafia Siddiqi and so many others like her who were not fortunate enough to come into the public view.

    All the people who rave about Musharraf because of the economic boom he created, do not understand fundamentally that economic bubbles expand(the boom phase) and then the bubble bursts. The housing market bubble burst in Pakistan, and in part, the economic crisis we are now facing is because of his following policies(with his whiz-kid imported PM) that artificially creating short-term booms that were bound to be followed by an economic downturn. Ofcourse, the economic downturn got greatly exacerbated by the NRO-cleared govt he left us to deal with, and we now have to deal with the consequences of his actions even after he fled the country.Recommend

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