Musharraf Makes Plea For Middle East Diplomacy During ASIS Keynote

Former Pakistani President and military leader Pervez Musharraf made an impassioned plea for non-military, sociopolitical diplomacy in the Middle East, a region he described as currently a “nuclear flashpoint.”

Recalling the history of conflicts between Pakistan and India, particularly the wars in 1948, 1965, and 1971, and their later ramifications on the United States’ war on terror, the former army general said, “I pray to God we do not create another blunder.”

Musharraf made the comments Thursday to a packed auditorium at the Dallas Convention Center to kick off day three of ASIS 2010 -- the same day a divisional court in Pakistan dismissed charges of treason against him that were brought two years ago when the country’s ruling coalition accused Musharraf of imposing emergency rule so he could fire senior judges.

At the time, the coalition said Musharraf’s actions were part of an effort to get past legal challenges to his then-plan to run for a second term in office. Although he has been living in London after quitting as Pakistan’s president in 2008, facing the possibility of impeachment charges, Musharraf has said he plans to return to Pakistan. On Oct. 2, the former leader announced he is starting a new political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League.

Musharraf said the “root cause of terrorism in the Muslim world” resulting from any number of conflicts in the Middle East since the last half of the twentieth century “has given the feeling that Muslims around the world are being targeted.”

He added, “That is the perception, but that is not my reality.” He said for Pakistan and the rest of the world diplomatic resolutions must be reached, and a destabilized Pakistan must be avoided.

Speaking of his ties to the United States post-9/11, both in his role as a chief ally in the United States’ struggle against the Taliban and in the global war on terror in general, Musharraf said, “We will win when we get in the dominant position.” He added that “this time, it’s going to be more serious.”

Musharraf said he was privileged to speak “frankly and sincerely” to the ASIS audience. He concluded: “We are passing through very dangerous times, ladies and gentlemen. And now is the time we must make decisions, decisions in Iraq and Pakistan that will affect the world. Daily blind quitting is not an option.”

About the Author

Ronnie Rittenberry is print managing editor for Security Products and Occupational Health and Safety magazines.

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