|You are in: Talking Point|
Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, 12:40 GMT
How vital is President Musharraf's role in the coalition?
Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, on a diplomatic tour of key coalition countries has pledged to continue to back the US-led war on terrorism, including sharing intelligence information.
It is his first trip outside Pakistan since the 11 September attacks, taking in Paris, London and New York, and ending with an address at the United Nations General Assembly on 10 November.
General Musharraf had initially hoped the campaign in Afghanistan would be short and has called for a stop to the military strikes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Although the president's position seems to have strengthened since the war began, his visit comes at a time when the potential for Muslim hostility in his own country has increased in the face of continued allied bombing in Afghanistan.
What position should President Musharraf take to prevent further hostility in Pakistan? What role should he play in the global coalition against terrorism? Do you think a diplomatic tour like this is necessary to show his support for the coalition?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
President General Musharraf made an impressive speech at the UN on Saturday which covered a lot of issues. While there are some who are wary of the US support for a military dictator, they must also realize that this dictator has done more in his two years to clean up the Pakistani politics than anyone before him military or elected. His point on the "root causes of terrorism" need to be addressed urgently. The reality is that regional political conflicts do breed resentment and a sense of depravation which as we have already seen translates into terrorism. I hope that we can use this opportunity to address these issues sincerely and swiftly for the benefit of those who are suffering, for if we do not a new brand of terrorists will try to strike fear in our hearts.
Unfortunate to see these world politics take a new shape at every turn and today Mr. Musharaff who is the core designer and master mind for the breeding of terrorists and creation of the Taleban and remained a cause of deaths of many civilians talks about peace and anti-terrorisom in UN.
God bless this coalition which has zero focus and has a very short term focus about the realities of the future of South Asia by supporting and believing a person like General Musharaff.
This is what is called ugly and dirty politics, I suppose.
General Musharraf is an opportunist feeding on the crumbs thrown to him by the West. If 9th September crisis did not happen and he was not pressured and later bought by the U.S., he would not have done what he is doing now. He was rejected by the world at large as a leader of a nation and was perceived as a dictator. Clinton refused to meet him at one of the UN meetings and the American press treated him as a pariah.
Suddenly he is the best thing that ever happened since sliced bread and a "national hero" to some Pakistanis. Who knows, he might even get a Nobel peace prize from an organization that did not give it to Gandhi. Wouldn't that be a surprise! This shows the hypocrisy of the U.S. and Britain. When they need somebody, then a blind eye is turned to all shortcomings. Where is all the talk of democratically elected governments that U.S. espouses? Musharraf's motivation to help the U.S. is the colour of money and nothing else. Musharraf goes back to show "his" people a gift of billion dollars. Of course, U.S. is showing the money to show to Musharraf what can be taken away if he didn't cooperate. I think the whole thing stinks of hypocrisy. With their newly discovered "friendship" with Pakistan, U.S. will once again succeed in alienating India and pushing it to align with Russia even more, who has been a more reliable friend over the years.
Let's get one thing clear, Mr. Musharraf wasn't asked for his help, he was told to provide all necessary support. A country whose economy runs solely off massive foreign aid has no choice but to say "yes" to its debtor's wishes. You're fooling no one, Mr. Musharraf. The US is holding your feet to the fire - and rightfully so - and you know it.
He is the hero of our nation.
Musharraf had no choice - if he had refused to help the US, the US and her allies could have bombed Pakistan for giving support to the Taliban.
President Musharraf should pack up all the Pakistanis protesting against his policies and send them to Afghanistan. After all, if these protestors love the Taliban such a lot, they should live under them. It is easy to sit in Pakistan and support the Taliban from here, however these protestors should show some courage and live under the "true Islamic System" in Taliban controlled Afghanistan.
It was amusing to watch President Bush embrace General Musharraf as a strong ally of the US. Wasn't it only last year during his election campaign that Bush was stumped by a journalist when asked to name the leader of Pakistan?
Sure, musharraf had no option besides joining US, but that decision is logical and based on a sincerity of intent, just like the one he had demonstrated in resolving dispute with India over Kashmir.
Nicole Morrison, USA
Mr.Musharraf is brave and strong muslim. He is trying his best to show the world that Pakistan is not supporting terrorism. I think Pakistan is playing a smart and powerful role and this will be clear in the near future.
President Musharraf has done the right thing by travelling outside Pakistan and telling the world of what 90% of Pakistanis think of the whole situation. If President Musharraf is a puppet then I wonder what are we going to Call Mr. Blair?
General Musharraf's rule in Pakistan may be undemocratic, unconstitutional and unrepresentative, but he has now got an excellent opportunity to turn Pakistan into a liberal, moderate, tolerant and modern society. When the Afghan problem is resolved, he should then immediately turn his attention to have a negotiated settlement with India over Kashmir. A friendly and open relationship between these two countries will be of great benefit to this poor and populous region of the world.
I think President Musharraf is taking a big risk by joining the US coalition against the terrorist. Many in his country are not extremists, but they do disagree with the bombing, as do I. I think that there should be more intelligence gathering and less physical force. It's like trying to reach a mosquito that bit you by destroying a beehive. The bombing is just an action to pacify America's angry and anxious feelings against an invisible enemy.
General Musharraf has done what is best for Pakistan and the world in this stand against terrorism. In doing so he has put his own life and his government in danger and the world community must provide strong support to Pakistan during this time of crisis. Also, his recent statements about the US losing the propaganda war must be taken seriously since it is one of the few honest opinions from that part of the world. The coalition (Pakistan included) should jointly step up the positive propaganda campaign before this fragile coalition comes under further stress from extremist elements around the world.
Steve B, Scotland
Pakistan is a key ally, and General Musharraf should be commended for leading a government of whom the Pakistani people approve. The nations of the west should reward him by dropping restrictions on textile trade, among other things. Good for us, good for Pakistan.
As Hazel said, " Musharraf has allowed himself to become a puppet of the USA forces." I would like to ask Hazel, isn't the UK and other countries of the world playing the same role? I would like to say Musharraf has courage and spirit to support the coalition against "Global Terrorism" being a Muslim country. Pakistan's message is very clear that Islam is peace-loving religion and does not support terrorism against any other religion.
Only 3% of Pakistan's population are radicals and extremists but it is these people who are shown to the world. The other 97% of the population does support brave and daring Musharraf. It would be highly appreciated if the world media could show this.
Musharraf has allowed himself to become a puppet of the USA forces. I ask myself why the USA chose Pakistan as a staging post and not India, which tends to be more predisposed to accepting outsiders than Pakistan. If Musharraf is ever ousted by his own nationals whilst the USA forces are still there then the Islamic extremists and all they stand for will have won.
The majority of the people in Pakistan do not support the US war on Afghanistan. So Musharraf can do what no democratic government can, which is stifle the public and prevent them from expressing their views. He is arguably the most critical Cog of the coalition, and the west has abandoned its clarion call for 'democracy' and 'people's will' to suit this situation. Who knows what the long-term costs of this 'unprincipled' support would be?
Musharraf had no alternative. The only thing the US needed was airspace and the US planes would have flown over Pakistan even without permission! Could Pakistan have shot down US planes flying over its air space?
I think even the Pakistani Government has forgotten the fact that they created Taleban and now Pakistani television is calling them terrorists in their national news broadcasts. Very strange World Order.
What general Musharraf has done, he has done for his nation and people and for what is RIGHT, after all the vast majority of Muslims feel what happened on September 11 was wrong, I just hope now that the USA and its allies see why a whole nation was overjoyed at his coup, and hope Pakistan is not double crossed by the west again. So I think general Musharraf is not only brave but a just Muslim leader, if only all our Muslim leaders were like him.
Musharraf did what was best for Pakistan. He might not be an elected leader but he sure is much better than all the elected leaders who came before him in Pakistan. But I do hope and pray that America does not use Pakistan like the last time and leave it on its own to clear up the mess once the job is done.
As vital as coalition itself, Pakistan strategically was very important to USA. Without Pakistan's support, USA coalition would have gone to dogs, literally. General Musharraf has shown great maturity in choosing sides. One can argue that there were doubts about USA's stand on pointing fingers towards Osama, legally. True. It was known fact that there were 'terrorist camps' in Afghanistan Osama might not have directly ordered the attacks on American soil. There's great deal of probable cause exist that those terrorists had some connection with Al-Qaeda. Mr. Musharraf had analyzed the situation brilliantly and his move I believed saved the world from '3rd. world War.' He should be considered for his cause for 'peace.'
Robert Morpheal, Canada
Musharraf's support to US led airstrikes on Afghanistan is the main column. If Musharraf withdraws its support the whole coalition will collapse.
General Musharraf has followed the courage of his conviction - he is a mighty man who is respected by a lot of people. He needs to carry out this tour to prove that he is 100% behind the coalition.
A. Hassan, UK
I feel the Pakistan President has no moral right to say that he is fighting terrorism in today's world as he himself has supported the regime in Afghanistan and supported terrorism in India.
Western nations are making a mistake in supporting him by giving aid, as they will one day suffer as in the same way as they gave aid to Osama bin laden
I think that the world should appreciate what Musharraf is doing for the allies by supporting them to fight terrorism. He is showing the world that the Muslims are not terrorists and in doing so, he is taking a risk and the consequences can be lethal for the country. What is at stake is the country's poor economic condition, which has been worsened by this prolonged attack. Pakistan is a key player in this whole episode and the time is ripe for him to become an Islamic countries spokesman/leader and he is now leading from the front and showing the world that the Islamic countries do support this cause. Musharraf has matured in the past few months and the bold step his military regime has taken under him was not expected to be adopted by any civillian government.
If he is asking for an economic support from the West, I don't blame him for that!!! You are bound to get some incentives for your un-conditional support. The world at large has been really un-kind to this nation in the past and the time has come for this country and for her leaders to play an important role in the world's politics. The activities in Kashmir should not be linked to terrorism as it is a freedom fight and if there is any doubt, one should exercise the UN resolution and can bring about a permanent solution to this issue.
Sirmad Shafique, UK
Mr Musharraf has made a very good point today saying that people in his country are now seeing this conflict as against the poor. Why isn't the west looking at why Sept 11 happened? Parents in this country are being told not to smack there kids but the US is treating Afghanistan like a class room of kids and beating them for the action of one kid (Person). It is sad the history behind Mr Musharraf but even so we all must listen to what everyone says - friend or enemy - to stop future attacks.
Coalition? What coalition? Except for Britain, nations are only paying lip service to the USA, and so is Musharraf. They will do only as much as they can without causing damage to themselves. The "coalition" is for the consumption of the American public only.
Tassie Bader, San Fransisco, USA
Musharraf would have ideally preferred to stay out of this conflict. However, that was not an option so he chose the second best option. Musharraf and Pakistan's future now squarely rests with the west's attitude, post cessation of hostilities in Afghanistan. If the US throws Pakistan away like a dirty tissue as it did after the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, Musharraf is likely to be unseated and Pakistan handed over to the extremists.
Regardless of his position on the home front, his fortuitous collaboration with George W Bush has ensured that America will never accuse him of having seized power without an election. As far as the alleged alliance and the UN is concerned, he is now free to be a dictator for life.
Who can you trust nowadays? Yesterday's enemy is today's best friend and a cornered cat is unpredictable.
Musharraf is a man of war and should not be trusted by anyone. He rules occupied India and he is making a mockery of the USA and her allies.
Musharraf must clean up his own act. He is already showing signs of wavering on the action against Afghanistan.
Alan Leggett, USA
General Musharraf did what a true patriot should do, he did what was best for his country. In the face of a risk to personal security, he acted as a leader should, with great courage.
Musharaff has been very pragmatic by extending support to the United States in this war against terrorism. He has rightly concluded that Islamic fundamentalists have far more say in national affairs than a good many Pakistanis might like. If he can beat the Islamists, South Asia can look forward to increased cooperation between its most powerful nations - India and Pakistan. More importantly, it will also result in the diverting of resources to spur economic growth instead of military adventures. I hope the Indian government realises this and helps Musharaff in any way it can.
Neel Shah, India
Pakistanis are now reaping what their leaders have sowed by encouraging the fanatical elements in Pakistani society to flourish. These leaders did their best to undermine democracy and human rights. They accepted terrorism as the means of solving regional disputes. The fanatics are now out to get Musharraf and his cabinet and only time will tell whether he is succeeded by a Taliban-like regime or Pakistan finally breaks free from the clutches of this virulent trend of sectarianism and religious fanaticism. Any failure of Pakistan as a state spells serious consequences for the sub-continent.
For the first time in the history of the Indian Subcontinent, India and Pakistan are on the same side fighting world terrorism. Maybe this could lead to the settling of the Kashmir issue in a way amicable to Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir.
Mr Musharraf is nothing but an opportunist. Now that he has been cornered by US with one single statement "Either you are with us, or with terrorists", he had no other option but to go against the people (Taleban, Mullahs and fundamentalists) whom he and Pakistan harboured for decades. What can you say about the regime that is openly supporting terrorists even now?
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites
Other Talking Points:
Links to more Talking Point stories
|^^ Back to top
News Front Page | World | UK | UK Politics | Business | Sci/Tech | Health | Education | Entertainment | Talking Point | In Depth | AudioVideo
To BBC Sport>> | To BBC Weather>>
© MMIII | News Sources | Privacy