Monday, June 8

Musharraf's Spiegel interview

Did he really say that!?! Pervez Musharraf disclosed in an interview that the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and the terrorists who bombed the Indian embassy in Kabul in 2008 are connected. That is a huge admission for someone who was at the helm of affairs in Pakistan for a long time. In the Spiegel interview he bashes India and the United States for Pakistan's problems all through history.

Though not surprising, it is definitely telling that Musharraf thinks "nothing can happen to Pakistan as long as the armed forces are intact and strong. Anyone who wants to weaken and destabilize Pakistan just has to weaken the army and our intelligence service, ISI..."No one would deny that the defense mechanism is a crucial aspect in the well-being of any country, but over and above that are strong functional political institutions. (China is a strong and stable country not simply because of its military but because of a strong functioning political system.) Pakistan has been in a perpetual state of crisis since its creation due to the military dominated governments. They had no interest in laying down strong foundations for democracy or other form of civil government. Pakistan's geopolitical importance particularly during the Cold War meant that foreign governments did everything they could to ensure a well-trained and -equipped army, rather than a stable government.

And so ultimately Pakistan mastered the art of exhorting billions in aid money, without any results to show for it. The country is still destabilized and its economy in shambles. It is no surprise that when asked about how they spent the money received over the last eight years, Musharraf replied, "But why do you care about that? Why, for heaven's sake, should I tell you how we spent the money? ... I also told the Americans that it has nothing to do with them. We are not obligated to give out any details. Maybe I should have said at the time: Ok, you want us to support you, give us $20 billion a year and don't ask what we are doing with it." One could think of it as a business transaction, payment for services provided. But in that cases the vendor is expected to deliver. I see a daylight bribery.

Musharraf does tell us that some of the money was a reimbursement for past services. And how it is not possible to segregate the spendings as those on "war on terror" only, because material bought with that money travels with the moving army divisions to the Easter (Indian) border too. In effect the money is being spent to secure its Eastern border and fight India. Of course it is no surprise that he considers that India should not be left out if one is serious about combating terrorism. Read together Musharraf is saying that Pakistan spent all the aid money fighting the "war on terror" against Afghanistan and India. No surprises there.

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