President Musharraf speaking on national TV, 03-Nov-07, 23:00 hr::
My dear brothers and sisters, Assalam o Alaikum.
Today, I am speaking to you as Pakistan stands at a dangerous crossroads. It is in inner turmoil, everything that is happening, it is due to internal reasons.
This moment ... in the history of many nations there are moments of painful decisions ... this is such a moment for Pakistan when important and difficult decisions have to be made. And, I fear, that if we don't act immediately, then God forbid, the very union of Pakistan is in danger.
Before I say anything else, I just want to make one promise to this nation. That whatever I do, whatever decision I have made, it is, before all, on the basis of Pakistan ... and that is my guiding principle. Before all, Pakistan. Beyond personal benefit, beyond personal consideration, Pakistan first. And I hope that the nation will also feel the same way.
My brothers and sisters, in the past months, the circumstances have changed rapidly in Pakistan. I want to speak with you about that - frankly. One thing I have been saying all along - terrorism and extremism has reached extreme levels. Right now, suicide attacks are happening across Pakistan. That which happened in Karachi, and then in Rawalpindi, and then in Sargogha, in all of Pakistan, it is intensifying. Extremists are roaming across the country without fear and without hindrance. In fact, they are not even scared of the law enforcement agencies. They are confident. Things were happening in the frontier provinces and we were dealing with that. Some of it spread to the settled areas. You know what is happening in Swat and in southern districts as well. We have faced that challenge. But, the tragedy is that in Islamabad, the heart of Pakistan, the capital of Pakistan ... even here, extremism has spread and people are uncertain. These extremists are taking the writ of government in their own hands. They want to establish a state within our state. And the worst bit is that their corrupt ideas about Islam, they want to forcibly enforce them upon the peace and justice seeking people of Pakistan. And in my view this is a direct challenge to the union of Pakistan.
Let us move forward. How is the government functioning? In my view, it is in semi-paralysis, stricken. All of the senior representatives of the government are constantly going to the courts - especially to the Supreme Court. They are being giving sentences. They are being shamed publicly in the courts. Hence, they don't want to take any more decisions. At least 100 suo moto cases are currently running in the Supreme Court. And I am being told that thousands of applications are pending. And all of these suo moto cases are concerning the executive branch of the government. Functioning of the government is paralyzed at the moment.
Let us look at law enforcement agencies. In my view, they are demoralized - especially in Islamabad. They have given up hope. Why? Because their officers are being punished - same trips to the Supreme Court. Ten officers - including two Inspector Generals - are suspended or convicted. And so, we have a demoralized force with low morale, afraid to take any action. They don't want to do anything except sit with their arms crossed.
Next, let us look at the democratic systems - the practice of democracy. In that, hurdles have been placed. In 1999, when our government came, I put together a plan of action - with three stages - a transition to take the country towards democracy. Because in 1999, we had a failed, defaulted state; the systems of democracy were broken; no government had finished its tenure; there was only nominal democracy. That is why, in Stage One, from 1999-2002, we acted according to my plan. I was in total control. I ran the government. Then came Stage Two - from 2002 to 2007. A democratic system with elected governments, national assemblies, provincial assemblies, local government and a full democratic system of elected officials which I oversaw. I watched over it, sure, but the state functioned on its own. I was President and Chief of Army Staff. That was the second stage - which we passed in good stead. There were problems but we set a record that for the first time the assemblies and the government fulfilled their electoral term.
Now, we are in the final stage of this transition. Stage Three. I mean, I had hoped that in 2007, when the assemblies finish their tenure on November 15, we can have, with decorum, Presidential elections, with all the candidates for Presidency. And then General elections. And an elected government - whoever wins - can go forth in a new age of political reconciliation and full democracy. I had hoped that. As I said, for the first time, we tried to do a transition with a well thought out plan.
But, in my view, with great sorrow, I must say that certain powers are interfering in this democratic plan, putting hindrances and trying to stop it. Just as all the time had already passed and only a few months remained, this third stage is being sabotaged. In my opinion, this is being done deliberately for personal and political gain, and for the detriment of Pakistan.
All this that I have told you - the terrorism, extremism, the judicial cases, the demoralizing of the law enforcement, has caused, and I say this with great sorrow, a decline in our economic upswing. Though it can still be reversed. I am observing that Capital and Business that was flowing into the country is now stopped - they are now questioning whether to invest here or not Pakistan will remain stable. Our economy, the livelihood of our nation which improved over the last 7 years - in economy, in livelihood, in infrastructure, roads, ports, airports, railways, telecommunication, mobile telephone, landlines, rural telephone, information technology, building and construction, the entrepreneurs across the land, the rapid development across Pakistan, the thousands of industries launched, water irrigation, dams, canals, canals with brick linings, water courses, and then the social sector, education, health on the primary and secondary level, and education at every level - on all these Pakistan was moving forward, all this. I am very saddened, God Forbid, that 7 years of hard work may be washed away. And I am very sad, because I was personally involved in these development scheme. I cannot watch them get destroyed.
Under great duress, based on all these reasons, the whole nation is depressed and uncertain. I am getting phone calls from everywhere ... my own acquaintances, private, from outside the country, from inside the country, asking, "What is going on?" I am being taunted, "What are you doing?" They are taunting me that I was the decision maker, "What happened to you now? Why can't you decide now?" I have listened to these taunts in silence, and watched in disbelief what has been happening to Pakistan, in Pakistan. I had hoped that the judiciary and the government establishment will deal with these challenges ... and in that hope I sat silently and watched ... for improvements. But in my opinion this didn't happen. And the situation was getting worse by the day. And Pakistan was going rapidly into a negative direction.
And I also want to say, as I am sitting in front of television cameras, I want to say that the media - certain channels, and certain programs on certain channels - has also contributed to this downslide, this negative thinking, this negative projection. And I am saddened by this too. Saddened because this is the same media, in 1999, that there was only PTV in Pakistan and independent media did not exist. I gave that independence. Because I believed that media should be independent - that is the only path to progress for a civilized society. That is why I am saddened and I have said many times that negativism should be curtailed and positivism encouraged. That doesn't mean that we hinder the media. It should be independent, of course. But with responsibility towards the State and for the sake of the nation. And so, I am saddened by the situation in some channels.
I would like to ask the whole nation. Why? Why this state of affairs? In my opinion, it is the judicial activism - which is a pillar of states in clash with the other two pillars, the executive and the legislative. The judiciary has interfered with the other two. And now every one is suffering and is paralyzed in every manner and in every department.
Thats the basic issue.
In my view, this began from March 9th of this year when I filed a reference on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, against the Chief Justice to the Supreme Judicial Council. This was completely in accordance with constitutional and legal requirements. I was not personally motivated in this. I thought there were grave and serious accusations in the reference and I took a completely constitutional step - and nothing else. We can leave that aside but the situation that emerged after that was very bad. There was a complete breakdown of law and order to a tragic extent. And political opportunists entered into the matter and made it worse. I don't want to go into details here but will just state that if any member of the law enforcement community did anything wrong, then it doesn't mean that whole country should be destabilized. And secondly, this reference which contained grave complaints, which I sent to the Supreme Judicial Council ... all that happened and the judgement came. And whether I agree or disagree with the judgement, it did not even address the grave complaints contained within the reference. I accepted the judgement fully, with good grace and good intentions. Because, it was the decision of the Supreme Court. I accepted it. With a conciliatory attitude, to stop the conflict - for the benefit of Pakistan, I rose above the personal to work for the stability of the institution. Unfortunately, the matter was not solved. Even though, I tried my best, gave full cooperation with good intentions, but still the matter was not settled.
That was the reference and the judicial and legal issue.
Now. We saw the event of Lal Masjid in Islamabad where extremists took law into their own hands. In the heart of Pakistan - capital city - and to the great embarrassment of the nation around the world. Only I know how much shame that brought on us. We, who are such a great power, cannot control our own capital - where people are able to form a state within a state. Our image suffered tremendously. Our stature. Our standing was affected. These people - what didn't they do? - these extremists. They martyred police. They took police hostage. They burned shops. The Chinese, who are such great friends of ours - they took the Chinese hostage and tortured them. Because of this, I was personally embarrassed. I had to go apologize to the Chinese leaders, "I am ashamed that you are such great friends and this happened to you". And then they burned down the ministry's building and torched their cars. What are we to do in this condition? We were publicly humiliated for months and people kept saying we were not taking action. But I was not taking action because I wanted to save lives not take lives. So then, as a last resort, when we did take action, I commend all of the law enforcement agencies that they acted against this humiliation, this embarrassment against us and finished it. Many of our were martyred. I pray for their salvation. May Allah bless them all Paradise. They acted for this nation and this country, not themselves, and sacrificed their lives.
After that, unfortunately, came the decision of the Supreme Court. The trials kept going. Now the situation is that, the 61 terrorists which had been declared "Black" by the Intelligence agencies, which means "confirmed terrorists" were released by the Court. They are roaming free. No one knows whether the Rawalpindi bomb blasts or the Karachi ones or the Sargodha ones were done by one of those 61. They are at-large. Who knows what they will do next? And how much harm will come to us.
Then, the madrasas which were engaged in extremism were ordered re-opened by the Court. We want to build madrasas. The government has a plan to construct 'Model' madrasas where the poorest children can go study, live with the finest standards. It is not the case that government is against madrasas. We want them in finest locations, with great education and living quarters. That is our plan being set in motion. But those madrasas where extremists are operating - those were reopened by the Court. And now the security situation in Lal Masjid is back to the same people who were in charge earlier. A mosque does not need security. And who knows, if those guarding Lal Masjid will take the rifles back inside and we return to the same place where we started. The same elements who were challenging the state before - their relatives - are now challenging the state. Whatever actions are taken by law enforcement agencies in Swat, is declared wrong by these elements and their relationships with terrorists across Pakistan is affirmed publicly from Islamabad.
So that is the other situation before us.
Then came the Presidential elections a month ago. The procedure was adopted according to the Constitution and the Law. The Election Commissioner gave the schedule within the constitutionally mandated time frame. Chief Election Commissioner examined all the nomination papers from all candidates - including myself - and accepted them. But some references were filed, especially against myself, in the Supreme Court. That is no problem. It is fine. A matter of Law. But then a 7 member bench was formed. Then after a while it was turned into a 9 member bench and then it was turned into a 11 member bench and the case keeps on dragging interminably without a decision. Then the Presidential elections happened in which I was fortunate enough that the assemblies gave me 57% of the vote. I am thankful to all from Provincial assemblies, Senate and National assemblies who voted for me. But the case is still dangling. The vote was counted. The unofficial result was announced but we cannot notify because the case is there. Now the case is going. No decision is forthcoming. It inches along. Now one gentleman wants to go to his daughter's wedding. So lets delay it even more. As if the entire nation, stuck in a strange state of hopelessness and uncertainty, can just keep hanging on indefinitely.
Even the Prime Minister examined this grave situation and sent me a written analysis that there is a great deal of difficulty for the government to function in this situation.
My brothers and sisters, what is happening in Pakistan? What is happening to us? What is happening to this country? In which direction are we headed? Which way? This country lives in my heart. This country lives in my blood. And it lives in my soul. I cannot watch it decline.
So the time has come to take action. What are we going to do? I have analyzed everything - the whole situation. How will we stop this decline. In my view, these three pillars of state - the judiciary, the executive and the legislative - must be harmonious. We will bring harmony to them , and then we will have good governance and we will be able to fight terrorism and extremism with our full capabilities. That is the only way to get the government back on track. Before we completely fall apart.
After examining this situation, I consulted with the military, bureaucratic, political and private leaders, friends, overseas Pakistanis - and after taking in their council, I made my decision. And this decision is to get back to that Third Stage of democratic transition that I discussed earlier and finish it - God Willing. The hurdles on the path to democracy must be removed. And my original intentions, my current intentions, are to complete Stage Three. God Willing, I will do so.
To do it, I have declared Emergency. I have issued a Provisional Constitutional Order which was being televised earlier - you must have seen it. I must state that there will be no changes in the government. The Prime Minister, the Governors, the Chief Ministers all remain on their posts. All the assemblies will continue - Senate, National Assembly, Provincial Assembly will all function as before. This is my decision. In my view, this is the easiest way to get Pakistan back on track and protect the economic development and finish the final transition to democracy.
Now to take advantage of this opportunity, I want to say something in English.
I have just spoken to the people of Pakistan in Urdu and I want to speak now to you in general, particularly to our friends in United States, European Union and the Commonwealth. I would ask you to kindly understand the criticality of the environment inside Pakistan and around Pakistan. Pakistan is on the verge of destabilization, if not arrested in time. Now without losing any further time or delaying the issue. The saddest part of everything which saddens me the most ... that after all we have achieved in the past 7 years I see in front of my eyes, Pakistan's upsurge taking a downward trend.
I personally, with all my conviction and with all the facts available to me, consider that inaction at this moment is suicide for Pakistan. I cannot allow this country to commit suicide.
Therefore, I had to take this action in order to preserve the democratic transition which I initiated 8 years back. I would like to repeat that - I said it in Urdu - I started with a three stage transition. The first stage from 1999 to 2002 where I remained in control. The second stage from 2002 to 2007 - 5 years of democratic rule, all assemblies functioning, local governments functioning - I oversaw it as the Chief of Army Staff and President combined and now I am launching the third phase which was to be completed in only a few months where complete democracy, return to civilian rule, myself being only a civilian President - if elected. It is this third stage that is being subverted today. And it is this third stage which I want to complete with all my conviction and if we don't take action, I don't think we are going to this third stage. I don't know what chaos and confusion will follow.
So therefore, I request you all to bear with us. To the critics and idealists against this action, I say please do not accept or demand your level of democracy which you learned over a number of centuries. We are also trying to learn, and we are doing well. Please give us time. Please also do not demand and expect your level of civil rights, human rights, civil liberties which you learned over the centuries. We are trying to learn. And we are doing well also. Please give us time.
I would, at this time, venture to read out an excerpt of President Abraham Lincoln, specially to all my listeners in United States. As an idealist, Abraham Lincoln had one consuming passion during that time of supreme crisis and that was to preserve the Union - because the Union was in danger. Towards that end, he broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary powers, he trampled individual liberties, his justification was necessity. Explaining his sweeping violations of Constitutional limits, he wrote in a letter in 1864, and I quote,
"My oath to preserve the constitution to the best of my ability, imposed upon me the duty of preserving, by every indispensabale means, that government -- that nation -- of which that constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation, and yet preserve the constitution? By general law life and limb must be protected; yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful, by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the constitution, through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground, and now avow it."
End quote. We are also learning democracy. We are going through a difficult stage. It is the nation which is important. And for me, for every Pakistani, Pakistan comes first. And everyone else's consideration after that. I look at it from this point of view. So whatever I do, is for Pakistan. And whatever anyone else thinks, comes after Pakistan. With all my sincerity, whatever I am doing is in the interest of Pakistan. And therefore I am doing it with full conviction and my full heart and soul and mind in it.
My brothers and sisters, I hope that all of you will recognize the seriousness of this situation. In my view, everything that I have done now, there was no alternative. If I have to sacrifice my life for the country, then it is available. I will not surrender to circumstances. I fight circumstances. I never surrender. I fight. And now I will fight. Not for myself. For this nation. For this country. For the life of my country men, for their progress. If I have your companionship, I have no doubt, God Willing, Pakistan will be back to the forefront and this derailed train will be, God Willing, back on track. I have no doubts that the nation wants progress, it wants to go forward. The common people are concerned with prices, concerned with unemployment and poverty. They are tired of this uncertainty in the name of democracy. The people are tired of these terrorists who in the name of Islam kill Muslims. The people are tired of this.
I want to tell my brothers and sisters, lets fight this together and take Pakistan forward. May God be by your, and by Pakistan's, side. Pakistan Hamisha Paindabad.
Since many folks are noting the reference to Lincoln in the General's speech (translated below) ... I just wanted to point out that he has been making this reference since 2002 ... here he is talking to Ikram Sehgal, Managing Editor of Defense Journal of Pakistan (January 22, 2002):
When US President Abraham Lincoln's name cropped up, he brought out an extract from Richard Nixon from his book "Leaders". He read, "Lincoln's consuming passion during the time of crisis (the American Civil War 1861-65) was to preserve the Union. "Towards that end he trampled individual liberties. His justification was necessity. Explaining his sweeping violation of constitutional limits, Abraham Lincoln wrote in a letter in 1864: My oath to preserve the Constitution imposed on me the duty of preserving by every indispensable means that government, that nation, of which the Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the nation and yet preserve the Constitution? By general law life and limb must be protected, yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life, but a life is never wisely given to save a limb. I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution through the preservation of the nation. Right or wrong, I assumed this ground and now avow it" unquote. Pervez Musharraf laughingly hoped that this would not be misconstrued, "The period after Oct 12, 2002 is of great concern to me, not only to maintain the momentum of reforms enacted but to sustain continuity. I want to strike the right balance so that the system can not be manipulated by any individual?s discretion for his own selfish, personal motives. I am confident about taking bold decisions, "because I have no skeletons in my cupboard, I can look you in the eye!", unquote.
So, just to be crystal clear. It is Lincoln through Nixon.
From this undated interview on the General's website:
Q. Which book have you read recently and really enjoyed?
A. Leaders by Richard Nixon