President General Pervez Musharraf
Speech to the Nation
September 19, 2001
My dear countrymen, Asslam-o-Alaikum:
The situation confronting the nation today and the international crisis have
impelled me to take the nation into confidence. First of all, I would like to
express heartfelt sympathies to the United States for the thousands of valuable
lives lost in the United States due to horrendous acts of terrorism. We are
all the more grieved because in this incident people from about 45 countries
from all over the world lost their lives. People of all ages old, children,
women and people from all and every religion lost their lives. Many Pakistanis
also lost their lives. These people were capable Pakistanis who had gone to
improve their lives.
On this loss of lives I express my sympathies with those families. I pray to
Allah to rest their souls in peace. This act of terrorism has raised a wave
of deep grief, anger and retaliation in the United States. Their first target
from day one is Osama bin Laden's movement Al-Qaida about which they say that
it is their first target. The second target are Taliban and that is because
Taliban have given refuge to Osama and his network. This has been their demand
for many years. They have been demanding their extradition and presentation
before the international court of justice. Taliban have been rejecting this.
The third target is a long war against terrorism at the international level.
The thing to ponder is that in these three targets nobody is talking about war
against Islam or the people of Afghanistan. Pakistan is being, asked to support
this campaign. What is this support? Generally speaking, there are three important
things in which America is asking for our help. First is intelligence and information
exchange, second support is the use of our airspace and the third is that they
are asking for logistic support from us.
I would like to tell you now that they do not have any operational plan right
now. Therefore we do not have any details on this count but we know that whatever
are the United States' intentions they have the support of the UN Security Council
and the General Assembly in the form of a resolution. This is a resolution for
war against terrorism and this is a resolution for punishing those people who
support terrorism. Islamic countries have supported this resolution. This is
the situation as it prevailed in the outside world.
Now I would like to inform you about the internal situation. Pakistan is facing
a very critical situation and I believe that after 1971, this is the most critical
period. The decision we take today can have far-reaching and wide- ranging consequences.
The crisis is formidable and unprecedented. If we take wrong decisions in this
crisis, it can lead to worst consequences. On the other hand, if we take right
decisions, its results will be good. The negative consequences can endanger
Pakistan's integrity and solidarity. Our critical concerns, our important concerns
can come under threat. When I say critical concerns, I mean our strategic assets
and the cause of Kashmir. If these come under threat it would be a worse situation
On the other hand, we can re-emerge politically as a responsible and dignified
nation and all our difficulties can be minimized. I have considered all these
factors and held consultations with those who hold different opinions. I met
the corps commanders, National Security Council and the Federal Cabinet. I interacted
with the media. I invited the religious scholars and held discussions with them.
I met politicians. I also invited intellectuals. I will be meeting with the
tribal chiefs and Kashmiri leaders tomorrow. This is the same process of consultation
that I held earlier. I noted that there was difference of opinion but an overwhelming
majority favours patience, prudence and wisdom. Some of them, I think about
ten percent favoured sentimental approach.
Let us now take a look at the designs of our neighbouring country. They offered
all their military facilities to the United States. They have offered without
hesitation, all their facilities, all their bases and full logistic support.
They want to enter into any alliance with the Unites States and get Pakistan
declared a terrorist state. They want to harm our strategic assets and the Kashmir
cause. Not only this, recently certain countries met in Dushanbe. India was
one of them. Indian representative was there. What do the Indians want? they
do not have common borders with Afghanistan anywhere. It is totally isolated
from Afghanistan. In my view, it would not be surprising, that the Indians want
to ensure that if and when the government in Afghanistan changes, it shall be
an anti-Pakistan government.
It is very important that while the entire world is talking about this horrible
terrorist attack, our neighbouring country instead of talking peace and cooperation,
was trying hard to harm Pakistan and defame Islam. If you watch their television,
you will find them dishing out propaganda against Pakistan, day in and day out.
I would like to tell India "Lay Off".
Pakistan's armed forces and every Pakistani citizen is ready to offer any sacrifice
in order to defend Pakistan and secure its strategic assets. Make no mistake
and entertain no misunderstanding. At this very moment our Air Force is at high
alert; and they are ready for "Do or die" Missions My countrymen!
In such a situation, a wrong decision can lead to unbearable losses. What are
our critical concerns and priorities? These are four;
1. First of all is the security of the country and external threat.
2. Second is our economy and its revival.
3. Third are our strategic nuclear and missile assets.
4. And Kashmir cause.
the four are our critical concerns. Any wrong judgement on our part can damage
all our interests. While taking a decision, we have to keep in mind all these
factors. The decision should reflect supremacy of righteousness and it should
be in conformity with Islam. Whatever we are doing, it is according to Islam
and it upholds the principle of righteousness. I would like to say that decisions
about the national interests should be made with wisdom and rational judgement.
At this moment, it is not the question of bravery or cowardice. We are all very
brave. My own response in such situations is usually of daring. But bravery
without rational judgement tantamounts to stupidity. There is no clash between
bravery and sound judgement. Allah Almighty says in the holy Quran, "The
one bestowed with sagacity is the one who get a big favour from Allah".
We have to take recourse to sanity. We have to save our nation from damage.
We have to build up; our national respect. "Pakistan comes first, everything
else comes later". Some scholars and religious leaders are inclined towards
taking emotional decisions. I would like to remind them the events of the first
six years of the history of Islam. The Islamic calendar started from migration.
The significance of migration is manifested from the fact that the Holy Prophet
(PBUH) went from Makkah to Madina. He (PBUH) migrated to safeguard Islam. What
was migration? God forbid, was it an act of cowardice? The Holy Prophet (PBUH)
signed the charter of Madinah (Meesaq-e-Madinah) with the Jewish tribes. It
was an act of sagacity. This treaty remained effective for six years. Three
battles were fought with non-believers of Makkiah during this period - the battle
of Badr, Uhad and Khandaq. the Muslims emerged victorious in these battles with
the non-believers of Makkah because the Jews had signed a treaty with the Muslims.
After six years, the Jews were visibly disturbed with the progress of Islam,
which was getting stronger and stronger. They conspired to forge covert relations
with the non-believers of Makkah. Realising the danger, the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
signed the treaty of Hudaibiya with the Makkhans who had been imposing wars
on Islam. This was a no war pact. I would like to draw your attention to one
significant point of this pact. The last portion of the pact was required to
be signed by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as Muhammad Rasool Allah.
The non-believers contested that they did not recognize Muhammad (PBUH) as the
Prophet of Allah. They demanded to erase these words from the text of the treaty.
The Holy Prophet(PBUH) agreed but Hazrat Umar (R.A) protested against it. He
got emotional and asked the Holy Prophet (PBUH) if he was not the messenger
of God (God forbid) and whether the Muslims were not on the right path while
signing the treaty. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) advised Hazrat Umar (R.A) not to
be led by emotions as the dictates of national thinking demanded signing of
the treaty at that time. He (PBUH) said, this was advantageous to Islam and
as years would pass by you would come to know of its benefits. "This is
exactly what happened. Six months later in the battle of Khyber, Muslims, by
the grace of Allah, again became victorious. It should be remembered that this
became possible because Makkhans could not attack because of the treaty. On
8 Hijra by the grace of Allah glory of Islam spread to Makkah. What is the lesson
for us in this? The lesson is that when there is a crisis situation, the path
of wisdom is better than the path of emotions. Therefore, we have to take a
strategic decision. There is no question of weakness of faith or cowardice.
For Pakistan, life can be sacrificed and I am sure every Pakistani will give
his life for Pakistan. I have fought two wars. I have seen dangers. I faced
them and by the grace of Allah never committed a cowardly act. But at this time
one should not bring harm to the country. We cannot make the future of a hundred
and forty million people bleak. Even otherwise it is said in Shariah that if
there are two difficulties at a time and a selection has to be made it is better
to opt for the lesser one.
Some of our friends seem to be much worried about Afghanistan. I must tell them
that I and my government are much more worried about Afghanistan and Taliban.
I have done everything for Afghanistan and Taliban when the entire world is
against them. I have met about twenty to twenty five world leaders and talked
to each of them in favour of the Taliban. I have told them that sanctions should
not be imposed on Afghanistan and that we should engage them. I have been repeating
this stance before all leaders but I am sorry to say that none of our friends
Even in this situation, we are trying our best to cooperate with them. I sent
Director General ISI with my personal letter to Mullah Umar. He returned after
spending two days there. I have informed Mullah Umar about the gravity of the
situation. We are trying our best to come out of this critical situation without
any damage to Afghanistan and Taliban. This is my earnest endeavour and with
the blessings of Allah I will continue to seek such a way out. We are telling
the Americans too that they should be patient. Whatever their plans, they should
be cautious and balanced: We are asking them to come up with whatever evidence
they have against Osama bin Laden; What I would like to know is how do we save
Afghanistan and Taliban. And how do we ensure that they suffer minimum losses:
I am sure that you will favour that we do so and bring some improvement by working
with the nations of the world. At this juncture, I am worried about Pakistan
only. I am the Supreme Commander of Pakistan and I give top priority to the
defence of Pakistan, Defence of any other country comes later.
We want to take decisions in the interest of Pakistan. I know that the majority
of the people favour our decisions. I also know that some elements are trying
to take unfair advantage of the situation and promote their personal agenda
and advance the interests of their parties. They are poised to create dissentions
and damage the country. There is no reason why this minority should be allowed
to hold the sane majority as a hostage. I appeal to all Pakistanis to display
unity and solidarity and foil the nefarious designs of such elements who intend
to harm the interests of the country. At this critical juncture, we have to
frustrate the evil designs of our enemies and safeguard national interests.
Pakistan is considered a fortress of Islam. God forbid, if this fortress is
harmed in any way it would cause damage to the cause of Islam. My dear countrymen,
Have trust in me the way you reposed trust in me before going to Agra. I did
not disappoint the nation there. We have not compromised on national honour
and integrity and I shall not disappoint you on this occasion either. This is
firm pledge to you. In the end before I take your leave, I would like to end
with the prayer of Hazrat Musa (A.S)( Prophet Moses) as given in Sura-e-Taha:
"May Allah open my chest, make my task easier, untie my tongue so that
they may comprehend my intent".