Transcript of interview with Pervez Musharraf
Editor's note: Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf met with Monitor editors in Boston Sunday. Here is the transcript of the entire interview.Skip to next paragraph
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CSM: Let me start with a very warm welcome to President Musharraf on his first visit to The Christian Science Monitor. We are just delighted to have you here. We're also delighted to meet Foreign Minister Inam ul Haque, Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Information Minister Nisar Memon, Major General Rashid Qureshi. And finally, welcome to all the other distinguished members of the delegation. Like journalists, we are interested in a story, but we are just as interested in good conversation that helps us understand Pakistan's view of the world and its role in the monumental events of the past year.
We invite you, Mr. President, to make any opening remarks before we begin with some questions.
Musharraf: Thank you very much. First of all I'm extremely grateful to you, to The Christian Science Monitor for having invited me for lunch and also giving me this occasion to interact with all of you. For having invited my whole delegation here and including my son. It's indeed a pleasure, and I would like to add here that myself and my family my parents have always been getting a copy of The Christian Science Monitor sponsored by my brother who's in Chicago, since I don't know how many years we've been getting a copy. So that goes to the credit of the credibility and authenticity of The Christian Science Monitor.
Having said that, I obviously come from a region which is the center of attention and attraction at the moment. All that is happening around the world important events are happening in our region, that is the South Asian region and Pakistan. I would like to as a starter give whatever is happening very, very briefly so we leave the rest to the informal questions.
Of course, first of all, domestically, talking of Pakistan, as far as I and my government are concerned, we came on the scene in 1999 in October and in these three years we have undertaken reforms and restructuring of the country in all its facets. The main concentration being economically viable, because we thought that nothing is possible without a stabilized economy and a progressive dynamic economy. To that extent, my finance minister is here. I give credit to my finance team; we have stabilized the economy of Pakistan. All macro-economic indicators of the country show positive growth and the future all goes well for the economy of Pakistan.
Then, the other issue that I would like to touch on is the issue of democracy and politics in Pakistan. We are trying to political restructuring, may I say, was one of the four areas of focus right from October 1999. We had four areas of focus: Economically viable, poverty alleviation, group governance, and political restructuring.
So in political restructuring we have brought the grass-root level change. We now have a local government in place, where we say we have empowered the impoverished. We have given the destiny of the people of Pakistan in their own hands and this is a "silent revolution" in the words of some foreign dignitaries. In fact, our international finance institutions claim this as a silent revolution. So this is the start of the political restructuring.
We are having our elections next month. All that we are trying to achieve through these elections is to introduce sustainable democracy in Pakistan, ensuring that the democratic process is not overturned, bringing checks and balances on all power brokers within Pakistan, and also ensuring that the reforms and the restructuring the process that we've initiated is sustained and it is not reversed. This is what we're doing on the political side.
A word on the law and order and terrorism, which is very important: We are a member of the coalition. We will remain a member. We will not allow Pakistani territory to be used by Pakistanis or non-Pakistanis for terrorist acts anywhere in the world within or outside Pakistan. We are meeting a lot of success in our joint efforts to fight terrorism from the western side, the fallout of whatever is happening in Afghanistan coming into Pakistan on our tribal belt and also infiltrating or maybe passing through into our cities. We have taken several actions very successfully.