KARACHI: Former president Pervez Musharraf has conceded that he agreed on ‘some’ of the seven-point conditions set by the United States hours after the 9/11 attacks to ‘be on the side of countries fighting terrorism’, but also claimed to have ‘rejected others’.
In an interview to SouthAsia Magazine, the former army chief said reports that he had surrendered to the US after a phone call from Colin Powell were fabricated.
According to him, he was only briefed by the then US secretary of state on the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre and asked if Pakistan would be on the side of countries fighting terrorism.
“I went to Islamabad two days later where the US ambassador to Pakistan met me and gave me a seven-point agenda,” retired Gen Musharraf said.
“Let me make it clear that we had not given any answer to the US by that time. We got back to them some three days later after going through the agenda. We agreed on some conditions and rejected others.”
Responding to the allegation about official permission given for drone strikes, he said this was entirely false.
During his rule, he said, hardly seven or eight drone attacks were recorded and even then he had protested against them. “My protest was so strong that many people advised me to tone it down.”
He said he was surprised to see the media making issues out of non-issues despite the fact that he gave a ‘free hand’ to the media because he believed the country could not progress in the absence of independent media.
“They seem to be ignoring the core issues of governance and are getting bogged down in abstract notions of democracy and dictatorship,” he said.
He claimed that his government was the most democratic.
“Our government (2002-07), a duly elected government, was as democratic as many a government in the world,” he said. “We were democratic in the true sense. Democracy is all about empowering the people and we delegated power to the people by introducing the local government institutions. We gave freedom to the media.”