Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf who is known for his forthright views, recently spoke to a Tamil channel on a range of issues from Trumpâ€™s election to current Indo-Pak relations and demonetisation. In the interview given to Hariharan SA, news anchor of Thanthi TV, the former President of Pakistan admitted that Dawood was a respected man in Pakistan.
Here are excerpts from the interview:
Thanthi TV: What do you think Mr Donald Trump as the President of the United States means for the world and for Pakistan in particular?
General Pervez Musharraf: I look at it very positively because comparing him with Hillary Clinton, she was a product of the establishment for 15 years. She has been flowing along at the helm of affairs with the system. She may be a status quo agent and when you talk of Donald Trump, he is quite uninitiated. He comes with an open and a fresh mind, even if he has a lack of understanding of international issues. If he has got an open mind, if he is intelligent enough to grasp essentials, to learn and to make fast decisions, he will bring about change. That is what the people of United States want. They want change.
Thanthi TV: But you had a friend of a sort in Hillary Clinton. But with Donald Trump don't you think you have reasons to worry as well considering his hardline positions on Pakistan?
General Pervez Musharraf: I don't agree with that. Since he is, as I said, uninitiated. When he comes into office, he gets briefings, he will get briefings obviously. A person with an open mind is very liable to change and if Pakistan plays its cards well and deals with him suitably at a diplomatic level, I am sure he will understand realities and change his thoughts.
Thanthi TV: Coming to Indo-Pakistan relations, they are going through very tumultuous and tempestuous times. Who do you think is largely responsible for the state of affairs?
General Pervez Musharraf: You won't like the answer. But the answer is India. India is responsible.
Thanthi TV: Did India cause Pathankot? Was Pathankot a self-inflicted wound? Or was Uri a self-inflicted wound?
General Pervez Musharraf: Now that you have spoken about that, let's go back in history. Why do you ignore what happened in East Pakistan in the creation of Bangladesh? Your country, your whole army invaded East Pakistan? What happened in Siachen?
Thanthi TV: It was a struggle by the Bangladeshis.
General Pervez Musharraf: So you can't interfere. Should we interfere in Kashmir and in Punjab?
Thanthi TV: But there was a huge refugee inflow into our country.
General Pervez Musharraf: There was a struggle for Khalistan. There was a struggle in Assam and there are Maoists and Naxalites in your eastern districts. Should we send Pakistan army inside? That you can't do. You can't invade another country. What about Siachen? These things have been happening... The problem is you ignore the core issue and you are talking of Pathankot and Uri. Why don't you go a little back? Why are they being caused? What has happened in Kashmir? Hasnâ€™t Burhan Wani been killed? Havenâ€™t 80 people been killed and thousands injured and hasnâ€™t the Kashmir issue not been resolved. Why don't you go to the core of the problem?
Thanthi TV: What about the thousands of Baloch people who have been massacred? And the extra judicial killings in Balochistan?
General Pervez Musharraf: There has been no massacre of thousands of people. This is what your media and your government try to project. Absolutely untrue.
Thanthi TV: The Baloch people are also fighting for their self-determination.
General Pervez Musharraf: Not at all, let's not kid ourselves. I don't know how much you know about Balochistan. I operated in Balochistan in the 70s. There are only two or three tribes, and only a part of those tribes who tend to go against Pakistan. Balochistan's population if you know is just about 3% of Pakistan, and in that 3%, these tribes that I am talking about are maybe about 0.5% of Pakistan.
Thanthi TV: Don't you think Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken genuine steps to normalise relations? These are unprecedented. But what did we get in return?
General Pervez Musharraf: I laugh at them. These are gestures which are artificial. Cosmetic.
Thanthi TV: Another million-dollar question â€“ where is Dawood Ibrahim? Is he not in Pakistan?
General Pervez Musharraf: No, I don't know. I don't know at all.
Thanthi TV: Is he respected in your country?
General Pervez Musharraf: Yes, he is respected. He will be respected. Because what happened in Bombay, what happened in Gujarat, 200 Muslims were killed... As a reaction, whatever he does, it resonates well with people.
Thanthi TV: With Vajpayee you had a love-hate relationship didnâ€™t you?
General Pervez Musharraf: No... I had love relationship (laughs). I donâ€™t think there was ever a hatred. He was too good a person to be hated. There were issues. We have to understand that our relations have been so volatile.
Thanthi TV: Peace talks and bullets, how can they co-exist?
General Pervez Musharraf: They do. Take the example of UK, IRA and Ireland. Bullets were continuing and they reached peace. You can't say first stop bullets and then we will talk peace. No sir. Bullets continue and peace also continues and when peace succeeds bullets stop.
Thanthi TV: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a historic move to curb black money by abolishing Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes. This is largely because of complaints that counterfeit notes flow from the other side of the border. How do you look at this action?
General Pervez Musharraf: First of all, every accusation against Pakistan, let me just say it is done by both sides. You do exactly what you accuse us of. Be very clear, you are not that innocent. As far as the action is concerned, I personally think it's good. I think black money especially, is not Pakistan's counterfeit money. But the black money, ill-gotten money, that will be unearthed. I think it is a good action. I am no economist, but I think it's a good action.
Watch the interview here: