Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf's Address to the nation, May 27, 2002
My Dear Pakistani brothers and sisters Assalam o Alekum.
Pakistan is currently passing through a critical juncture. We are faced with a grave situation and we are standing at the cross road of history. Today’s decision will have serious internal and external effects on our future.
I think under the present situation consultation is very very important. I want to take you fully into confidence. I have met journalists, all the politicians and Kashmiri leaders for consultations. I had very useful discussions with them. I am grateful to all those politicians who met me and informed me of their views. But unfortunately there were some politicians who did not come to meet me. I think at this critical juncture, national unity is need of the hour. We must all think in terms of national interests by rising above personal and party interests. Many politicians advised me that I should again invite those politicians who did not come to meet me. I accepted their advice and I have invited them again, and meetings with them are continuing.
I again invite all of them through this address to the nation. I want to remove their doubts and apprehensions through consultations with them. First of all I want to assure them today before the nation that the process of true democracy will begin in the month of October. Elections will be held between the 7th and 11th of October 2002. This is my promise to the nation that these elections will be fair and transparent and we shall invite all those foreign observers who wish to observe these elections.
I would like to say a few words with reference to the Referendum. First of all I most sincerely want to assure the nation that no official interference of any kind was permitted during the referendum. The proof of this is that it was for the first time that the army was not deployed at the polling stations. So that the impression is not created that the army is being used. Therefore the army was deliberately kept away. As I was confident that all those who had never exercised their right of franchise were going to cast their votes in my favour. I also knew that the young generation particularly those between the ages of 18 and 21 as well as the minorities wanted to vote for me and they did.
"I had the support of the labour. The labour union leaders extended total support to me from every part of Pakistan. Besides, all Chambers of Commerce supported me. People in the rural areas and the masses were in my favour. I was however getting some unofficial reports that at lower level due to unnecessary enthusiasm and carelessness, inefficiency and ignorance there might have been some improper case of voting in some areas. If this is true I regret it from the core of my heart. I feel sad and sorry for it. I feel sad particularly because I think that perhaps even my well wishers, who had always supported me might have felt that such things should not have happened.
"Now I would like to refer to some of the external dangers. As you know the enemy’s forces are deployed on our borders. The enemy has brought forward its army, navy and Air Force. They are being faced by the Pakistan army, navy and the air force and they are serving as a bulwark. The entire nation is with the armed forces and will shed the last drop of their blood but would not allow any harm to come to the motherland.
"Tension is at its height. The danger of war is not yet over.
How this situation was created. I would like to make an assessment of the situation. As you know there was an attack on the Indian Parliament on 13th of December. This was a terrorist attack which we had fully condemned and said that it was a terrorist attack. But the Indian leadership acted in a hasty manner and adopted extremely irresponsible behaviour. This was a demonstration of their traditional enmity towards Pakistan. By showing enmity towards Pakistan, they put the blame on us and consequently brought their forces on the border. Though the tension was building up, some improvement in the situation was being witnessed when there was an attack on a Garrison in Jammu on May 14th in which many civilians were killed. We felt sad about it as we believe that targeting any civilian in such a manner is a terrorist attack.
"We condemned this, and we think that whosoever is involved in such terrorist attacks wants to de-stabilise Pakistan. I understand this and the whole world knows that there were many acts of terrorism in Pakistan also. There was an attack on our Church in which many foreign nationals were killed. Later on French nationals were killed in a suicide bomber attack in Karachi.
But we did not blame India for these attacks. We did not increase tension.
"I think such acts of terrorism are being committed by the people of such organisations or such groups who want to destabilise us. We condemn them. But this should not become a justification for increasing tension. Now recently there was martyrdom of Abdul Ghani Lone. It is a very sad incident. May Allah Tala rest his soul in peace. He was an important member of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. We are extremely grieved over his martyrdom. Now the blame for this was at once put by India on Pakistan and on ISI. I would like to ask the Indian authorities that at a place where a public meeting was being held and thousands of people were present and thousands of troops deployed all around, how come those who martyred Abdul Ghani Lone had disappeared. Did they vanish in thin air. We still have no clue about them whereas in all other previous attacks all those allegedly involved were either killed or apprehended. They were always dubbed as ISI agents. But now where have the killers of Abdul Ghani Lone disappeared. We want to know about this. I would like to say that all these allegations with aggressive overtones show highly irresponsible behaviour on the part of Indian leadership. This increases the heat of war and creates war hysteria.
"This is unacceptable to us. Now look at our attitude. Despite such provocations, we have exercised restraint and adopted a wise and sane policy. But this should never be construed as weakness. In the meantime, we have continued to build up our defenses and will continue to do so. Pakistan is a responsible state. I had said in my January 12 address that Pakistani soil would not be allowed to be used for terrorism against anybody. I repeat we will not allow this. I also want to tell the world and give the assurance that no infiltration is taking place across the Line of Control. But I want to make one thing quite clear. A liberation movement is going on in Occupied Kashmir and Pakistan cannot be held responsible for any action against the Indian tyranny and repression.
"We do not want war. But if war is thrust upon us, we would respond with full might, and give a befitting reply."
"I would now like to convey a message to the world community, Pakistan does not want war. Pakistan will not be the one to initiate war. We want peace in the region.
"Let me also assure the world community that Pakistan is doing nothing across the Line of Control and Pakistan will never allow the export of terrorism anywhere in the world from within Pakistan.
"Let me also say that Pakistan has taken very bold steps and initiatives since my speech on 12th January but unfortunately we have not seen any positive response from the Indian side. I urge the world community to ask India to move towards normalisation of relations, which really implies de-escalation, and reduction of tension on the borders, which is of mutual benefit to both countries, initiation of process of dialogue, cessation of atrocities being perpetuated on the people of Kashmir, allowing international media and Human Rights organisations to enter Kashmir and see the realities on ground. I also urge the world that they must take note of the atrocities being committed by the Hindu extremists and terrorists in Kashmir, in Gujarat and else where in India and against Muslims, Christians Sikhs and also their own scheduled cast.
"Now I want to give a message to my Kashmiri brothers and sisters. Kashmir resides in the heart of every Pakistani. Pakistan will always fulfill its duty of providing moral, political and diplomatic support to the cause of Kashmir. Pakistan will always support the Kashmiri struggle for liberation.