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Text: Pakistan President Musharraf

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2001

Following is a partial transcript of Pakistan President Musharraf's televised speech asking the people of Pakistan to support his course of action.

MUSHARRAF: (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I want to underline this fact that in all these three targets, there is no mention of (inaudible) or against Islam and they are asking Pakistan's support in this.

America is asking for our support in three main specific areas: (Inaudible) information exchange, the use of our airspace and the third area they need our support is logistic support.

I also want to clarify that until this moment, their plans are not ready and so we don't have any details of what they plan. But I can tell you whatever America is planning, the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council have passed a resolution supporting them, and this resolution is to fight against terrorism, and this particular resolution is, of course, to attack those people who support terrorism. And I also wish to tell you that all Islamic nations have supported this resolution.

And now I wish to make you aware of our domestic situation.

Pakistan is facing a very critical time. And I would say, after 1971, this is the most critical period in the nation's life. And at this point, our decisions will go far-reaching and decisive results. On the one hand, if we make any mistake, they can culminate in very bad ends. And on the other hand, if we make the right decisions, they would be very fruitful for us. The bad results can put into danger our very existence.

Our main concerns are they can be hurt and harmed. And it can also devastate our main power, our main cause, Kashmir. And the fruitful results in our favor can be, we can emerge as a powerful nation and our problems can be solved.

I assessed all these problems personally and I consulted people of different opinions. I consulted the colonels (ph), I consulted the core commanders. And I had a very lengthy discussion with my cabinet, with the national security council. And then, I also discussed with people in the media, discussed with intellectuals, discussed with clergy. And tomorrow, I will be meeting the tribal chiefs. This is exactly the same process that I had initiated before going to Agra for a summit with Mr. Watchbey (ph).

I know opinions are divided. But the majority, the great majority of people are supporting the course that I have taken. It is only less than 10 or 15 percent people who tend to go toward the other side. They are to see what are the intentions of our neighboring countries. They have offered all their military facilities to the United States. Very conveniently, they have offered their logistic support and all their facilities to America. They want that America should come and side (ph) them and they want Pakistan to be declared a terrorist state, and thus damage our Kashmir cause.

Recently in the Shambay (ph) a few countries gathered together, in which, of course, Indian representative are present there. India has no border with Afghanistan. Therefore, it is surprising, what did they want to talk at that gathering in the Shambay (ph). Their intention is, if there is a change in Afghanistan, then an anti-Pakistan establishment should be encouraged to be performed there in Afghanistan.

The great regret is that the rest of the world is talking about this tragedy, this disaster, and our neighboring country, with whom we were trying to talk peace and cooperation, is trying to defame Pakistan and Islam and harm it. If you look at their television, morning, evening and afternoon, a constant barrage is being launched against us. I want to tell them in English, ``Lay off.''

The Pakistan army and every Pakistani is prepared to lay down their life for the safety of Pakistan.

At this moment, our full air force is on high alert, and they are ready for a do-and-die mission.

My fellow countrymen, in the present circumstances, a wrong decision can lead to an end which will be unbearable. What are the major concerns that we have? I think there are four concerns that we have. The first is, safety of our country from any external threat. Number two, our own prestige (inaudible). Number three, the safety of a nuclear (ph) and missiles (ph). These four are our most critical concerns. A wrong decision on our part can lead to damage all these four concerns.

While making a decision, we have to consider all these details in front of us. In deciding, we must make sure that we are supporting the right cause and it should be according to Islamic tenants. And whatever we do--whatever we are doing is according to the tenants of Islam.

I would like to say, where it concerns the loss or advantage (ph) to our country, we must take any decision and use our wisdom and intelligence on this occasion. It's not a question of cowardice or strength. We are already strong people. On such occasions my own reaction is exactly the same, but showing strength without wisdom is a kind of foolishness. There is no contradiction between intelligence and in strength.

Almighty says in Koran Sharif (ph), ``Whosoever has got intelligence, the one who is bestowed with intelligence is gifted with God's biggest grace.'' We have to use our intelligence. We have to somehow save ourselves from any damage, and we have to, of course, heighten the grace of our country. Pakistan comes first.

Some clerics and some religious leaders are being driven toward an emotional decision. I want to remind them of the first six years of the history of Islam.

Islam's calendar started with migration when Prophet Mohammed himself went from Mecca to Medina to save Islam. It was his, of course, wisdom to go towards a migration.

After migration, when the prophet reached Medina, then he entered a friendship treaty with his enemies, the Jews, in Medina. This was his wisdom. This treaty continued for six years, and in these six years there were three incidents. And in this, because of the peace treaty with Jews, he was able to fight the infidels of Mecca.

After six years, the Jews noticed that Islam was becoming stronger. They got very irritated. In this estate, they started a new alliance with the intelligent people of Mecca. When the prophet noticed that these two enemies were getting together, he decided to sign an agreement, an alliance with the same infidels of Mecca with whom he had been fighting.

I want to draw your attention to the main point of this particular alliance. At the end of this letter, where there were to be signatures, the prophet's name was written where he had to sign. The infidels said they didn't regard him as a prophet, and that the word ``prophet'' should be deleted. He agreed to delete it, but at this point Hasmat Omar (ph), who was present there, he became very emotional and, in this emotional state, Hasmat Omar (ph) asked Prophet Mohammed, ``Are you not the prophet of the Almighty?'' He said, ``No, I am.'' Omar (ph) asked, ``Are we not on the right side in signing this treaty?'' The prophet said, ``No, we are on the right side.''

Hasmat Omar (ph) asked, ``Why are we going to sign it that way?'' The prophet's reply was, ``You are at the moment talking with emotion. You are emotionally charged. But wisdom's demand is that we should sign it at the moment, and this would be beneficial to Islam, and as the time passes, you will become aware of what advantage it has to us now.''

And then in the next six months, there was a battle between Muslims and Jews, and of course by the grace of God, Muslims won the battle. This was possible because there had been a pact with the infidels of Mecca--of a no-war (ph) pact--that Muslims won. And then, of course, Mecca was conquered.

What lesson do we derive with this incident? The lesson is, when there is a crisis, wisdom is a much better way than emotion. Therefore, on this occasion, a strategic decision is to be taken. It is not a question of lack of strength. I have fought two battles. My whole life is dedicated to Islam, and I have never shown any cowardice. But for no rhyme or reason, one does not want to invoke any kind of problems or our life. And we can't stake the life of millions of people. And it is said that if you are facing two problems and you have to choose one, then it is better to take the lesser evil.

Some of my compatriots and colleagues are very concerned about Afghanistan. And I want to tell them that I myself and my regime is much more concerned about Afghanistan than them. What have I not done for Afghanistan and for Taliban? When the whole world is against them, I have met more than 20 or 25 leaders of the world and I have told all of them in favor of Taliban. I have tried to persuade them not to impose sanctions. I have told them to engage Taliban. And I had spoken to President Clinton about them. I spoke to Chinese leaders. I have spoken to so many other leaders about Taliban. But I have to say with regret that none of my friends agreed to my proposals.

Even in the present circumstances, we are trying to negotiate with them. I sent the chief of ISI, with my personal letter to Mullah Omar. I told Mullah Omar in my letter about the seriousness of the situation. I would have (inaudible) somehow to come out of this serious situation so that Afghanistan and Taliban do not face any kind of harm. Not even this, I'm even telling America whatever their intentions are, they should exercise balance. And we are also asking for any evidence against Osama bin Laden.

But I would like to ask, how can we save Afghanistan and Taliban from getting into any harm or try to lessen the harm? Can we do it by cutting off the international community or going with them? I'm convinced that your verdict would be that if we go along with the international community then alone we can influence their decisions.

I am, at the moment, only worried about Pakistan. I am the commander in chief of Pakistan, and my main worry is the safety of Pakistan. The welfare of Pakistan is my main concern.

We want to take a decision which is advantageous to the country. I am aware that the vast majority of our population is in favor of what we are deciding. And therefore, it is a part of our duty that we should show our unity and total support in favor of this decision.

I also know that there are some people who want to take advantage of the situation, who want to advocate their party or want to take advantage of their personal agenda. They want to create conditions where the country would come to harm. There is no reason that this minority is able to misdirect the great majority. And therefore, I appeal to the Pakistani army (ph) that they should show wisdom, that these people who want to harm Pakistan, should be put aside. It should be ensured that they are not able to in any case damage any causes (ph) of Pakistan.

On this occasion, we want to somehow nullify the intentions of our enemies and to make sure that Pakistan is at an advantage. If, God forbid, any damage is done to the causes (ph) of Pakistan, then it would be a damage to Islam.

My countrymen, have trust on me, the way you had trusted me when I was going to Agra. Trust me now. I did not disappoint the nation on that occasion. I didn't compromise the dignity of Pakistan. God willing, on this occasion also, I will not disappoint you.

These are the important subjects that I wanted to discuss with you.

In the end, I will decide this (inaudible), this prayer: My friend and colleague, make work easy for me. Give me the right words so that people can follow me, people can understand what I intend. May God protect all of us. May Pakistan live for long.

© 2001 The Washington Post Company