Friday, October 15, 2010

Musharraf interviewed on This Week

Saw part of this interview of former Pakistani prime minister Pervez Musharraf, by This Week's Christiane Amanpour, in which Musharraf argues that Pakistan plays an important role in the fight against terrorism that is not fully acknowledged by the international community.

Over 2,000 Pakistani soldiers have died, in military actions against extremists, and many Pakistani civilians have lost their lives due to attacks by extremists as well as drone attacks that inadvertently hit civilian populations.  

Musharraf has made quite a career for himself on the lecture circuit since leaving office, and has apparently evinced enough nostalgia for his leadership to form a new political party with the aim of returning to Pakistani politics.  The problem with his tenure as prime minister has mainly to do with his lack of respect for civic institutions.  The end of his term was marked by "emergency rule" and effective dissolution of the judicial branch of government in Pakistan.  

Nevertheless, he does remind viewers in this segment that Pakistan continues to incur a high cost in the war against terrorism.  No one is more interested in stability and an end to terrorism than Pakistanis.

Extremism in Islam is not native to Pakistan nor is it embraced by the majority of the population.  Islam spread in Pakistan mainly by the efforts of Sufi scholars and saints, who still enjoy a special reverence in Pakistan today, both culturally (in terms of music, poetry) and religiously. Only by reconnecting to this spiritual tradition can we hope to battle extremist interpretations of Islam.

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