Criticising intelligence agencies and bureaucrats for acting as roadblocks in the normalisation of relations between India and Pakistan, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf said a four-point agreement on critical issues between the two countries was nearly concluded when he was in power, but could not be operationalised.
While speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here, Musharraf was brief but emphatic about his political plans in Pakistan. “I will decide when I have to return (to Pakistan). No one else. I have to make sure that the momentum is right. If I raise the momentum and it peters out before I can utilise it politically, my intervention will have been of no use. There is an elected government in Pakistan. The time has to be right (for me to return),” he said.
What was more significant was the former president’s blunt criticism of intelligence agencies, and that too on a foreign soil. Asked whether al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s undiscovered presence in Pakistan was a proof of complicity of Pakistan’s armed and intelligence forces with terrorists or negligence, Musharraf said it had to be the latter. “Our intelligence agencies were sleeping.”
Musharraf said the outstanding issues between India and Pakistan — like Sir Creek and Siachen — were at an advanced stage of negotiation and if there was a will (or neeyat as he called it) they could have been resolved ‘yesterday’. He also said India and Pakistan had to think out-of-the-box to resolve their differences and had come close to doing so at least twice during his own tenure. But as the bigger nation, the onus was upon India to show more generosity.
Musharraf served as Pakistan’s president during 2001-08.
He said there was a need to tackle terrorism and extremism on both sides of the border. “Pakistan is confronted with a number of situations– the presence of al-Qaeda elements, the Pakistan Taliban, Mujahideen and LeT (Lashkar-e-Toiba)”.
On Afghanistan, especially after the withdrawal of the Western security forces in 2014, he made two points: the solution to Afghanistan lay in Pashtun leaderhip of the government, not Tajik or Hazara or Panjshiri; and anyone who tried to turn Afghanistan against Pakistan would be taught a punishing lesson.