All the things he said

A look back at the quotable quotes that marked Pervez Musharraf’s years in office.

‘I’m not a politician. I don’t have the makings of a politician. I believe in straight talk.’
On the 2002 elections timetable given out – BBC on 27 July, 2000

‘The people love me. I’m a popular leader wherever I go. Those who are protesting against me are idiots. They don’t know anything.’
On people’s sentiments towards him – BBC on 15 October, 2001

‘It could be over in one day if you take out Mullah Omar and his leadership. Once you have done that, the campaign is over.’
On US-led attacks on Afghanistan – comments which he later denied making – BBC on 15 October, 2001

‘Ms Bhutto’s accountable to the nation for her misdeeds and legal action would be taken against her.’
On Benazir Bhutto announcing her return to Pakistan – Interview with the Guardian on May 16, 2001

‘If pressure on Pakistan becomes too great, then use of the atom bomb is possible – but only as an absolute last resort.’
On possibility of military conflict with India – BBC on 7 April, 2002

‘Most likely he’s dead. Most likely. It’s a guess. I can’t say.’
On Osama bin Laden’s chances of being alive – BBC on 29 August, 2002

‘Initially I thought he may be dead. And I believe now that more chances are that he is alive. Now where he is, it can be either side of the border and I keep saying that maybe he’s moving continuously. If he is moving with a small body of people around him, he could be on the Pakistani side. But if he is moving with a large body then I think Afghanistan is a better place to hide, because here he will be exposed.’
On Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts – BBC Breakfast with Frost interview on 22 June, 2003

‘I sweat very seldom but when I am confronted with documentary evidence about activities that Pakistan has denied being a part of then yes, I do start sweating.’
On evidence against activities Pakistan denies – BBC on 10 August, 2004

‘This was a culture, a society which was moving towards extremism and fundamentalism, and I am trying to reverse this trend and give voice to the vast majority of Pakistanis who are moderate. Now these are not easy things which can be done by anyone, may I say. I’m sorry, I don’t want to boast about myself, but there is a renaissance, there is a big change we are trying to bring about.’
On the possibility of remaining Army chief beyond the Dec. 31 deadline – New York Times on 20 September, 2004

‘When I read about this issue of we are not doing enough and all that, I really don’t like that at all for Pakistan. Who else is doing enough? Who else is doing anything, by the way? Only Pakistan is doing enough.’
On criticism of Pakistan’s commitment to capturing Osama bin Laden – New York Times on 20 September, 2004

‘A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped.’
On the abuse and violence against women in Pakistan – Washington Post on 13 September, 2005

‘I am a fighter, I will fight you. I do not give up and if you can shout, I can shout louder.’
On denying making the women exploiting rape statements published in the Post interview – Dawn on 18 September, 2005

‘This issue is not that grave. The people who are comparing Balochistan with the situation in East Pakistan are not aware of the ground realities.’
On unrest in Balochistan – BBC on 14 March, 2005

‘Let’s fence this border so that this blame game is killed once for ever.’
On accusations of letting militants cross the Afghan border – BBC interview with Barbara Plett on 1 March 2006

‘I know 200% that the people of Pakistan are with me, the vast majority. Don’t be misled by a few thousand who come on the streets. The vast majority is with me. If they were not, first of all I would quit myself. The day I come to know I’m not popular, I’ll quit. But more than that, they’ll be out in the streets, and I would not be allowed to stay. If you see the history of past dictators in Pakistan, they were not allowed to stay by the people, because they were out in the streets by the millions.’
On being a popular leader – BBC interview with Barbara Plett on 1 March 2006

‘All this today, in the past six years, what I have done in Pakistan, is really the essence of democracy. What the West looks at is just the label of democracy.’
On defining democracy in Pakistan – BBC interview with Barbara Plett on 1 March 2006

‘My brothers and sisters…what is happening to this country? Where are we going? How do we curb this downside movement?’
On declaring state of emergency – National Address on 3 November, 2007

‘I had to take this action in order to preserve the democratic transition which I initiated eight years back….I request you all to bear with us. To the critics and idealists against this action, I would like to say, please do not expect or demand your level of democracy, which you learned over a number of centuries. We’re also trying to learn and we’re doing well. Please give us time. Please also do not demand your level of civil rights, human rights, civil liberties which you’ve learned over centuries… Please give us time.’
On justifying actions upon declaring state of emergency – National Address on 3 November, 2007

‘It hit me at the ceremony, I think, when I handed over the baton to the new army chief of staff. Uh, that ceremony that was very nostalgic, very emotional because I thought this is the day when I am leaving. I am no more the chief.’
On taking off the uniform – Good Morning America on 30 November, 2007

‘Let’s stop the blame game. We need to look at the reality, forget the past and look ahead. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I can tell you I tried my best for peace between India and Pakistan. I was never negative when the opportunity for peace came to me.’
On Pakistan-India relations during lecture in New Delhi – ‘Musharraf Supporters’ on 9 March, 2009

‘It’s good. I am relaxed. The most difficult job was to take decisions in highly complex situations. Now I read about them in the papers.’
On living in Pakistan and not being in charge, during lecture in New Delhi – ‘Musharraf Supporters’ on 9 March, 2009

‘You think it is very logical that those people who are trying to kill me, that I will go and shake hands with them? Is it very logical? No, it is not logical, nothing of that sort has happened.’
On accusations of sympathising with the Talibans – Russia Today on 28 May, 2009

– Compiled by Shyema Sajjad

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