Musharraf "In the Line of Fire"

‘In the Line of Fire’ launched AQ Khan may have leaked N-designs to India: Musharraf
Reveals CIA paid millions of dollars to Pakistan for handing over al-Qaeda terrorists

By Shaheen Sehbai; The NEws, September 25, 2006

WASHINGTON: President Pervez Musharraf launched his memoirs here on Monday revealing that before Kargil, India was about to attack Pakistan, Dr AQ Khan may have leaked Pakistan’s nuclear secrets to India, he (Musharraf) never conceded all demands to Secretary Colin Powell on his first phone call after 9/11 and CIA had paid millions of dollars to the government of Pakistan for handing over al-Qaeda terrorists.

Musharraf has also disclosed that another plot to kill him had been unearthed in April of 2005 which was aborted by the ISI when they arrested the main plotter in Islamabad, sleeping at the back of a bus with his cell phone on.

These startling revelations come in his book “In the Line of Fire” released by publishers Simon & Schuster throughout the world today with a ceremony in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations addressed by General Musharraf.

Some of the shocking facts revealed by General Musharraf in his book could embarrass Washington, New Delhi, London, Tehran and many other world capitals but the book is certain to become a best seller in no time, reaping millions of dollars for the publishers and the writer.

Washington is already stunned with the disclosure that Richard Armitage threatened to “bomb Pakistan into the Stone Age”, a fact which Musharraf recalls with regret in his book (Page 201), but his disclosure that CIA paid millions to the government in Islamabad for handing over Al-Qaeda leaders is already causing more embarrassment.

The US Department of Justice official was quoted as saying: “We didn’t know about this. It should not happen. These bounty payments are for private individuals who help to trace terrorists on the FBI’s most wanted list, not foreign governments.”

More disclosures include the two secret letters written by ailing nuclear scientist Dr A.Q. Khan, one to the Iranians and the other to his daughter in London asking her to reveal all Pakistani nuclear secrets through British journalists. To Iranians Dr Khan asked them not to reveal his name to the International Atomic Energy Agency and after this issue died down he would provide them with more technology.

But the most astounding statement about nuclear proliferation comes when Musharraf reveals that Dr AQ Khan’s Dubai base may have provided Pakistan’s centrifugal designs to the Indians. “There is little doubt that AQ Khan was the central figure in proliferation network but he was assisted over the years by a number of money seeking freelancers from other countries, mainly in Europe. These people, according to AQ Khan included nationals of Switzerland, Holland, Britain and Sri Lanka,” he writes.

“Ironically the network based in Dubai also employed several Indians some of whom have since vanished. There is a strong probability that the Indian Uranium enrichment programme may also have its roots in the Dubai-based network and could be a copy of the Pakistani centrifuge design,” he says.

About Dr AQ Khan’s letters he said: “The letter to Iran was being carried by a business partner of AQ Khan in which Khan advised some of his friends in Iran not to mention his name under any circumstances to the IAEA. He also advised them to name dead people during investigations, just as he was naming dead people. He also promised Iran more help after this event passed.

The other letter was addressed by him to his daughter who lives in London. The letter besides being critical of the government contained detailed instructions for her to go public on Pakistan’s nuclear secrets through certain British journalists.

Musharraf says for years Pakistan government ignored Dr AQ Khan’s lavish life style and tales of wealth, properties and corrupt practices. In hindsight that neglect was apparently a serious mistake, he says.

Dr AQ Khan, Musharraf writes, was not part of the problem but “the problem” itself. “When AQK departed our scientific organisations started functioning smoothly. He was a self-centred and abrasive man and could not be a team player. He did not want anyone to excel or steal the limelight on any occasion on any subject. He had a huge ego and he knew the art of playing to the gallery and manipulating the media. All this made him a difficult person to deal with.

Regarding Dr AQ Khan he says the more difficult issue for him was to hold his open trial. “The public would be sure to protest any prosecution, no matter what the facts. When I confronted him he broke down and felt extremely guilty and asked me for an official pardon. I told him that his apology should be to the people of Pakistan. It was then decided that he should appear on TV and apologise personally to the nation. I then accepted his request for a pardon and put him in protective custody for further investigation and his own sake.”

Musharraf denies flatly that the Pakistan Army or the government, either the present one or those in the past, were in any way involved in the Dr AQ Khan proliferation network. “On the basis of the thorough probe we conducted in 2003-04 I can say with confidence that neither the Pakistan Army nor any of the past governments of Pakistan were ever involved or had any knowledge of Dr AQ Khan’s proliferation activities.”

On Armitage he writes that the threat of being bombed into the Stone Age was made but he said though it was regrettable, it had nothing to do with his decision to take sides with the US against Taliban.

He listed the seven demands presented by US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain and the State Department and said he had refused to accept two of them. Musharraf expresses shock at the aspersion that he accepted all pre-conditions of Colin Powell, made in a phone call.

On Kargil Musharraf says it was not a one-off operation but part of a series of operations. “We also had intelligence through various sources suggesting an Indian plan to conduct some operations in our Northern Areas. There was specific information of a possible Indian attack in the Shaqma sector; it was aimed at positions we had used to shell the road between Dras and Kargil in early summer 1998, in response to continuous artillery shelling by the Indians at the Neelum Valley Road on our side of the Line of Control.”

The Kargil operation, he asserted, was conducted flawlessly, a tactical marvel of military professionalism … Considered purely in military terms, the Kargil operations were a landmarks in the history of the Pakistan Army. As few as five battalions, in support of the freedom fighter groups, were able to compel the Indians to employ more than four divisions, with the bulk of the Indian artillery coming from strike formations meant for operations in the southern plains.

“The Indians were also forced to mobilize their entire national resources, including their air force. By July 4 they did were fully prepared to hold our dominating positions ahead of the watershed.

Our nation remains proud of its commanders and troops, whose grit and determination I observed during my frequent visits to the forward areas. Many officers and men sacrificed their lives on the snow-clad peaks and in the boulder-ridden valleys of the Northern Areas.”

Musharraf directly blamed Nawaz Sharif for the ceasefire in Washington on July 4 1999. “The prime minister asked me several times whether we should accept a cease-fire and withdraw. My answer every time was restricted to the optimistic military situation; I left the political decisions to him. He wanted to fire his gun from my shoulder, but it was not my place to offer his.”

“I also remember his minister, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, an ardent supporter of his, to have been the strongest proponent of no cease-fire and no withdrawal. Chaundhry Shujaat Hussain, the interior minister at the time, who was to play a major political role after Nawaz Sharif’s departure, said that whatever we did, we must stress that Kargil was “our joint effort and collective responsibility.” Nawaz Sharif did not like this truth and stood up abruptly, saying that would continue later-but this never happened.”

IN THE LINE OF FIRE: AQ Khan was motivated by ego, money
Daily Times, September 26, 2006

WASHINGTON: President Pervez Musharraf said in a television interview broadcast on Sunday evening that Dr AQ Khan had done what he had done because of “ego, satisfaction and money”.

The much-awaited interview, recorded in Islamabad, was part of the widely watched CBS programme 60 Minutes. It failed to produce any surprises since the most sensational bits had already been aired by the print and electronic media around the world.

Gen Musharraf was closely questioned as to how the centrifuges that Dr Khan is charged with having supplied to North Korea and Iran could have been taken out of Pakistan’s highly-secured and military-guarded nuclear facilities undetected by the government or the army. He replied that the military was there to safeguard the facilities from outside attack. When the interviewer suggested that in that case the internal controls were a “little weak,” Gen Musharraf disagreed, asserting that they were not weak but “very strong”. He said the centrifuges, whose designs, parts and they themselves had been sent out, could easily have been placed in a car and moved out. When the interviewer wondered if 18 tonnes of equipment could have been thus removed without anyone noticing, Gen Musharraf replied that it could not have been done at one time. “It must have been transported many times” and thereafter put on a C-130 and flown out.

All the C-130s in the country are owned and flown by the Pakistan Air Force, but this question was not put to the president. Asked if the reason nobody from outside had been allowed to talk to Dr Khan was the fear that he might incriminate the army, the president replied, “That is absolutely not the case,” adding that US President Bush and CIA’s George Tenet are “very satisfied and quite comfortable with whatever we have done”.

He said “the most embarrassing moment” of his life came when at President Bush’s suggestion, the CIA director George Tenet showed him Pakistani centrifuge designs, which had been sold to Libya and Iran. President Musharraf said he did not ask the CIA how it had come upon such highly classified material. The president told 60 Minutes that he ordered an investigation and discovered that the most highly sophisticated nuclear technology was not only sent to North Korea but also to Iran. He said he did not think the Pakistani people would tolerate a long trial and prison sentence for a man who is seen as a national hero.

Musharraf said, “Today, he is a hero of Pakistanis because he has given us the atom bomb.” He added that he later pardoned Dr Khan but put him under house arrest. When the interviewer suggested that Dr Khan was living a life of “splendour,” the president replied that Dr Khan was comfortable but “now he does not even speak on (the) telephone”. He said Dr Khan was a lone wolf who exerted key control over Pakistan’s nuclear operations and was able to transfer nuclear technology with no official help.

The interviewer described Pakistan with its nuclear weapons as the world’s “most dangerous” country. When he asked the president if he found it disturbing that those who bombed his motorcade in Islamabad were from the Pakistan Air Force, he replied in the affirmative but added that they were low-level personnel who were more susceptible to extremist, terrorist tendencies and could be indoctrinated to do such things. The president agreed that the situation had been aggravated by his alliance with the United States.

He said he had been told by his director of intelligence (Lt Gen Mahmood Ahmed) after his meeting with former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage that if Pakistan did not cooperate, then it should be prepared to be bombed into the Stone Age. Musharraf said he found Armitage’s words rude and a threat but he had to think and take action in the interest of the nation. He viewed Armiatge’s words as a threat and he felt that after what had happened on 9/11, the world’s sole superpower would be a “wounded” country and it would do anything to counter and punish the perpetrators. “And if we stand in the way of that, we are going to suffer,” he added.

Questioned about the Pakistan-link of some of the London bombers this summer who were caught and if it bothered him or surprised him, the president replied, “It disappointed me, yes, but at the same time … they are not Pakistanis. They are born and bred in Britain and they are British”. Asked why these people had to come to Pakistan to talk to somebody and get their blessings, the president replied, “That is because of whatever has happened for 26 years, so this place becomes the boiling pot.”

The president told 60 Minutes that the children of those who came to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan are still in cities like Peshawar and in the no-man’s-land along the Afghanistan border. The interviewer called them a Frankenstein monster that goes by the name of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. This observation was intercut with footage of bomb making being taught to militant recruits. The interviewer told the president that Afghan President Hamid Karzai believes “Musharraf is complicit” and then asked if Karzai was correct in saying that the Taliban come to Pakistan where they are trained. The president replied, “Yes, indeed, people could be coming here; people could be training (here) and going back on their own. We’ll act against them and we’re trying to do our best”. The president said it is his belief that the Taliban must be defeated “absolutely, one hundred percent.”

APP adds: Musharraf said that he could not confirm reports that Osama bin Laden died last month of typhoid in Pakistan but reaffirmed his commitment to hunt down the Al Qaeda leader. Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Dallas Morning News in Highland Park, Texas, where he paid a brief visit on Saturday for a routine medical check up, he said he was aware of a French intelligence report on bin Laden’s death, but could not comment on its details. Replying to a question, General Musharraf said that his visit to the United States has helped “clear certain misperceptions” about Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. The president said his meeting with President Bush was “extremely positive”. khalid hasan

For additional stories on Musharraf's memoirs from international press, click for India here, for BBC here, and for New York Times here


Ahmad Khalid said…
Thanks for the post. It had in-dept information I was seeking about the book. I can't though wait to read the book.

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