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No one forced me to join war on terror: Musharraf
September 25, 2006 23:12 IST
Pakistan Pervez Musharraf has said he joined the war on terrorism only because it was in the interest of his country and not because someone put a "gun" to his head and forced him into it.
He also denied that he is essentially walking both sides of the line when it comes to fighting terror.
"No, not at all," Musharraf said in an interview on NBC's Today Show, responding to a query on whether he was forced to go along with the US in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
"That is not the case. It is very clear and explained in the book that we did whatever we did in the interest of Pakistan. I'm not doing anything specifically for the interest of others. Basically, it is in Pakistan's interest that I took the decision and not -- it's not the case of somebody pointing the gun on my head or anything," he said.
"Because it's in Pakistan's interest, obviously it is -- my heart is in it. The whole nation's heart is in it... Obviously, I took a deliberate decision. I thought about it. It was a very serious decision that had to be taken," he said.
Musharraf, who met US President George W Bush last Friday, and will again see him on Wednesday in a trilateral meeting that will include the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, brushed aside the feeling in some quarters that he is trying to walk "both sides of the line" in the fight on terror.
"These are allegations by people who don't understand the environment. As I said again, we are talking on board. And I'm sure President Bush understands that we are on board to fight terrorism and extremism. We are the only country, which understands what terrorism is in its entire complexity. There is terrorism. There is extremism. There is Al Qaida terrorism and now Taliban, and the Taliban and Talibanisation," Musharraf said.
"So understand the entire complexity of this game, and we are taking action in accordance with our understanding of the environment. And then we have strategised and then we are implementing -- putting a tactical part into operation," he said.
The Pakistani president did not answer a question directly on whether he will accept American help if bin Laden was located on the Pakistani side of the border. "We are out there hunting Osama or Zawahiri together. We will hunt him down as the situation arises. And we will decide on how to do that when the situation arises. Now why get into sensitive areas before we know where the target is?" he asked.
Musharraf shrugged off a question on whether Bush's foray into Iraq has made the world far more dangerous. "I wouldn't like to comment. I believe in living in the present. And I believe in finding ways of improving the situation in the future. So let's live in the present and the future and not discuss what decisions were taken in the past," he added.