Pervez Musharraf on the Death of Osama bin Laden

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Pervez Musharraf, former President of Pakistan, in 2010. Elizabeth Lippman / Contour-Getty Images

What do you think of Osama bin Ladens death?

I think it’s a success for Pakistan and the peace-loving people of the world. Having said that, there is one downside to it, and this is the violation of the sovereignty of Pakistan. I strongly believe that, and the people of Pakistan are very sensitive to this. They are sensitive to even drone attacks coming across and violating our air-space. So this attack by U.S. forces in Pakistan is a violation of our sovereignty.

Were you surprised he was in Pakistan?

There was a possibility—yes, indeed. But his being in Abbottabad surprised me the most. Yes, that is very surprising, and it is very disappointing.

He lived in a military town near the capital. How should Americans interpret that?

Questions are being asked. And I do sympathize with those suspicions. Personally, having known this Army for so long, I know that they were not involved. But it is negligence on their part, which needs to be investigated. How is it possible that they didn’t know?

There were accusations of collusion between extremists and segments of the Army on your watch, too.

The Pashtun and Taliban, they are all look-alikes. They all have beards. They all carry weapons. So who knows which one is a Taliban, and which one is a Pashtun? So this strategy [of allying with some tribal leaders] led to misperceptions in the West that I was double-crossing. Now, how could I be double-crossing when the people I am working against are people who have attacked me, who want to kill me? And they have killed thousands of soldiers.

Have U.S.-Pakistan relations faltered since you left?

That amount of trust and confidence which was there between the two armies, Army commanders, between the intelligence organizations, and at the government level, between me and President Bush, and at the lower level between the ministers—I don’t think that exists now.

Whats at stake?

If we don’t stabilize this region, we are going to invite the extension of extremism and terrorism.

Is Pakistan stable?

I think instability is increasing.

You plan to return to politics. When?

I shall be returning to Pakistan before the next elections.

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