THE CENTER FOR WESTERN STUDIES
The Boe Forum on Public Affairs
The Internal and External Dynamics of Pakistan
7:30 p.m. - Friday, October 2, 2009
President Pervez Musharraf occupied, what TIME Magazine described as ‘‘the most dangerous job in the world,’’ playing a crucial role in the global war on terror. President Musharraf has survived two assassination attempts; rooted out militants in his own government; helped direct countless raids against Al Qaeda—both in his cities and in the mountains; and tracked Osama Bin Laden with technical and human intelligence. His astonishingly revealing memoir, In the Line of Fire, chronicles his struggles for the security and political future of his nation, with high stakes for the world at large.
At the start of his presidency, political restructuring was one of the four areas of focus for his government. He began examining why democracy remained dysfunctional in Pakistan and addressed the core malaise. He empowered the people of Pakistan at the grass roots level through a local government system, which did not previously exist; the women of Pakistan were empowered by gaining reserve seats at every tier of the Parliament; multiple private TV channels were allowed for the first time in the history of Pakistan, and the electronic and print media began operating independently of the government.
Following the September 11th terror attacks, the United States sought President Musharraf’s support to fight the Taliban. With a vision for a modern, democratic, non-fundamentalist Islamic Pakistan, President Musharraf was one of America’s greatest allies in helping to fight the Taliban.
In the course of his seven years at the helm of affairs in Pakistan, President Musharraf traveled widely all over the world and met many prominent leaders, and many of those leaders came to Pakistan and interacted with him. Such top-level interactions allowed him to develop a sense of the geo-strategic realities of the world, and various conflict regions. It also crystallized his views and perceptions of key world issues. President Musharraf articulated one such thought to bring harmony into distraught regions in the form of a “strategy of Enlightened Moderation.” This captured the imagination of the West in particular, and was adopted by the Islamic World for Enlightened Moderation.
President Musharraf had a vision for Pakistan, and still believes that it is a nation that has all the resources, the potential and all the human capability to be transformed into a progressive, moderate, prosperous Islamic State.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It has the world’s second largest Muslim population, with 70% Sunni and 30% Shi’a. Bordered by Afghanistan and Iran on the west, India on the east, China in the extreme northeast, and with a coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, Pakistan is of strategic importance to the United States. Its all-volunteer armed forces are the world’s sixth largest. In 1947 Pakistan declared its independence from the British Empire and formed a Muslim state, separate from India. In 1956 it became an Islamic republic. English is its official language, and Urdu its national language. Pakistan’s population, which is relatively young, is expected to increase from 174,579,000 today to 208,000,000 in ten years. Its population is already larger than Russia’s. The most urbanized nation in South Asia, Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, is home to nearly 13 million people. More than 1/5 of the world’s population is located in South Asia, which includes India, the world’s second most populous country and largest democracy.
Pakistan: Did You Know?
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It has the world’s second largest Muslim population, with 70 percent Sunni and 30 percent Shi’a. Bordered by Afghanistan and Iran on the west, India on the east, China in the extreme northeast, and with a coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman, Pakistan is of strategic importance to the United States.
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