In an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes show, September 25, 2006, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, was asked tough questions on several issues. Asked about pardoning the man who shared nuclear secrets with Iran, Libya, and North Korea, Musharraf explained that Khan is seen as a hero to people on the streets. Despite his “mistakes,” Musharraf said Khan still brought nuclear technology to Pakistan. He felt he had no choice but to pardon the man, and described being the President of Pakistan as similar to walking a tightrope.
When asked how he felt about the label “Islamic Fascist,” which President Bush began using recently, he stated that President Bush is a friend, but that of course he and other Muslims are going to be sensitive to such a classification. He would prefer language that separates Islamic terrorists from other Muslims. In fact, he would prefer that terms referencing Islam be left out entirely, and other descriptors be used to designate terrorists. His fear is that such references will cause the world, and especially the United States, to see all Muslims in a bad light.
He indicates that while his people may still be somewhat skeptical of the friendship between Pakistan and America, the majority of his people, and the majority of Muslims, are absolutely against terrorism in the name of their religion. He said there is “no doubt” in his mind that fighting terrorism is in his country’s interest.
Musharraf also discussed attempts on his life. Despite such attacks, President Musharraf stands his ground as a friend to the West. He says he will continue walking the tightrope (one that is obviously stretched tightly between domestic and world interests). Asked about the rumor that Osama bin Laden had died, he said he had no evidence to confirm or deny it.
*You can read the full transcript of the interview at Fox News.