[ 5 October 2001 ]

On this day in 2001, British prime minister Tony Blair, who had just flown half way round the world to consult with Pakistan’s military dictator over how to deal with the Taliban, found himself having to console General Musharraf, who expressed his deep disappointment at how unfairly his and other military regimes were being scorned by democratic nations.  Alastair Campbell, Blair’s Director of Communications, noted in his diary the “irony in Musharraf saying military takeovers and military dictatorships were not accepted in the world” and that “TB (Tony Blair) did lots of warm words (and) made clear how important Pakistan was to this situation (as the United States and United Kingdom prepared for a war against the Taliban).”(1)

Human Rights Watch gave its damning verdict on Musharraf’s years in power in 2013 – reporting that ‘under Musharraf’s watch, the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies committed widespread human rights violations, including the enforced disappearances of thousands of political opponents, particularly from Balochistan province, and tortured hundreds of Pakistani terrorism suspects. Political opponents including high-profile opposition politicians were exiled, jailed, tortured, and in some instances murdered. Hundreds of “disappeared,” especially from insurgency-hit Balochistan, remain unaccounted for and are feared dead.'(2)


  1. Alastair Campbell and Bill Hagerty (2013), “The Alastair Campbell Diaries: The Burden of Power: Countdown to Iraq,” Arrow Books, London, p38
  2. ‘Pakistan: Hold Musharraf accountable for abuses’, Human Rights Watch, 23 March 2013, Report  accessed online at  https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/23/pakistan-hold-musharraf-accountable-abuses



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