2000-2009 | Backing dictatorships | Blair's crimes | Pakistan



General Pervez Musharraf.
US D.O.D. via Pingnews/Flickr. Public Domain

[ 5 October 2001 ]

On 5 October 2001, Prime Minister Tony Blair, who had flown half way round the world to consult with Pakistan’s military ruler over how to deal with the Taliban, found himself having to console the anxious dictator. President General Pervez Musharraf expressed his frustration at how 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’ adding 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

In 2013, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a damning verdict on the general’s nine years in power. By then he was living in self-imposed exile in a luxury £2.9 million flat in central London, with police officers from Scotland Yard assigned for his protection at a cost to the British taxpayer of £25,000 a day.2 HRW reported that ‘under Musharraf’s watch, the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies committed widespread human rights violations, including the enforced disappearances of thousands of activists, 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 the ‘disappeared,’ especially from insurgency-hit Balochistan, remain unaccounted for and are feared dead.’3


  1. Alastair Campbell and Bill Hagerty, The Alastair Campbell Diaries: The Burden of Power: Countdown to Iraq, Arrow Books, London, 2013, p. 38.
  2. ‘Musharaff’s London home up for grabs for nearly £3 million,’ The Business Standard accessed online at url https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/musharraf-s-london-home-up-for-grabs-for-nearly-3mn-pounds-114010600651_1.html and Peter Dominiczak ‘£25,000 a day for Met police to provide Musharraf gun guard,’ The Evening Standard, 11 September 2009 accessed online at url https://www.standard.co.uk/news/25000-a-day-for-met-police-to-provide-musharraf-gun-guard-6739446.html
  3. ‘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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