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When Musharraf cried bitterly

The President said he 'literally wept' when Pakistani troops surrendered during the Bangladesh war with India.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2006 21:54 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said he "literally wept" when he heard the "disgusting" news of surrender of Pakistani troops during the Bangladesh war with India.

Appearing on PTV's programme First Family, the General described the 1965 and 1971 wars with India as "important" events in his life.

During the 1965 war, Musharraf, who was then a second lieutenant in the Army, said he was saved from a lot of perilous situations.

In 1971 war he was serving as a commando but not in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

Musharraf said he was "emotionally hurt" and "literally wept" when he heard of surrender of Pakistani troops in the then East Pakistan.

Over 90,000 Pakistani troops led by Gen Niazi surrendered to Indian Army in Dhaka.

The troops were later released following the Shimla Agreement between Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

In reply to a question, he said Pakistan Army is fully with him because he has braved off difficulties and dangers with him.

"Each and every personnel is with me because I have not been I have not been a desk-type commander -- I have been living through dangers and hardships with them. They are with me not because of my rank but because they love me and that is leadership."

First Lady Sehba Musharraf, the President's son Bilal and his daughter Ayela Raza candidly shared their experiences, thoughts and hopes for the country's future in the programme.

"My greatest achievement is economic revival of Pakistan -- the possibility of pulling the country out of deep economic morass looked remote in 1999 it looked almost improbable in the face of an inextricable circle of debt-servicing but we managed it," he said.

"Not only I saved the country from sinking but I would like to be remembered for taking it forward and putting it on a course to move forward as a dynamic, progressive and enlightened society -- that is what I've achieved for Pakistan," he said in the programme.

"I must be remembered for protecting the country from economic bankruptcy," the General said.

While he admired Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as an army officer, his favourites have always been Roman and German generals.

He is not generally impressed by a singular entity, but greatly admires Turkish founding father Kamal Atatturk, whom he considers as the saviour of Turkish nation.

The fact that Kamal Atatturk battled the European allies with a mere, 275,000 Turkish soldiers, majority of whom perished, managing to have saved the nation, he said.

Commenting on his family background, he said he including his family belonged to the middle class and that he was representative of the middle class.

Believing in destiny, he said it was with divine held he rose to become the President from the ranks of a "mere brigadier" in 1990.

He said he loved his daughter and son and described humility and honesty as values of their life.

"They don't tell any body that their father is President of Pakistan," he said.

First Published: Apr 24, 2006 19:51 IST