Former President Of Pakistan In KELOLAND
October 2, 2009, 9:58 PM
Some call him a dictator; others consider him a powerful ally.
But no matter what you think of him, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has had an international impact.
Thousands gathered at Augustana college tonight to listen as Musharraf shared his personal role in the global war on terror and addressed concerns about Pakistan's nuclear assets.
The former president spoke of his time as the country's leader during and after the 9/11 attacks in the United States, and his country's decision to support the fight against the Taliban.
A standing ovation greeted former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf at the Elmen Center tonight.
Musharraf first thanked Augustana College for inviting him to share his story and talk about the political dynamics of Pakistan and the world. While Musharraf was president, Pakistan joined the effort to fight the war on terror by helping direct raids against Al Qaeda, and tracking Osama Bin Laden. But, his decisions were met with controversy.
“When we talk about terrorism and extremism, decisions after 9-11, certainly, we were pulled in different direction, while some people thought we should not have been part of it,” Musharraf said.
Before 2001, Musharraf says there was no relationship between his country and the US.
“In the negative perception of the united states, and the people of Pakistan, therefore joining the coalition, with the United States, who left the scene and left us high and dry in 1989, now after 12 years, asking us to join them,” Musharraf said.
Musharraf's decision created tension between Pakistan's neighbors. The former world leader is both praised and hated - he's survived 2 assassination attempts.
But, by coming here tonight, he hopes to clear up misconceptions. And Augustana students appreciate his willingness to reach out to the American people.
"This is a great opportunity to see real world leaders,” Ellen Kress said.
"I think it's great that so many people my age are here and interested in what’s going on,” Keanna CasanovaDyce said.
You can hear more of our one on one interview with Musharraf tune into this week’s Inside KELOLAND. It's Sunday morning at 10:30 and again following KELOLAND Weekend News at 10.
Augustana's Boe Forum has a history of bringing in world leaders. Past speakers include General Colin Powell, George Bush Senior, and Al Gore.
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