Mehdi VO: Since its birth, Pakistan's democratic experiment has been punctuated by military coups.
Imran Khan (archive): The army came in, they planted puppets, they chose politicians who they could control.
Mehdi VO: And now caught on the frontline of America's so-called War on Terror, Pakistan stands accused of playing a double game, supporting the Taliban abroad while fighting them at home.
Hillary Clinton (archive): But you can't keep snakes in your backyard, and expect them only to bite your neighbours.
Mehdi VO: When a massacre in a school in Peshawar left the country riling, the army reasserted themselves, so will the government reign in the generals, can the voters trust their elected leaders, or is Pakistan on the brink of becoming a failed state?
My guest tonight was the youngest and first female foreign minister of Pakistan, when she was appointed in 2011, she says her country has nothing to apologise for.
Hina Rabbani Khar (archive): We feel that we are the ones who have reacted the most, we are the ones who have sacrificed the most, we are the ones who are fighting it on the ground on the daily basis.
Mehdi Hasan: I am Mehdi Hasan, and I have come here to the Oxford Union to go head-to-head with the former Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar. I'll ask her whose side Pakistanis really are on in the fight against terror, and whether democracy in her country is in danger.
Tonight I'll be also joined by Omar Waraich, an award-winning British journalist, and former Pakistan's correspondent for Time Magazine; Humeira Iqtidar, Pakistani academic, senior lector in South Asian politics in Kings college London, and author of Secularism Islamism; and Mosharraf Zaidi, a former adviser to the Pakistani foreign minister as well to the EU and the UN.
Ladies and gentleman please put your hands together for Hina Rabbani Khar
Mehdi VO: Hina Rabbani Khar was first elected to the Pakistan Parliament at 25. She was minister of state for finance and economic affairs for seven years under two successive governments, and was foreign minister between 2011 and 2013.
Mehdi Hasan: Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistan which was founded as a democracy 68 years ago, has been under military rule, military dictatorship for 33, of those 68 years, today the country is run by a democratic government, but isn't it true that the military are still running the shots behind the scenes?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Mehdi, it is absolutely true that in the case of Pakistan, unlike any other democratic dispensation the military has much larger role than typically the constitution of Pakistan would permit. And interestingly I don't know if you know this or not but this civilian made constitution, without any amendments has only been applicable in Pakistan for four years since 2010 and now, and before that between two years from 56 to 58.
Mehdi Hasan: What did you do as foreign minister to push back against the military, did you ever get general's ringing you up, telling you what line to take on this or that policy before you went on a foreign trip?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I think I was fiercely independent for anyone to call me, to tell me which line to take, but clearly on issues which I thought they were relevant, stakeholders I would always consult, I would love to engage, I would negotiate. On issues where I felt there were not relevant stakeholders, for instance trade with India, I don't think military was relevant, its not, none of their business
Mehdi Hasan: When Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in 2011, you were the de-facto foreign minister, but the US administration didn't call you first, didn't call President Zardari first, the first call they made was to the head of the Pakistani Army, General Kayani at the time. The US government knows who is running the show in Pakistan and they make their phone calls accordingly.
Hina Rabbani Khar: The US government has had a long history of immense fascination with the military of Pakistan, the US government ...
Mehdi Hasan: Because they're running the show.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Well because they propped them up, because Zia-ul Haq when he came in, Pakistan got the best possible military and civilian assistance ever possible. When [Pervez] Musharraf came in that was the largest military and civilian assistance that ever came to Pakistan. So the US government clearly has a fascination and a preference to deal with military regimes.
Mehdi Hasan: But when you were foreign minister, if you look at the human rights record during the Zardari time in office, it's clear the army wasn't under government control, they were allowed to operate pretty much with impunity, for example Human Rights Watch said in 2012 that Pakistan's government has failed to act against abuses by the Security and Intelligence Agencies which continued to allow extremist groups to attack religious minorities, the authorities did little to address attacks against journalists and committed serious abuses in counterterrorism operations.
When you were sent reports like this from Human Rights Watch, from Amnesty International and others, did you just throw them in the bin or did you try and take them seriously and did you investigate those abuses by the army?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I will tell you exactly what we did. In 2010 we created a judicial commission with three superior court judges to investigate this matter, in 2011 we re-established a second commission to investigate this matter , which resulted in the fact that today, from 2,800 missing persons which were reported to the second Commission we have 1,500 cases which have already been resolved, this was done by civilian government. I'll tell you another thing what was also done, no, no on this one.
Mehdi Hasan: How many generals, how many commanding officers were prosecuted?
Hina Rabbani Khar: You see, you are very interested in finding out what was the dynamics so.
Mehdi Hasan: Yes how many were prosecuted?
Hina Rabbani Khar: So let me just tell you how many were prosecuted after Abu Ghraib and after Guantanamo Bay, it's very difficult in most societies to be able to prosecute people who are supposed to be protecting the country, so the, the lines are very thin, there's a lot of grey area here.
Mehdi Hasan: So explain to our audience who are watching at home, around the world, here in the Oxford Union, can we still call it a democracy, can we still call it a democracy?
Hina Rabbani Khar: We absolutely can call it a democracy, because it is a democracy which is finding its roots, and it's a democracy which is finding at ground, its ground.
Mehdi Hasan: OK, well let's go to our panel of experts who are listening here in the Oxford Union, Omar Waraich you served as Time Magazine's Pakistan correspondent for six years, in your view, how democratic would you call Pakistan today and how influential today do you think the military still is?
Omar Waraich: Oh it's a fledgling democracy, so they're genuine efforts towards that, however the military remains pre-eminence, there's a pattern that happens which is a civilian government will be elected, they will try something out like to pursue an independent Foreign Policy in the first year, they get hit by political crisis, then what happens is that to guarantee their survival they enter a modus vivendi with the army and they say we will see the prerogatives that you wish to control.
Mehdi Hasan: So how do you break that cycle, can you break that cycle?
Omar Waraich: Well, you need two things to happen, one is there needs to be an absence of war, when there is war going on the army will claim a preeminent role, the other is to have competent civilian that produces economic growth. In Pakistan's history you've had neither.
Mehdi Hasan: And not even Hina's government?
Omar Waraich: Certainly not.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Thank you.
Mehdi Hasan: OK we'll come back to Hina in a moment. Mosharraf Zaidi, you actually were an advisor to the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, you were in government I think at the same time as Hina, do you feel the military were pushing you around at the time or did you feel that you had control over them?
Mosharraf Zaidi: I'm a lot more sort of positive about the experience, I think that there was some really, really big issues on which under the leadership of Foreign Minister Khar we were able to redefine the way that foreign policy's structured in Pakistan. There's a long history to the bitterness between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the redefinition and the repositioning of how Islamabad and Pindi relate to Afghanistan, that happened on, on Hina Rabbani Khar's watch and it happened not, not because the military was ready to jump in, the military frankly needed to be convinced.
Mehdi Hasan: Doctor Humeira Iqtidar you're a political scientist at Kings College London, author of a book on Islamist Parties in Pakistan, do you think the government Hina was part of did enough to reign in the military and subsequent governments, to hold them to account, she's talking about the constraints she was up against, what's your view?
Humeira Iqtidar: I think it's been quite a mixed record, but certainly for the Zardari regime which Hina was part of, the problem was that there was absolutely no clarity of policy, the war on terror that the General Musharraf's regime supported was actually something that the Zardari regime had absolutely no alternative to. You know it continued with similar policies, didn't question the war on terror, the fundamentals of the war on terror, the reasoning, the strategies the success of those strategies.
Mehdi Hasan: And that emboldened the military in your view?
Humeira Iqtidar: And that the war on terror has ultimately been most helpful for the military in Pakistan.
Mehdi Hasan: Hina, you lacked clarity and you lacked competence?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Well, maybe both, I would love to be much more competent and have much more clarity, but I would be, I would be very unhappy with myself if I'm told that we lacked clarity on the foreign policy front because I like to believe that we did humongous work on the foreign, on redirecting the foreign policy, we called it the regional pivot of Pakistan, because we believed we didn't need to have a great relationship with London or with Washington DC, but a great relationship with Kabul and Delhi.
After 35 years, no military government or civilian government in Pakistan had the guts to normalise trade with India. And we were told, as a policy that we will not solve the trade problem until we solve Kashmir, we changed that, do not underestimate the importance of that, our effigies were burned for heaven's sake.
Mehdi Hasan: The bar is not that high on effigies burning in Pakistan to be fair.
Hina Rabbani Khar: No, no, no, but that might be, that might be correct.
Mehdi Hasan: Just to deal with Humeira mentioned the so-called war on terror, following last year's pretty horrific attack on the school in Peshawar in which the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP killed 132 children, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said that Pakistan would no longer differentiate between good Taliban, i.e. those who fight for Pakistan's interests abroad, and bad Taliban, those attacking Pakistan at home.
Isn't that basically an admission that that's what had been happening in the past, including during your time in office that you guys backed the bad Taliban as well as the so-called 'good Taliban'? I think Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was slumbering away for the last five years, before he came into power, because clearly that is the distinctive feature of the policy that we were trying to run, and it is something which was recognised within the military quarters also.
And I have to give the military credit for being able to change that policy, because it was way deep in their veins, it was considered to be anyone who believed otherwise was a traitor to Pakistan, and we were able to change it, and please say what you may about President Zardari but do give him credit for the regional pivot and for the fact that the PPP came with a complete regional focus.
Mehdi Hasan: Was Hilary Clinton, the US secretary of state, your counterpart at the time, was she slumbering as well in 2011 when she told you to your face, that she had evidence that there had been, "communication between the Haqqani network, that brutal fighting group in Afghanistan and elements within the Pakistan government prior to the attack" by the Haqqani network on the US Embassy and NATO Headquarter in Kabul in September of 2011. How many times as foreign minister did you have to listen to allies of yours basically accuse you to your face that you're a state sponsor of terrorism?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Well much too many times I had to listen to that more than ...
Mehdi Hasan: And did you tell them they were all slumbering?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No, I did not tell them they were all slumbering, there were certain things which were, which, which had ...
Mehdi Hasan: True?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Which had waves of truth in them.
Mehdi Hasan: Waves of truth, what does that mean?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Yeah which, which were partially, which were partially relics of the past I believe which were superimposing on what the present was OK. I will tell you one thing, Pakistan did not have the ability Mehdi, to be able to take on every terror network within the region all at the same time.
Mehdi Hasan: No, I think no one's asking you to fight all of them but you didn't have to sponsor and fund them as well.
Hina Rabbani Khar: No, no and to, as far as sponsoring and funding them was concerned, clearly that I would like to believe that under our watch, that was not the policy direction at all.
Mehdi Hasan: So when the chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen told the Senate in September 2011 that extremist organisations serving as proxies of the government of Pakistan are attacking Afghan troops and civilians and US soldiers, the Haqqani network is a veritable arm of the ISI, was he slumbering too?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No, he was misguided OK, because I believe and I think history will prove us to be correct, that Pakistan was scapegoated fantastically for all the ills and the wrongs of the war in Afghanistan.
Mehdi Hasan: On drone strikes, what is your view of US drone strikes on Pakistani soil against Pakistani militant and Pakistani civilians, are you a supporter?
Hina Rabbani Khar: We said that drone strikes are counterproductive, what does counterproductive mean, it means that they are actually fuelling extremism, and assisting people to attract more people towards extremism. We said that they were against Pakistan's territorial integrity.
Mehdi Hasan: We is who, the Pakistani government?
Hina Rabbani Khar: The Pakistani government.
Mehdi Hasan: So why thanks to a US State Department cable do we hear the Pakistani Prime Minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, your then boss, saying in private, I don't care if they the Americans do drone strikes as long as they get the right people, we'll protest in the National Assembly and then we'll ignore it, how cynical, how two faced was your government, protesting in public against drone strikes but backing it in private?
Hina Rabbani Khar: But guess what Mehdi, I was the foreign minister. The prime minister never said this when I was in the room. Never.
Mehdi Hasan: What does that say to you about your status within the government?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No, I was pretty much in every important meeting, so this was ...
Mehdi Hasan: Apart from the one where he said 'I like drone strikes, let's do them'?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I was, I was foreign minister from 2011, March 2011, till the end of our term but what I'm saying is that I'm not, I'm not no going to, yeah, I probably was.
Mehdi Hasan: But you were a minister of finance in that government? So do you condemn your prime minister supporting drone strikes?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I'm not willing to believe that he would say a thing like this, I really am not because ...
Mehdi Hasan: So it was made up?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No, possibly it could be why not.
Mehdi Hasan: OK, so when President Zardari said to journalists, on the record in 2010 in Lahore, there are no differences between Pakistan and the US over any issue including drone attacks, how does that fit with what you were saying a few moments ago?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think what he was referring to was the fact that the US also believes that drone strikes are not a permanent solution. And they do, OK let me give you a statistics, for 47 people who were on the hit list what they call the high-value targets, between Yemen and Pakistan, the US, according to the most conservative reports killed hundred, 1,147 people, how is that what does that say to you about propelling extremism?
Mehdi Hasan: I agree with you, I'm saying to you I think drone strikes are bad; the problem is your government in private didn't seem to think they were bad?
Hina Rabbani Khar: What I'm saying is that.
Mehdi Hasan: The president when he talked to reporters, the president told Michael Hayden, CIA Director, President Zardari, collateral damage worries you Americans; it does not worry me in reference to drone strikes.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Not in the room, not in the room.
Mehdi Hasan: You weren't in the room?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I was not in the room.
Mehdi Hasan: So Zardari and Gillani, they take all these decisions but they don't tell you, the foreign minister?
Hina Rabbani Khar: What I'm saying is, is that I refuse to believe that.
Mehdi Hasan: And you go out into public say drones are bad while they're in the back going, drone, drone, drone.
Hina Rabbani Khar: What I'm saying is, what I'm saying is that it is ...
Applause for him, I have to.
Mehdi Hasan: I mean, explain to me how it works, explain the situation.
Hina Rabbani Khar: OK, what I'm saying is that it is not possible for me to believe that things change so much because of my presence in the room or not. So what I'm saying is that some of these things could have been misrepresented or misreported.
Mehdi Hasan: Humeira, misrepresented, misreported, what is your view on the relationship between the Pakistani government and drone strikes?
Humeira Iqtidar: I think if we take away the question of misrepresentation we're still left with the fact that in actual fact drones intensified erm during Musharraf's regime erm we have way fewer drones then during the erm, during the Zardari regime.
Hina Rabbani Khar: President Bush and President Obama had a very difficult, different perspective on drones, and President Zardari's time President Obama happened to be the President. And President Musharraf's time President Bush happened to be the President who believed in maybe troops on the ground, putting his people.
Mehdi Hasan: But President Zardari, your president could say no thanks we don't want these drones strikes.
Hina Rabbani Khar: You know we have a, we have a parliamentary resolution which was probably unprecedented in the history of Pakistan which clearly stipulated that no one in Pakistan, no one in Pakistan is authorised to give any acquiescence to drone strikes until unless the parliament ratifies it.
Mehdi Hasan: And yet leaked documents from the CIA in 2013 show that the ISI was helping the CIA pick targets for drone strikes in Pakistan.
Hina Rabbani Khar: This is, this is pre the parliamentary resolution and pre our government.
Mehdi Hasan: OK, let's go to Mosharraf Zaidi, just moving on from the wider issue of drone strikes that Humeira touches at, there is this constant accusation that Pakistan is playing a double game, on the one hand its saying we're with you on the war on terror, we're sacrificing our soldiers, we're fighting against the Taliban and other groups, on the other hand they're supporting those groups, they're turning a blind eye to what those groups are doing. How do you respond to that charge?
Mosharraf Zaidi: A country is supposed to fulfil its own interests, and pursue its own interests above and beyond any other countries interests.
So the issue, this whole concept of a double game comes from the standard, presupposed assumption, that somehow Pakistan's game should be to fulfil what people that live in Washington DC want. But Pakistan's game is not to fulfil.
Mehdi Hasan: No one forced you to be an ally of the United States and take $20bn from the US.
Mosharraf Zaidi: First of all it wasn't $20bn, second of all actually Pakistan was forced, because by, by the admission of the former President of Pakistan, the military dictator Musharraf, and by admission of US authorities themselves, they threatened to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age. The blame for drone strikes has to be, has to be on the party that's conducting the drone strikes not, not on the victims of the drone strikes.
Mehdi Hasan: And also the party that's helping them, if the party is indeed helping them.
Mosharraf Zaidi: Pakistan is a victim of drone strikes, not a perpetrator.
Mehdi Hasan: Not if, not if Pakistan is helping the US with those drone strikes, would you accept that?
Mosharraf Zaidi: I don't think there's enough proof that Pakistan has helped.
Mehdi Hasan: OK let's bring in Omar; you've heard what Mosharraf has said, and what's your response?
Omar Waraich: Well on the drone strikes I mean Pakistan could easily deny the airspace, and recently there was a TTP commander who was killed on the Afghan side with intelligence provided by the Pakistanis, so I mean that answers that case. And when it came to militants they targeted the ones that they, they fought the ones that they had to, they appeased the ones that they could, they ignored the ones that didn't touch them and they did and they discretely supported the ones who fought across their borders. This was part of a strategy to try and maximise influence in the region.
Mehdi Hasan: Did it work? Cause some people well blow back, you have the TTP now blowing stuff over Pakistan.
Omar Waraich: Oh the, the TTP certainly was blowback, it depends who what situation you are looking at and I think this is actually the reason why, yes you did try a regional pivot, but Pakistan remains massively isolated, internationally and regionally.
Hina Rabbani Khar: You know interestingly, one doesn't tire from hearing how much blood the world has given in terms of trying to reform Afghanistan, 3,500 or even less than that is the total number if ISAF soldiers who have lost their lives in that time period.
In Pakistan, 6,000 soldiers and policemen have lost their lives in the same period, I bet they were fighting people that they'd created themselves, I bet at the same time they were funding them, they were giving them arms and ammunition and money and at the same time they were fighting them.
Mehdi Hasan: Hold on, hold on you're conceding, you're conceding that the people who died fighting in the Pakistani armed forces were fighting people that they helped to create, you're conceding that?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I'm not at all conceding that, I'm saying how remarkably sadistic do you think we are to be able to even give us an argument like this, it's a strikingly evident which you are refusing to see Mehdi. Pakistan's job is to protect its own people before the United States of America.
Mehdi Hasan: And you're not doing that good a job of that are you, that's the problem.
Hina Rabbani Khar: What I'm saying is, no, what I'm saying is that it is obvious. No what I'm saying is.
Humeira Iqtidar: That's where we have failed and because the tribal areas, I mean statistics are after supposedly, approximately 4,000 people who have died, only 726 have been named, of those only about a 169 are alleged militants, they are disproportionately affecting civilians. As foreign minister you never took this up, the only issue that you did take up was of America, of American bombing.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I will, Humeira you were clearly not following me as foreign minister. For you to say that, no really, I'm not, I'm not going to take anything else because I believe I was a major factor ...
Humeira Iqtidar: But you said the official complaint you made ...
Hina Rabbani Khar: In ensuring that there was no double-facing on Pakistan's foreign policy, because I take myself seriously, and I take the trust and the responsibility of the people of Pakistan, that is put in me, as an elected member very seriously.
Mehdi Hasan: Let's stick with the subject of double facing the accusations that are made against your government, you were the de facto Foreign Minister during the US raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad in May 2011 in which he was killed. When you got the news that Bin Laden was killed, were you surprised, shocked even that he had been found in Pakistan? Were you, or was your reaction more like oh, oh, they found him, the place we kind of knew he was but didn't want anyone to know? Which one was it, what was your reaction on the morning?
Hina Rabbani Khar: It was completely, I think shocked would be underselling it also, I mean we went still. We didn't know what happened and we were, we went still, we didn't know how to react also. We went still.
Mehdi Hasan: Your own former Cabinet colleague, ex-Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar said in October that President Zardari and the head of the Pakistani Army then, General Kayani both knew that Bin Laden was in Pakistan. Did you know or were you not in the room?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No he was not in the room, he was not in the room.
Mehdi Hasan: The Defence Minister wasn't in the room?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No the Defence Minister, the fact is the defence minister was not in the room and I was in the room. That's a fact, and I can assure you the defence minister doesn't know the first thing about what, the former Defence Minister doesn't know the first thing that he's talking about.
Mehdi Hasan: About the military.
Hina Rabbani Khar: About this particular.
Omar Waraich: Why was he appointed defence minister?
Mehdi Hasan: It's slightly embarrassing when you say that the defence minister of your government didn't have a clue.
Omar Waraich: It's up to the government to appoint the defence minister.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Yes.
Omar Waraich: By appointing someone and this is a defence minister who said he found out about the raid, because his daughter called him from New York, that's how he found out. This government, to appoint this person and then argue that they were in control of policy. And they didn't give the army any room is just risible.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Can I just respond to that?
Mehdi Hasan: OK please do, briefly and then deal with ...
Hina Rabbani Khar: Omar, I completely agree with you on this one, the defence minister in Pakistan is the most ineffective minister who knows nothing about the defence, or the foreign policy of Pakistan, that is a fact, I'm not going to deny that. That is a fact.
Mehdi Hasan: That is my next guest on this show. And I'm going to open with that intro.
(AUDIENCE APPLAUSE AND LAUGHING)
Mehdi Hasan: Just deal with the Bin Laden point. So you are saying nobody in the government had a clue about Bin Laden being in Pakistan, even though he was in a military town, [yeah], in a purpose built compound, down the road from a military academy, [OK] and the military had no clue he was there. Seriously.
Hina Rabbani Khar: OK, so the people in the room, in this room I can tell you, President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, myself as the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Secretary Foreign Affairs, Military Chief, ISI Chief, 6 people in the room right, either all of them had to be fantastic actors who must get job in Hollywood or at least Bollywood, because they all made a great pretence of being still and shocked like I explained to you, and not knowing how to react, if we knew how to react would we give a silly statement like we did, because we didn't know how to react, we gave a silly statement out which we had to almost retract the next day.
Mehdi Hasan: So when US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta told Congress at the time, in May 2011 that Pakistan was either involved or incompetent in terms of Bin Laden's whereabouts, I'm guessing you're going to go with incompetent?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Guilty for being incompetent, yeah.
Mehdi Hasan: OK, and when Cyril Almeida the Pakistani journalist said in a piece at the time, if we didn't know Bin Laden was in Abbottabad we are a failed state, if we did know we are a rogue state.
Hina Rabbani Khar: If the United States of America could not find where Osama Bin Laden is, does that make it a rogue state or a failed state? I think we rush too quickly to call Pakistan, in the likes of Pakistan a failed state, Pakistan has suffered because of regional play.
Mehdi Hasan: No, if Bin Laden was living down the road from the Pentagon, I think we would judge the United States.
Hina Rabbani Khar: No you may, you might as well, the fact of the matter is that there was a lot of intelligence agencies which were around, OK. So if they didn't know and we didn't know we were all on the same page, we were all on the same yeah.
Mehdi Hasan: One last question before we have to take a break: Perceptually, do you accept that people see Pakistan in a pretty bad way when it comes to the subject of political violence, extremism, terrorism whatever you call it?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think many Pakistanis accept that, many Pakistanis see Pakistan at a pretty bad place, but that all happened after 1979, Pakistan was at a very good place, when we put in extremism into the thought process into the minds and bodies of Pakistanis, [OK], trained them to be Mujahideen, and then said, OK done with it, extremism thought, take out, where was the exit strategy? What the hell man, I mean what the ... really.
Mehdi Hasan: We're going to take a break there. In Part Two we're going to be back in Head to Head we're going to be talking to Hina Rabbani Khar about the intractable conflict in Kashmir, we're going to hear more from our panel of experts and we're going to hear from our audience here in the Oxford Union, that's after the break.
Mehdi Hasan: Welcome back to Part two of Head to Head on Al Jazeera, we've been talking about Pakistan with the country's former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who's here with me in the Oxford Union. We've been talking about drone strikes, the role of the military, the raid on Bin Laden ...
Let's talk about Kashmir. The former President of Pakistan General Musharraf once said, "Kashmir runs in our blood and we will never budge an inch on it."
Recently General Raheel Sharif, the head of the Pakistani army has called Kashmir's Pakistan's jugular vein. Hasn't this obsession with Kashmir and this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric, done more harm than good to Pakistan over the past seven decades? Especially in recent years?
Hina Rabbani Khar: OK Mehdi, I don't think you can underestimate or take away the importance of Kashmir. Or portray it as a figment of Pakistan's imagination.
Oh crazy Pakistanis, going crazy over Kashmir. OK. We have resolution 47 of the Security Council of the UN, to prove on the request of the Indian government who went to the Security Council, the security council asked for a certain number of things to be done. Which included the holding of the freplar ... site. (Mehdi interrupts here "in the late 1940s"). Which would determine, which would determine.
Yes it was in 1948 to be precise, and then there was another resolution in 1950, and then there was another one. And this has been a constant theme right.
Mehdi Hasan: Would you agree that the military's role in Kashmir policy, especially in terms of backing various insurgent groups, has been a very violent insurgency in terms of killing tens of thousands of people since the late 1980s. Do you think that this has been a way for the military to control foreign and defence policy in Pakistan, subvert it even? Have a bloated budget way beyond what really it should have?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Pretty much, a lot of academic work, and academic work even by Indians proved that the Kashmir insurgency in some ways, was instigated by the government of India more than by Pakistan. That they made it happen.
Mehdi Hasan: Yeah, but deal with my specific point about the Pakistani military since over the last 25 years. Has used ... (overlaps Hina).
Hina Rabbani Khar: The Pakistani military will obviously have a very different view on any issue which has to do with territory than a politician. Right. Because we would try to find a non-military way to deal the situation and that's why within the constitution the military has a certain role, and the parliament has a certain role. And the executive has a certain role.
Mehdi Hasan: But even non-militarily, there is certain provocative things that you can do. When you went to India yourself in 2011 as foreign minister. You kicked off your visit not by meeting your Indian counterpart or meeting with the elected Indian government, but first by meeting with Kashmiri separatists groups.
Hina Rabbani Khar: And what's the harm in that? ... (interrupted by Mehdi)
Mehdi Hasan: You don't think that Pakistani foreign ministers meeting with separatist groups before they meet their counterparts is provocative at all?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Absolutely not. They are ... (interrupted by Mehdi)
Mehdi Hasan: You didn't know ... You were shocked when people were upset when you arrived.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Absolutely not. They are part of the dialogue process.
Mehdi Hasan: Why is Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned group in Pakistan and internationally, leader of the now re-Jama'at-ud-Da'wah. He has a $10m bounty on his head.
Mehdi Hasan: He's on the UN and the US terrorist watch lists. And yet lives pretty normal, free, middle-class life in the city of Lahore. He holds public meetings. He goes on TV. How does that work?
Hina Rabbani Khar: As far at Illiji is concerned, believe me, we had zero love lost concerned for them. And as for Hafiz so, I don't think has anything ... (interrupted by Mehdi).
Mehdi Hasan: With respect can I just say that what I believe is irrelevant. Hafiz. This man is wandering around a free man, saying some outrageous things. Doing press conferences. He's got police protection. Why?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think he's been tried. I don't think that ... (interrupted)
Mehdi Hasan: But he's a free man right now in Lahore.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Clearly the courts let him go.
Mehdi Hasan: Why?
Hina Rabbani Khar: The judiciary in Pakistan is free. And our system is very similar to that of India. So please when you, if you are going to ...
Mehdi Hasan: (Interrupting) You have plenty of anti-terror laws that allows you to round up hundreds of people, all the time. Amnesty says there are several hundred people, detained without charge in Pakistan. Many people would say would detain lots of people you don't like. But this guy you don't detain and they'll draw their own conclusions from that.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Listen, I'm just going to say that Hafiz Saeed is not somebody I am willing to protect in anyway. On this show or elsewhere. (interrupted by Mehdi) So I really want ...
Mehdi Hasan: But when you were in government you did not lock him up.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I did absolutely try my absolute level best to make sure that he was not somebody that the state of Pakistan associated with any which way. And I think ...
Mehdi Hasan: You were the foreign minister in 2008 when the Mumbai attacks happened.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I was not ...
Mehdi Hasan: Pakistan has been accused of sponsoring those attacks. You were foreign minister in 2011 when American citizen David Headley pleaded guilty to helping militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba carry out those attacks which killed 160 people.
He testified that Lashkar quote operated under the umbrella of the ISI and co-ordinated with each other, the ISI provided assistance to Lashkar financial, military, moral. When you heard him say that did you kick start an investigation into the ISI to see if those claims were true?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think we were briefed as to the credibility of those claims, and he was considered to be a double, triple type of an agent, sort of a person.
Mehdi Hasan: Is that more of a reason to investigate his claims?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Who had very little credibility ...
Mehdi Hasan: You said you got briefed – that's not an investigation. They told you we're fine. (Speaking over each other).
Hina Rabbani Khar: The briefing is what we asked for, yup.
Mehdi Hasan: And they just said we didn't do it and you just said that's fine.
Hina Rabbani Khar: As I said, we, I think we directed a change of policy, which is showing. You are not accepting that argument ... (Speaking over each other).
Mehdi Hasan: I am asking you, did you hold anyone accountable for the Mumbai attack?
Hina Rabbani Khar: But you are not accepting that argument. (laughs)
Mehdi Hasan: I am asking did you hold anyone accountable for the Mumbai attacks?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I am saying that we tried to push as much as is possible. I still believe today, I believed at that time that it was in Pakistan's best interests to get a resolution to the Mumbai trial. It was in our best interest.
Mehdi Hasan: It took a long time.
Hina Rabbani Khar: If I can remind you of the fact that the Samjhauta Express trials are still ongoing in India. Them and us have a very similar judicial process. So, unfortunately, we cannot kick start or push judicial processes when judiciaries are independent.
Mehdi Hasan: My point was that you want to bend laws to arrest and detain people you do it all the time. That was my point ...
Hina Rabbani Khar: No we go to the Parliament. Please don't say that Mehdi, I would hold you accountable for that. We go to the Parliament ...
Mehdi Hasan: Hold me accountable, but not the ISI!
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I don't want to laugh this matter away. Let me explain.
Mehdi Hasan: Please do, please do.
Hina Rabbani Khar: (Overlapping each other) The difference between Pakistan of the 1970s or six.. 80s when military regimes were there. Was that they military did not need to get laws passed through Parliament to get military laws correspond
Mehdi Hasan: But they have those powers ... Now they have those powers.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Now they have to go to Parliament. That is accepting ...
Mehdi Hasan: No, that's not true. Under the protection of Pakistan act and under the action in aid of civil power regulations. The military has the power to round up people they suspect in counterterror operations.
Hina Rabbani Khar: And they have to go to Parliament to get ratification from ...
Mehdi Hasan: And they didn't round up Hafiz Muhammad Saeed is my point. They didn't round up lots of other people.
Hina Rabbani Khar: And that is something that needs to be ...
Mehdi Hasan: That is only point I am making about legal processes. One last question before I go to our panel. President Zadari said in 2011, 35,000 Pakistanis have been killed in Militant attacks. Many of them a lot of people would say by fighters coming home from Kashmir in blowback. People who were armed, trained radicalised in Kashmir. They came home and brought that expertise, that ideology, that violence with them. Is that a point you would share?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I would share it on the other border, and I think that you are selectively choosing to use it on eastern border, whereas the reality was it was the western border. It was the arms and ammunition and the money which had come from all over the world. Which had gone to train people to go and fight ...
Mehdi Hasan: So only from Afghanistan blowback, none from Kashmir.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Absolutely!
Mehdi Hasan: OK let's put that to, lets put that to ...
Hina Rabbani Khar: From Kashmir I have already said it was our policy to ensure that there was nobody, no instigation on that end, because we were trying to pursue the path of negations.
Mehdi Hasan: Fine. Let's put that question to our panel. Omar Wairach you served as Time magazine's Pakistani correspondent for six years blow back from Kashmir. Do you believe that there has been blow back from Kashmir to Pakistan?
Omar Waraich: Oh there has certainly been groups and militants who have fought in Kashmir and then subsequently fought inside Pakistan. But as documented people from J, JM from HuJI, from these other groups. So you can find them, they've been Pakistan's killer list, they've been on Pakistan's most wanted list. So that yeah that point ...
Mehdi Hasan: So in terms of Hina's point about genuinely wanting to resolve it bi-laterally through trade, where, how would you divide up responsibility?
Omar Waraich: Well it's, it's an intractable problem, because Pakistan wants to raise the Kashmir issue because it embarrasses India, Pakistan can assert some moral authority over India in that way. But the problem is that Pakistan is so isolated, it's the only country that is actually saying this. They can't get anyone else on board. By contrast the Indians know that this is an inconvenience, a source of embarrassment, but they also know that they're economically strong enough to ignore Pakistan, and to make sure that other people ignore Pakistan.
Mehdi Hasan: Mosharraf, Mosharraf Zaidi you were an adviser to the Pakistani foreign ministry. Omar says that Pakistan has been trying to use Kashmir to embarrass India. And yet India has managed to shrug it off. I'm guessing that you are disagreeing with that analysis?
Mosharraf Zaidi: The problem with Kashmir is India not Pakistan. It's if, even if we accept the Indian claims over Kashmir.
Particularly if we accept the Indian claims over Kashmir, then it's entirely an Indian problem to solve. Yes, Pakistan made some very, very poor choices in supporting various militant groups, at a certain point in time especially during the 90s. But other than that blemish, the record that Pakistan has in Kashmir is actually something that as a Pakistani, I'm proud of. I'm proud of the fact that I belong to a country that stands up for people's rights, particularly when it comes to Kashmir. Because that's the one place that nobody else is willing to stand up. Not the British, not the Americans, not the Saudis, not the Iranians, not the Burmese or the Afghans – only the Pakistanis.
Mehdi Hasan: Let me put that point to Dr Humeira Iqtidar, professor of political science at Kings College author of a book on Islamist parties in Pakistan. Do you believe that Pakistan's role in Kashmir has been a wholly positive one? On the support of oppressed peoples?
Humeira Iqtidar: At the popular level there is immense support for the Kashmir issue and of course it is an issue that, in which the Indian government has played a very reprehensible role as well. My concern has been and particularly with regard to the Zadari regime that with actually, without, since they did not question the war on terror narrative, since they let the military play out its er responses to the war on terror. Since they actually led to a militarisation of all policy in that way. They've handed Kashmir on a platter to India. Because now every time we have a conversation about Kashmir, India says oh but you're country is a terrorist country. And you need to actually fix terrorism before ...
Mehdi Hasan: Before, before I let Hina Rabbani Khar respond to that very briefly, do you believe the Pakistani military has no interest in a solution for Kashmir for as long as it is going on it get resources, it gets status, it gets resources, it gets to control policy. Do you share that?
Humeira Iqtidar: I think the Pakistani army is in a slightly complicated situation with that, because on the one hand they've motivated generations of soldiers with the whole question of Kashmir and independence for Kashmir etc. And at the same we see that the people of Kashmir are not necessarily now looking to join with Pakistan any more ...
Mehdi Hasan: Now let me put that specific point. The problem is that Kashmiris are not exactly massive fans of your country. A poll in 2010 found that only 50 percent of Pakistan-administered Kashmir want to be part of Pakistan. Only two percent of the people in Indian-administered Kashmir, want to be part of Pakistan.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I would be very happy ... I would be very happy if the Kashmiri people get the choice to choose between India, Pakistan or an independent state.
Mehdi Hasan: So you would have an independence question
Hina Rabbani Khar: I would be very happy if they choose an independent state or to go with India. I just feel that ...
Mehdi Hasan: Was that policy under your government ... just to clarify? Was that policy ... (speaking over each other)
Hina Rabbani Khar: I just feel they are owed ... That is absolutely the policy. That is absolutely the (interrupted) ...
Mehdi Hasan: Three questions – India, Pakistan, independence?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Exactly.
Mehdi Hasan: Just before I go to the audience, just clarify for me and explain to me. Is the current position of the Pakistani government to have a referendum in Kashmir with three questions on, on the ballot paper?
Hina Rabbani Khar: What I am saying is that Pakistan is committed to the Kashmiri people getting the right to choose. That is, that is absolute ...
Mehdi Hasan: Between India, Pakistan and independence. (Talking over Hina) That is the policy of the government?
Hina Rabbani Khar: That is what the US ... We are completely committed to the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Omar Wairach: Which doesn't have a third question. (Interrupting). It doesn't have a third question.
Mehdi Hasan: That's what I'm wondering.
Hina Rabbani Khar: In India or Pakistan.
Mehdi Hasan: In India or Pakistan. So you've introduced a new option.
Hina Rabbani Khar: That's not part of the resolution but what I'm saying is as part of the Kashmiri people are concerned they have ...
Mehdi Hasan: There should be three questions. Was that your view when you were in office ...
Hina Rabbani Khar: That is absolutely my view ...
Mehdi Hasan: OK let's go to our audience who have been waiting very patiently here at the Oxford Union. Let's just go to the lady here third row in the front. Here yes.
Participant 1: Your party BPP champions democracy but fails to in substance implemented even within your own party. One Bhutto follows the next. You yourself are from a political family. How do you expect there to be meaningful change in the country if the people in charge of that change got there because of who they are related to rather than what they've done for the country?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I don't think that you can single Pakistan in that Hilary Clinton will be following President Bill Clinton. There are many many examples all over the world. And I ...
Mehdi Hasan: To be fair to Hilary Clinton she served as a senator and secretary of state. What did Bilawal Bhutto do before he was put in charge of the party? I think he was.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I am going to ...
Mehdi Hasan: I believe he was a University student at the time. In this great town.
Hina Rabbani Khar: No in Pakistan, his mother is right there
Mehdi Hasan: Is that why you got the job? (laughter)
Hina Rabbani Khar: ... staring back at us. I think clearly the fact of the matter is in Pakistan and in all developing countries it does matter where you were born OK.
I have been born to a privileged background and I will not take that away from the fact that oh yes I have built every step of the way here. I got here because I was the daughter of a father who was already a politician. That is the fact. That is the reality. However we are changing that by giving more opportunity to people who maybe are not as privileged as I have been right? And by institutionalising those changes for instance in Parliament today, there are women who are nominated to political parties and many women from middle-class backgrounds, even lower middle-class backgrounds make it to Parliament. So they can institutionalise those changes. So Pakistan, you know, don't judge Pakistan for where it is today, judge Pakistan for where it is going.
Mehdi Hasan: Just on Bilawal Bhutto when he was appointed to run the party. He was a university undergraduate. What was your reaction when you heard that news? Where you still like you were when you heard the Bin Laden news?
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I was not still at all.
Mehdi Hasan: Where you shocked?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Not at all. I think it was very expected.
Mehdi Hasan: You thought our great leader, I defer to this boy.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think it was the most expected thing to do. It was the most expected. I am being honest with you. It was the most expected thing to do. The Pakistan People Party ...
Mehdi Hasan: It's depressing isn't it?
Hina Rabbani Khar: ... rides on the Bhutto name, that's a fact.
Mehdi Hasan: OK let's go back to the audience. Let's go here to the gentleman in the front row.
Participant 2: Hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan have been killed simply on grounds of faith whether it's in their mosques, their homes or their places of business?
How can Pakistan inculcate a culture of tolerance when your own constitution and laws explicitly target Ahmadi Muslims and making it a crime punishable by three years imprisonment, or by death under the blasphemy laws for an Ahmadi to call themselves a Muslim? Isn't it time Pakistan repealed these laws, and ended its state sponsored persecution of Ahmadi?
Hina Rabbani Khar: OK. I am embarrassed to be a Pakistani when I remember the fact that the white in our flag represents the right of minorities and Muhammad Ali Jinnah even said before August 1947 you are allowed to go to your mosque, you are allowed to go to ...
It is not the business of state he said to question your religion. I'm embarrassed that we've done to minorities what we've done in Pakistan. I will accept it.
Mehdi Hasan: Hasan: So just to be clear in terms of policy levels, things like having to go to the passport office and declare that they are a non-Muslim. That's an outrage is it not?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think that is completely unrequired. That's my personal view.
Mehdi Hasan: OK let's go back to the audience. Gentlemen here in the second row in the glasses.
Participant 3: Hi, I'm David from Index on Censorship. The Pakistani supreme courts recently called for reform of the blasphemy laws. We welcome this first step given the way in which the law was used disproportionately against non-Muslims and used to fulfil personal vendettas and the way it encourages extra-judicial punishment including killings. But, isn't it about time that Pakistan altogether abolished the law that is both counterproductive and wholly inconsistent with the basic rights of free expression, freedom of religion, liberty of conscience?
Hina Rabbani Khar: OK can I correct your facts before I respond to that? It is not disproportionately bent towards minorities. And I'll give you a simple fact. Apparently in the period of two years when I was in government like two, two years back, there were about 300 cases under the blasphemy law, which were put there. Out of that there were nine or 10 that were against minorities and the rest of them were apparently against Muslims. And there is not a single person within Pakistan who has been punished under blasphemy law OK. So the blasphemy law ... I am not going to try to justify blasphemy law ...
Omar Wairach: But your colleagues were murdered
Hina Rabbani Khar: Sorry?
Omar Wairach: Your colleagues were murdered.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Yes.
Omar Wairach: Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti both assassinated ...
Mehdi Hasan: Hasan: They were "punished" ...
Omar Wairach: ...and your government did nothing.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Yes. At that time our government believed that it was not the time to propagate this issue further because we could not get any results.
OK, now I'm just telling you I feel that in this year 2015 the supreme court judgement on that particular issue it basically vindicates the stance that we took.
Mehdi Hasan: Why didn't you change the law?
Hina Rabbani Khar: You during Musharraf's regime, during Musharraf's time there was a real effort to try and change the law, there was huge resistance against it OK, and they tanked, we tanked, right. That's again a reality. We need to get Pakistan out of this atmosphere of extremist thought and people fighting each other ...create the circumstances.
Mehdi Hasan: Is the reason?..
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think this will be a natural step for Pakistan to take.
Mehdi Hasan: I want to get back to the audience very quickly. This is a genuine question. Was it because you feared for your life? A lot of politicians saw what happened to Salmaan Taseer and thought, I'm not going down that road.
Hina Rabbani Khar: I don't think it was so much that I feared being killed
Mehdi Hasan: High-profile people were being killed.
Hina Rabbani Khar: No no I'm talking about the Musharraf time ...
Mehdi Hasan: I'm talking about the Salmaan Taseer.
Hina Rabbani Khar: At that time people were scared for their lives. People were being killed, right, left and centre.
Mehdi Hasan: Including you?
Hina Rabbani Khar: Everybody was scared for their lives
Mehdi Hasan: We need to get back to the audience and get some more audience questions back in. Let's go to the gentlemen here.
Participant 4: I just had a question about Afghanistan. Does Pakistan have any interest in seeing a stable democratic Afghanistan? And do Pakistan's leaders have any vested interest in the continuation of the global war on terror?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I think it's the wrong question to ask. I mean Pakistan is probably the country which is the most affected because of instability war and strife in Afghanistan. Whatever happens in Afghanistan within minutes, within seconds, permeates to the borders and then enters into our country. So we have zero interest in strife in Afghanistan. And ...
Mehdi Hasan: We must try and get some more questions in from the audience ... and shorter answers. Lady here:
Participant 5: In February 2015 General Musharraf admitted to Guardian that during the Karzai's regime ... Musharraf's government was working against Afghanistan and ordered interservice intelligence to train the Taliban and undermine Afghan governments. The question is why the controversial policy of love and hatred towards Afghanistan?
Hina Rabbani Khar: I would not believe that General Musharraf is dumb enough to say something like that on record even if he was doing it. So I cannot respond to that.
Participant 5: He did.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Well then he is. Why would I explain anything?
Mehdi Hasan: Dumb or dishonest?
Omar Wairach: You were in his government.
Hina Rabbani Khar: No I was not clearly not anywhere close to the foreign policy or the Security Council ...
Mehdi Hasan: Come on every time there's a difficult question you're either in the room or not in the room. Depending on how difficult the question is. Let's go there that lady there has been waiting. Yes you with the glasses.
Participant 6: My name is Primarna Nasad and I met you in 2012 in Islamabad and I asked you three questions. Afterward ISI officers approached me and asked me why I had asked you those questions. So I hope this time I won't be approached by anyone. So my question is you said that and you say you don't justify civilian deaths but recently Akhtar Mansoor the leader of the Taliban, the Afghan Taliban has been injured and is being treated in a hospital in Pakistan. Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan, Jalaluddin Haqqani is in Pakistan. Mullah Omar died in Pakistan. So how can you justify civilian deaths?
Hina Rabbani Khar: There are three million Afghans who are living in Pakistan. Pakistan has tried very hard to put in a biometric system in place. Pakistan has tried very hard to fence the border. Pakistan put 3, 100 and 96 or even of that number 391 border posts to check the movement of Pakistanis and Afghanistanis. What does Afghanistan do? Put 109 border posts. So we find it very hard to convince our Afghan friends that it is in our interests, both of our interests to ensure that this border is manned properly. So you stop blaming us for whatever happens in your country. They have refused to do that! And stop blaming us! Stop blaming us. Not taking this blame.
Mehdi Hasan: OK this gentlemen here has been waiting her for a while.
Participant 7: That's affected me and my family at a very personal level is the systematic and ongoing genocide of Shia Muslims inside of Pakistan. In July 2013 there was an interview where you said that your government had a deep and abiding commitment to find those responsible and to prevent those going forward. So can I ask what you specifically have done when you were in government to prevent those attacks and why those have been, those actions were so unsuccessful because we still see increasing attacks and genocide.
Hina Rabbani Khar: Again I am not going to justify that. That is part of in some ways a co-related to the minorities. Because we have created this, this is the mainstream Sunni and Muslim and everybody else is a minority in some ways OK, and we feel that. What I'm saying is that past policies in previous times have created this atmosphere where people are free to kill right? We are trying to ...
Mehdi Hasan: That's true past governments have done that. He raised your government between 2011 and 2013 more than a thousand Shias where killed in Pakistan that is when you were foreign minister. What practical steps did you take to say were going to protect the minorities that's being killed?
Hina Rabbani Khar: You know we did try our best to our best to give as much security, because that's what you can do. These are bad root, deep rooted problems which cannot be done away with in days or months or even years. You know I believe that what is happening in Pakistan, what has started happening in Pakistan ten years back in terms of ...
Mehdi Hasan: You have this huge military which is fighting in all sorts of places but you can't protect your people at home. Isn't that a massive failing?
Mosharraf Zaidi: The relentless killing of Shias that has gone on for a long time in Pakistan has suffered a massive sort of blow repeatedly over the last six months ... anti-Shia militants and terrorists have been killed in police encounters on Pakistan more than once. So there's no question is that there is blowback against those policies. But the point is these issues are going to take a long time to resolve.
Mehdi Hasan: Let's go to the lady there. Who's waiting there yes you?
Who's at the top waiting for a microphone?
Participant 8: My question is related to the army's interference in the Pakistani governance. It's a very basic thing. When will Pakistan be free from the interference in governance and become a credible nation for its self, for its neighbours and for the rest of the world?
Hina Rabbani Khar: When Pakistan has had longer than eight years as I said under constitutional rule. Pakistan is on its way to do that you have to give this country time. I am the first to accept that Pakistan has suffered greatly because of these constant military takeovers. We haven't had a run of constitution which goes even into a decade. We are a very, very young nation. Democratically we are tiny, we are puny we an infant. Give us time.
Mehdi Hasan: OK let's take the question here from this gentleman here.
Participant 9: My name is Isran Oluch and I'm from Balochistan. In a decade over 1,400 Baluch people have become the victim of enforced disappearance. With journalists, intellectuals, students. Bodies being dumped on the roadside and my question is are we to believe that your government was complicit in the atrocities or you are just adopted silence on those atrocities, which is it?
Hina Rabbani Khar: In 2008 when the government came into power was President Zardari announces ceasefire that lasts six months so clearly we are complicit. In 2010 the first broad clemency for anyone who wants to come forward for dialogue. I have no reason to doubt what you are saying but 16,000 doesn't look like a correct number because the commission which was formed took 1800 persons or you know close to that, and out of that unsolved cases. Which was taken to the commission is 187 today as we stand.
Mehdi Hasan: OK last question gentlemen here. Yes in the white shirt.
Participant 10: Hi I'm a Kashmiri from India, however. How are you planning to bring peace to Kashmir when considering again Kashmiris they just don't want to be with India or Pakistan?
Hina Rabbani Khar: We just want them to have the right to choose. Get Prime Minister Modi to agree to that. I will get Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to agree to the same.
Mehdi Hasan: On that perhaps optimistic note depending which angle you look at it. We are going to have to leave it there. Hina Rabbani Khar thank you for joining me on Head to Head, thanks to our panel and audience here in the Oxford Union. Head to Head will be back next week and we'll be talking about India which I'm sure Hina Rabbani Khar will be pleased to hear. We'll be talking about India on Head to Head next week so do join the programme again then. Goodnight.
Source: Al Jazeera