tv [untitled] CSPAN June 29, 2009 12:00am-12:30am EDT
and live among the people. said decide how she responded you are still married so it worked. but can you tell us more the background of this terrific narrative of what pakistan is really like it? the people, the smells, the field in the air took me back. >> guest: thanks. right at the time i was finishing graduate school in the summer 2005 i received a fellowship from the current world affairs which is a foundation funded by the crane foundation that you see the credo on toilets and they go on and we had major problems getting into iran i said i do not know anything about pakistan but it seems like a fascinating and dynamic country. they sent me their two years the only instructions go there, do not come home will
learn and to do and write about what you see. isi can handle that so to make it more complicated i left on valentine's day february 2006 for their all the protests over the blasphemous cartoons was going on and i was frightened i would literally walk off the airplane and i would be ripped apart. it was a fantastic two years. and that is the basis of the book and how we got there to begin with. >> host: was struck me about the book, i read both as a reader and writer myself for about it is a very mature book. it is astonishingly objective. and may have been written by a 40 or 45 year-old except for the fact you are more energetic. you tell the story well and clean but from that you seem to have a gift of establishing
not sympathy but empathy with a very dangerous people in fact, that kind of people that killed daniel pearl and we will talk more about that later but first i'd like you to talk about pakistan itself. and has so much in the headlines with a remarkably timely book, what do think americans don't know about pakistan? can you give a feel for the country? >> the do not understand the dynamism, from the 1933 treatise written by a young indian muslim before the accretion of pakistan "to live or to perish forever" the title of the trade is is now or in our -- now or never are we teeeleven reunited in the head to conjoined into a single muslim state along with bangladesh on the eastern wing.
in the same treatise he proposed these five provinces it becomes pakistan's of this is the acra dam -- acronym it also means land of the pure. so the very basis is that it is to be an ethnic amalgamation to bring to gather all of these various peoples that are united by one thing only which was is lomb. >> host: the obvious question is that a sufficient basis for a stay? my own time and pakistan and when you cross the river that by sects pakistan north and south you transition between two civilization spread of the west is the look of a shove even the bland taste of food
then you cross but in islamabad but to say nothing of lahore that culture is more vivid but does pakistan work? >> it does. i am not of the chicken little school that thinks it is always on the verge of collapse. is somehow has persevered negative 1971 that it lost half of it but it was geographically 10 untenable to begin with but it works as far as it moves ahead. it is still grappling with for you travel around pakistan and it does divide the civilizations but u.s. the pakistani and various parts how did they identify themselves? rarely if ever as pakistani first. it is their ethnic identity or
tribal identity then muslim than pakistani. so they are tears of identity so in that sense b.a.t of pakistan has never really taken root among the population. >> host: and get bangladesh and spun off in 71 but if you look at india which just finished one month of on thence location eight -- elections except that some emergency rule it has never been interrupted or had a military to. it has worked but pakistan has had four military coups, disrupted elections, what is the difference? vigneault government and pakistan has edible ever fell its term. no institution has taken root of the politics of u.s. relations with pakistan has been based on personality
proposed 9/11 the entire model was put on president musharraf at the expense of civil institutions of you see the country once those institutions to develop. from pakistan is the only country and the world where tens of thousands of people come out to protest and demand a rule of law that is very unique overlooked, compared to india, it is hard to say exactly how you differentiates the cultures but there is something very distinct when you cross the border you speak the same language and my wife and i traveled from lahore and we saw the fancies ceremony, the goose stepping. >> their british legacy. [laughter] but as you cross the border you're leaving in nobody is coming and everybody is stern, a gruff, stamping your
pc and flipping through a very judiciously and then you get to india and everybody is all smiles. how do you explain that geography? just a matter of 10 feet in the difference of the border guards 10 vermette? i never got to it but there is something distinctly different in the culture. >> of like to come back to the complexity of is lawn and pakistan but first want to get your book. apart of what the readers learn of the reality of everyday life and the complexity behind it, they are great stories but the u.n. there it is objective and with no ax to grind and gets you are driven out almost literally buy the intelligence services with a bit of paranoia and then you managed to go back and get to that
second time you had to leave under a very real sense of danger with the black and forces at pakistan at work at it is a great stories but your credit that you maintained conductivity per but it is not liberal or conservative it is just the fax. but the stories are terrific one that captured me is the we were able to build the personal empathy or relationship with at basically the religious mafia boss who would die violently in macy's to standoff. talked of how that worked. >> i promise my parents and my wife and i would not get involved in the jihadi is. that is the pledges so i spent one and a half months and then i said i feel like i am skirting around the issue i
need to start working my way into this part of the impression that i was had 81 to understand jihadi you need to be an karachi or the border area little did i know there is a mosque right across town in islamabad called the red moscow islamabad is an incredibly dull place. no night life. one friend called it low self-esteem abad. it was run by a charismatic said the brothers and the youngest ran the media operations while the other ran the religious side. i needed introduction to dead-end and a guy who introduced may actually was the same individual, a very close friend of osama bin laden and the person. >> host: let me interrupt.
you are talking to someone who is a close friend of osama bin laden your brother is fighting afghanistan or in iraq in the marine corps uniform and your father is work is in the u.s. >> yes. a broad made to a moral and pass more than once like what you said you have two of the pfizer you'll never be allowed and. you have to show a sincere interest they understand when someone is trying to come in and get a quote. i was able to successfully convey i was in seriously interested in their agreements with the pakistani state. this individual was very close with osama, a former pilot in the pakistani air force. he would be the introduction
to gazi he was a checkered past with the person to be introduced to the sheik that was the head honcho of this jihadi group that daniel pearl tried to me when he was abducted. he said of pearl i have talked to him and he said he will not meet you. end of issue. as he says to me i will go talk to gazi by say gazi is off limits i do not want to hear you're going behind my back because i told daniel pearl this and you saw what happened. i said jack plays. this is the introduction by about four sure to 20 will be way nestor at -- nastier and scarier but it turns out gazi looks and behavior in many ways like the jerry garcia big beard, long curls, round spectacles, and very jovial and easy to laugh and very,
very open and did not have anything to hide. very open with his relationship with various jihadi group provided not know of the new my family background but it nonetheless he opened up that was the basis for the second half of the book which is my foray into jihad the camps and different groups it was all based on the relationship with gazi. >> host: there are several sections we read the one on the red moscow and then talk about how what ended? >> guest: i met gazi half a dozen times and the early part of 2007 is when gazi had female students that took over a childrens' library this is their response to the government destroying mosques in islamabad so here it is his first quote a journalist once asked now you're going after the brothels does this signal the taliban of that islamabad
he said when rudy guiliani become mayor he went after the brothels to anybody call that? they said touche. i will give that to you. >> the important point* that they are not barbarians they are more media savvy. >> he had a master's from the secular university in islamabad. the same year 1977 he visited zero summit in london and kandahar he was an employee with unicef. the was accessible an incredibly dangerous because he knew how to work with the media and was sold and did not. he would never talk to me but his sympathy for the taliban, opposition for government but not the sectarian organization that the red mosque was closely affiliated because he knew sunni and shi'ite did not play well in the western media.
>> i once pointed cleaning up is computer desk i said that is new. no. i have always had that. what about that? i pointed to the short fat cylinder fixed to the other side of the barrel. that is a grenade launcher a friend recently gave it to me. he showed me how it worked it will launch grenades over a wall of 1300 feet the perfect weapon if you were holed up inside a mosque. gazi after the female commandos took over the children's library. have a dozen new computers were brought in it manned by eight gazi technology disciples. this are deployed in taliban ambushes in afghanistan. response that bozell wanted to take islamabad back to another century he said why would i go backwards? won't give up my computer my
mobile phone walkie-talkies or facts machine? changes were not limited to the armory either. really thing that seemed that did much change in the operations center was a chart tacked up on the wall. if you're a jihadi who believe depictions of the human form but then what a better way to post a picture of paint swatches? the request that i call at least one hour before writing it gave him enough time to notify the vigilante scouts pacing the sidewalks out front that they journalist was that approaching and not attack him with a rusty shovel. >> host: i think that is the first time c-span has covered a commercial for sherwin-williams paint. >> guest. [laughter] >> host: it cannot be
summarized and has to re-read. but from my own years of roaming the world, it does not end happily. his arsenal, the confrontation was inevitable and tell us about the last day. >> guest: july 3rd july 3rd, 2007, gazi and his boys had kidnapped several chinese masseuse from across islamabad and the chinese government got very angry and push on musharraf relations and they're very, very close and this is a very bad time for these relations because there was a landslide on the highway that the chinese build bridging islamabad and kashmir part of the chinese have built this to open a trade. and one week earlier there was a landslide that blocked the
road on the pakistani side. they could not move the rocks out of the way and the chinese were curious thing we build the road when there is of landslide at least get the rocks of the way. there is attention than the masseuse was kidnapped. the army and pakistani rangers and the police all surrounded the mosque on july 3rd and 410 days there was a standoff, occasional firing, you could hear blast across town we withstand on the roof of my house and watch the fireballs coming up off of the top and finally the government commandos pushed and they trapped gazi in the basement and it was a shootout and gazi was killed. as we mentioned earlier, it was a very awkward moment -- movement because they paraded his body and of the television and say we got him and my response watching was okay, we got him and that he had been so instrumental in
interest reducing me to a whole other world my contact has died as well. he was a friend in a weird way but how do you feel guilty grieving for someone that led the taliban rebellion in the center of the city? >> host: let me tell anyone that we are talking with nicholas schmidle the offer at author of an incredibly timely and well written new book on pakistan and his of ranchers or his misadventures comment "to live or to perish forever". the remarkable thing is the heat serious human relationships you're able to build with a wide range of radicals extremists, politicians, avera ge people, there were times i was reading the book and i thought i am a former soldier
i would turn back. it is real bravery i guess you have to me young enough to accomplish. but in the book you also change a back -- change talk about with any type of radical and shocked about how that happened and the realization can you tell us about that? >> this is the first meeting i was going to be someone who qualify as an extremist in the organization and he belonged to the most powerful and influential anti-shia organization which has very close ties with the taliban which had been banned by the musharraf government for sectarian killing. i was trying to understand early 2006 to what extent sectarian violence in iraq was building over and rekindling longstanding sectarian tensions and pakistan? we wanted to meet the guy to get the idea.
one friend said he could make the introduction and we got him and his car and drove to karachi and this guy was waiting for is on the side of the road in his motorcycle we started to follow him after a quick and wave into a neighborhood that was totally unmarked, all low mud brick houses and we were winding and winding and i thought about 10 turns ago i lost my way and your stomach is up here and you're thinking okay when we get to this point*, why would he not kidnapped? kidnapping was so prevalent. >> host: this is not long after daniel pearls death. >> and to this day he is hovering over karachi always reminded by newspaper editors or anyone in karachi who is abreast of events will say be very careful you know, this
happened once before. sought a young and ambitious western reporter go down the path. we met one guy who turned out to be a cordial host come a his ideas could not have been more opposite of my own but yet he was open a first example or window or how this would work that they wanted to voice their opinion and they were banned by the government so they have the opportunity to speak to a journalist. >> host: it is well recanted broke the book's been a good deal of time with their contacts with radicals including the taliban and a 12 talk about your experiences later in this show. but also it does a good job three out how complex is on this and especially in pakistan. this is far from country.
can you tell the audience, the c-span has a very curious audience, about is long complexity in this context? fifty-one the first basic division is between city and shia and pakistan is about 80% suni and 18% shia. there are small numbers of hindus, christians, and muslim minorities that have been branded as a non muslim by the government but also come under some other aberration. within bid dominant majority sunni tradition it also breaks down. there is a small section, but then there are the taliban they have most of the met process in a country they have
about 10,000. >> host: what was very unorthodox school of islam you describe that very well in the book but the influence is particularly strong in prune jab and it expires -- extends to the northwest frontier province but there is archipelago of shrines. that they will go and visit and spend hours in the evenings studying poetry and dancing and it is a very, very and orthodox. >> as the taliban come at what was happening is one of the first things the taliban did was to take over some of the shrine and say now we're running these and nobody comes in here. it is a direct threat. and intimate relationship with god. >> host: and often enjoy is, the celebration of this
form of islam is not all walking women away but pure celebrations. >> when it went back august 20086 months after being kicked out i went to check out celebration it is the annual celebration and it is the largest in pakistan have a million dave goatees show what and it is out of control. it is the greatest party it can ever imagine. >> host: i read this is satellite eight muslim mardi gras. >> guest: totally it is men and women dancing and right in front of the shrine they are doing a dance that is almost the rhythmic dancing like had binging and very, very intense men, women, people are throwing water and screaming there was a camel being walked through the middle and they
are just screaming. you sort of lose myself. >> host: and you did. >> guest: i did and the drumming going on in and while the aroma of the naturally smoked objects was everywhere maybe there was a contact was but all of a sudden it is overwhelmingly spiritual and that we had been chased around and also spent most of that day receiving threatening phone calls and reading about my own kidnapping planted by the intelligence agencies so at this point* i wanted to let go and i lost myself for several minutes dancing in the circle then i understood why half-million people the centerior. >> host: fortunately you did come back.
americans they sense it is a small place over there but it is a huge country larger than texas 173,180,000,000 muslims taste 170, 180 muslims. could you talk about the soldiers are the business people? get back to appoint a made earlier about the culture at twice the size of germany, half the size of pakistan with only 5 million people saw what was described as the u.s. geological survey in the '70s as being the closest thing to the moon. >> of the army almost perish because it is so sparse. >> the water table 100 feet below the ground so each
province has its own set of problems and there is one long-simmering ethnic rebellion this is where they all came and settled bank karachi and a sort of took over the dominance. there have been all of these revolutions and now have their own sets of ethnic dimensions and dynamics and the northwest frontier province is perhaps the most fascinating of all. >> host: the wonderful world not only of the taliban but cultures that are still vestiges of the day of alexander the great. we will be talking about that. if you had to summarize pakistan today for the american people, one or two sentences, what would you say to them? >> guest: i would say there it is far more at stake in
pakistan than any other country in the world. because of the tradition that i said earlier all of these people on the streets there is much more to lose and from a strategic standpoint pakistan is arguably, and arguably the most important. that is one aspect the dynamism of the country is so often overlooked in that is something the book flushes that out. >> host: nicholas schmidle the author of "to live or to perish forever" probably the best travel book a memoir written by an american in this generation. >> guest: banks roth . .