Musharraf: ‘Tacit’ British Approval for Torture

Former Pakistani Pres Claims Brits Never Complained About His Torture

In an interview with Britain’s BBC2 channel, former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf insists that the British government gave him “tacit approval” to torture British citizens, and that there was no record at any point during his decade of rule that the government objected to his tactics.

In the interview, Musharraf appears quite proud of his record as a Western-backed torturer, insisting that “we are dealing with vicious people and you have to get information.” He speculates that the British never complained because they wanted him to keep torturing.

Former MI5 director Elizabeth Manningham-Buller denies that the British spy agency had ever condoned the torture of British citizens, and former intelligence coordinator Sir David Omand insists Musharraf must have known what British policy was.

The comments came as part of the BBC2 investigation into the British government’s apparent ambivalence about the torture of its citizens in the custody of other nations, notably Pakistan and the United States. Musharraf is currently living in exile in London, having been voted out of office in 2008, but hopes to eventually return as a “strongman” ruler in Pakistan.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.