Of late, there has been a lot of talk about whether Musharraf was actually responsible for bringing freedom of speech to Pakistan. The general impression in the public is that it was a global phenomena powered by technology (like cable networks) that allowed for freedom of speech and not Musharraf. But these claims are false when you look at the empirical evidence. I think it wasn't a global phenomenon. The introduction of technology that allowed the cable operators to operate was, in fact, initiated and supported by Musharraf's regime consciously to help freedom of speech and not the other way around. Let us look at the global phenomenon argument first. For it to be a global phenomena, there have to be a lot of countries that would have made the same transition Pakistan made, i.e. going from little or no freedom for the press to a media that has a high degree of freedom of speech. Are there any countries like this? The answer is no. The countries that were dictatorial and curtailed freedom of speech have remained that way for the past whole decade. Contrary to this trend, Musharraf's regime gave out licenses to cable operators and private news channels. This not only introduced freedom of speech to Pakistan but also fostered it. So I think, we as a nation should appreciate and be thankful to Musharraf for his role in freedom of speech. -OMER MAJEED, Australia, September 15.