Musharraf starts new political voyage amid uncertainties

Ex-president says Kargil a matter of pride, it is made into shame; announces Rs2b bounty on Shahzain’s head

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Having claimed to end his self-exile for the people of Pakistan, the former President, Pervez Musharraf, on Wednesday said he would decide his political future after knowing the results of forthcoming elections.

“I had taken the country towards skies”, claimed Musharraf in a crowded press conference at a local hotel, saying the successors had brought the country to the verge of collapse, making it a hell for the masses.
The All Pakistan Muslim League chief, who started his press conference with confessing his failure to do the required planning and selecting the desired candidates for contesting elections, said he had to rely on and trust the party leaders for nominating candidates which he hoped would be better. “I didn’t find much time to scrutinize each and every candidate” said Musharraf, adding, his party was a remote controlled party prior to his arrival in Pakistan.
The former President, while rejecting the old guns, PPP and PML-N, who ruled over the country for two and three turns, said he can neither claim to bring Tsunami nor can he contest elections separately.
Musharraf called Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) his favorite party for electoral alliance and said he expected MQM’s support especially for NA-250 on which he would contest elections at the advice and insistence of party leaders.
Musharraf said he had not struck a deal with anybody and returned to Pakistan in the interest of the country. “I have got an international status, I am respected and honored, I have never asked for anything” claimed Musharraf, adding, may be someone had done something for him but he had never requested anyone to help him start the new political career.
Regarding the conflict inside his party, the APML president asked which party in Pakistan was free of internal politics. “But I have reached Pakistan and I will control the situation” he said.
Although the doors of hotel hall where the press conference was held remained closed until Musharraf left the place due to strict security measures, he said he was not scared of anyone and would continue election campaign. “It is still to be pondered over as where I have to address to public gatherings”, said Musharraf.
The former President, who attributed all goods of his 8 years’ rule to himself, said he was not responsible for the bad that happened during the period including Bugti murder, Benazir assassination, Lal Masjid massacre, and removal and mishandling of superior judiciary.
Nuclear Proliferation: The former President, whose address to press mostly revolved around “I”, made a shocking statement that there was no control over proliferation of nuclear technology in Pakistan. “It was me who made control system, completely making it the safest technology in the county” said Musharraf alleging that Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan had been involved in nuclear proliferation that brought Pakistan the name of a rouge state.
“Had I not been there, one can not imagine what would have happened to the proliferators?” claimed Musharraf.
Kargil War: The Kargil should have been a matter of pride for the nation but it has been made a matter of shame, complained the former President when asked how he would defend his position on the issue that brought Pakistan a bad name. 
In Kargil we had gripped India from its neck but unfortunately the military victory was converted into political defeat, he said.
I had not joined army for wearing bangles but fighting the enemies which not only supported Mukti Bahini in 1970 but also made aggression in Siachen, said Musharraf.
Issue of Dr Aafia: When asked that whether those who handed over the daughter of the nation to America were traitors, Musharraf said “whoever did so was a traitor but I have not handed over her to the US”.
Bounty on Shahzain: The former President announced a bounty of Rs 2 billion on head of Shahzain Bugti, the grandson of Akber Bugti who was allegedly killed at the orders of General (R) Pervez Musharraf. “If he has announced head money of Rs 10 millions on my head, I announce twenty million rupees” said Musharraf who later enhanced the head money to 2 billions rupees.
It is pertinent to mention that Shahzain Bugti had announced to give Rs1 million in cash and a bungalow worth Rs100 million to anybody who kills Musharraf.
Bugti Murder Case: When asked whether he would apologize for the murder of Bugti to soothe Baloch people, the former President said Akber Khan Bugti had challenged the writ of the government and it was the government of the time and not the President which took action against him to restore its writ.
He was not killed but the cave collapsed when either a rocket was fired at the army officials detained there and subsequently martyred or some explosive stored there went off, Musharraf claimed. “But no one talks of the children of those four army officials who lost their lives for the country.”
Lal Masjid Operation: The former President rejected the claims that negotiations had reached to the point where these could be productive. Refusing to accept the responsibility of Lal Masjid massacre, Musharraf said all leaders including Chaudhry Shujaat were at the same page for ultimate action against the miscreants who had created a state within the state in the heart of Islamabad.
“No women or children were killed during the operation, only 94 terrorists were killed” said Musharraf, adding, the facts and figures shown in media were baseless.
War on Terror: Musharraf said the decision to join the US-led war on terror was in the interest of Pakistan and if he had not taken that decision the country’s destiny would have been radically different.
“Today you would not have been here to take notes of my press conference” said the former dictator who took u-turn after the US Secretary of State Collin Paul gave him the options of “either you are with us or against us”. Musharraf claimed that by siding with the US, he saved many things including the Kashmir cause.
The foreign hands behind terrorism in Pakistan cannot be ruled out, he said. “But no one, except me, is speaking against the terrorists” he said and added, “Only I raise voice against them while others political interests are ahead of national interests.”
Action against Judiciary: The former Army Chief while defending his decision to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges from their posts, said it was his constitutional duty to remove them after the Prime Minister sent him a reference. Musharraf denied to have detained the judges and said they were free to roam everywhere.
Lawlessness in Karachi: The peace in the city can be restored only through strong will, said Musharraf. “For peace in Karachi, we would have to control the political forces behind criminal elements and 50 percent of the situation would automatically be controlled” said the former dictator while presenting his solution of the issue of lawlessness in Karachi.

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Author: Naimat

Karachi based journalist, writing on national and international issues.

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