Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has expressed regret that Pakistan's recently retired army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani did not support him in the face of treason charges.
Musharraf also ruled out making a request for clemency if he is convicted by the special court formed for the high treason trial - the first time a military ruler has faced criminal charges in Pakistan's history.
The 70-year-old former President expressed regret that Kayani, who was appointed by Musharraf and retired last month, did not support him when he was charged with treason, the Express Tribune reported.
"I will not request pardon (if convicted)... I will not opt for any solution which creates an impression that I acted out of fear," he said in an interview aired by Express News channel last night.
Musharraf has been charged with treason for imposing emergency in 2007. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment or the death penalty.
"I have no regrets...I came back to Pakistan to face cases against me and because people wanted change," he said, speaking about his return to the country in March after several years in self-exile.
Musharraf also said he had not expected he would be charged with treason. "Yes, you can say it was my misjudgment...I did not expect Article 6 would be thrown at me," he said, referring to the constitutional provision that covers treason.
"He (Kayani) was kept in the loop in pretty much all consultations – from those pertaining to internal matters to the Middle East – and he should have submitted an affidavit during proceedings of the Iftikhar Chaudhry case. This is something he should be asked to explain," Musharraf said.
Kayani was the only senior army commander who did not level allegations against former Supreme Court Chief Justice Chaudhry when Musharraf deposed him in 2007.
Musharraf said it was strange that despite being the one "grieved" by the coup in October 1999, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had so far shown no interest in pursuing treason charges against him.
"He (Sharif) is probably avoiding it because it may open a Pandora’s box for him...I was on board a flight at the time and the action was taken on the ground," he said.
Musharraf came to power in 1999 by ousting Sharif's government in a bloodless coup. He remained in office till 2008, when he resigned after being threatened with impeachment.
Asked if it was improper for an elected premier like Sharif and his colleagues to be sent to jail by the army, Musharraf replied, "Is it not improper that a flight carrying the country's army chief is told it cannot land in Pakistan and instructed to land in India instead."
He refuted allegations that Sharif and his colleagues were mistreated by the army after the coup.
"Frankly speaking, Nawaz Sharif was provided good food and all facilities in Attock Fort, and he was later shifted to an army mess... The people did not face any hardship," he said.
The country should not have to suffer for a "personal vendetta" against him, he added.