Musharraf to return to Pak politics

Musharraf to return to Pak politics

Musharraf says he is going back to Pak to join politics

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, on a self-imposed exile for more than a year, has said he plans to return home to re-enter politics and did not rule out making a bid for Premiership.

"I certainly am planning to go back to Pakistan and also join politics. The question of whether I am running for president or prime minister will be seen later," Musharraf told the CNN in an interview last night.

"I have to launch myself politically, formally, which I haven't done," Musharraf said, adding that he is interacting with a lot of politicians, with the people of Pakistan and the Pakistani Diaspora in the United States and Britain.

"We run a parliamentary system there," 67-year-old Musharraf said. "So you have to -- your party has to win in the election. Then only do you decide to run."

"Basically, you are heading the party, you are running for the prime ministership," he said. "Because in Pakistan, the chief executive is the prime minister, not the president."

However, the former Pakistani dictator did not give exact time frame for his return, as clamour grows in Pakistan for allegations that he did not do enough to prevent the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

A demand has also been voiced to seek his clarification on the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance which is currently under scrutiny of the country's Supreme Court.
Under the NRO, a number of Pakistani politicians and officials, including President Asif Ali Zardari, were granted amnesty from prosecution on corruption charges.

"I have taken a decision in principle to join politics and go back to Pakistan,... it (return) is related to the election in Pakistan. I am very sure of one thing, that, whether it's end-term elections or midterm elections, I will be there before those elections," he said.

"There's no sign (of mid-term election). If at all, it will be next year, maybe, 2011," he said.

Musharraf conceded that security would be one of the issues when he returns back home.

"Well, there are security issues. Maybe my wife and my family is more worried than I am.

But there are security issues, which one needs to take into consideration. And that is why I'm not laying down any dates for my return. I'm looking at issues there, but I do intend launching and declaring my intention formally sooner than later," he said.

When asked about the unfortunate fate of Bhutto, Musharraf said: "Well, I hope I'm more lucky -- luckier than her."

Musharraf, strongly refuted allegations that he did not provide enough security to Benazir Bhutto as being said in a UN report.

"I really don't fully agree with this statement. In fact, it was me who warned her about the threat to her. It was I who stopped her from going to that venue once before. To which a lot of political aspersions were cast on me, that her movements are being restricted, but she decided to go again," he argued.

"Then all the security were provided within the Pakistani environment. She did go to the venue. She was taken safely. She addressed the people for one hour safely. She got off. Got into the car safely. So I think this is rather unfair. This comment is rather unfair," he said.

Musharraf also supported action against the Taliban and al-Qaeda and said that Pakistani Government is doing enough against terrorism.

"Yes, I think so," he said when asked "Is the Pakistani government right now doing enough to deal with the Pakistani Taliban?"

Musharraf said the Pakistani Government is following the same policy as that of his against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

"Well, the force is being used. They have succeeded in Swat, then they went into Bajaur Agency, they succeeded. They have succeeded in South Waziristan agency. And now I believe they are acting in Orakzai Agency where this Taliban and al-Qaeda have escaped," Musharraf responded.

However, he argued that that they must add more force in the fight against terrorism.
At the same time, he cautioned the United States against sending troops on the ground in Pakistan.

"No, not at all," Musharraf said and spoke against the use of Drones inside Pakistan by the United States.

"Because of their indiscriminate use of the drone is having a negative impact in the public because of the collateral damage, and I wonder whether this Faisal Shahzad incident, has he been affected by the indiscriminate bombing by the drones?" he said.

Observing that he does not know about Shahzad at all, Musharraf said: "However, it's very sad that this person who is living here, being a Pakistani, but an American citizen, had to bring such a bad name to Pakistan."

Musharraf also appeared to justifying the decision of Pakistan on blocking access to Facebook.

When asked if it is the right thing to shut down Facebook in Pakistan, Musharraf said: "Well, one has to obviously take some measures because people were agitating."

He said: "It's most unfortunate. We must understand, these are sensitive issues, and for the sake of independence of media, liberty of speech, we cannot hurt sensitivities of millions of people. We must not do that. I'm against that."

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