Musharraf demands a larger political Role for Army in Pakistan

By A Khokar     September 30, 2010

 LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf warned on Wednesday that army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani could be forced to intervene against the government of President Asif Ali Zardari which he said had failed to tackle rampant militancy and a crumbling economy.

He said the army should have a constitutional role*, rather than an informal position in the country’s leadership and asserted that the army should play its part in keeping checks and balances and ensuring good governance. He was speaking in a public interview with former British ambassador to the US Christopher Meyer, an event organised by ‘Intelligence Squared’ at Kensington town hall in London

Musharraf cited as evidence a reported crisis meeting this week between Kayani, Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Asked whether he thought there was a likelihood of a new coup, he told the Intelligence Squared debating forum in London: “Well, you see the photographs of the meeting with the president and the prime minister and I can assure you they were not discussing the weather. There was a serious discussion of some kind or other and certainly at this moment all kinds of pressures must be on this army chief.”

The 67-year-old said similar “pressures” when he was head of the army from 1998 to 1999 had led him to launch the coup against then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “In that one year Pakistan was going down and a number of people, including politicians, women, men, came to me telling me ‘Why are you not acting? Are you going to act for Pakistan’s good?” Musharraf said. “Now I am in a dilemma — the army chief, what does he do? There is no constitutional provision, what does he do?”

Musharraf said the armed forces need to play a larger political role, as he discussed plans for his own bid to return to power as a civilian. Musharraf confirmed that he would launch a new political party in London on Friday to contest the next elections in 2013 but refused to say when he would return to Pakistan, where he could face treason charges.

He said Zardari’s government had failed adequately to deal with Pakistan’s moribund economy, the threat from Taliban militants and the after effects from devastating floods earlier this year. Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country for over half of the country’s existence since independence from Britain in 1947.

While answering a question he dismissed the charges against him relating to Bugti’s murder. He said the Bugti was one of the insurgent who was killed in military chase operation. Insurgents have previously attacked the national gas installations and some 500 rockets were fired. Gas lines were blasted on daily bases and railway links were blown up. Bugti was killed in military operation while hiding in caves, where insurgents were keeping a stock piles of arms ammo and explosive.

Meanwhile, analysts say that Musharraf is a man who may  easily budg to the internal or external pressures and pointed out that if after the tragic incident of a sad demise of Benazir Bhutto he could not evaluate and chalk out a simple contingency plan…to postponed an election to avail a cooling off period for the public; failing which Pakistan is now faced with the dilemma that bunch of looters and pilferers from Benazir Bhutto’s party like Zardari and his cohorts , after winning a sympathy vote in election  are imposed on this nation.

Whereas he himself availed a safe exit but left the nation behind at the mercy of convicted criminals some eight thousand of them that he set them free by issue of infamous NRO. How come he is planning to lead this nation once again from the front?


*[Hum Bhi wahaan moujood they; hum bhi yeh dekhaa keyay ]


For a Sneak preview of the public interview of President Musharraf on IQ2 world leaders’ event which took place on 29 September 2010