Posted by: Administrator | 27 March, 2005

Musharraf’s Bid for A New Role in Pakistan on CNN

1 October 2010 

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: There is a need of an introduction of a new political dynamic, a new political culture which shuns dynasty politics.

ANDERSON: One-on-one with General Pervez Musharraf about why he’s returning and what he’ll do to mend fences between Islamabad, Kabul and Washington.

MUSHARRAF: Why don’t you give the guns to the Pakistan Army or the Air Force?

This is what I am meaning infuse their resourcing and as they’re resourcing, let them fight themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON: Find out why Pervez Musharraf believes he is the man to lead the fight against extremism. We’ll have my full interview with Pakistan’s former president, up next.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PAKISTANI PRESIDENT: My vision for Pakistan is the development of Pakistan and the socio-economic uplift of its people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PLEITGEN: His supporters are in the process of starting a new political party and social media sites like Facebook are their main weapons to spread their message. They believe Pakistan’s current government is corrupt and incompetent, as the current chairman told me in an interview.

MOHAMMED ALI SAIF, ALL PAKISTAN MUSLIM LEAGUE: I think that Pervez Musharraf has a very good chance of attracting those disillusioned people who are absolutely disappointed with the present political system, which is based on a kind of hereditary inheritance of political leadership.

PLEITGEN: But political rivals say such claims sound odd, given that the retired general came to power in a military coup in 1999 and was often perceived by Pakistanis to be too close to the U.S. in the war on terror.

Musharraf stepped down and left the country in 2008, under the threat of impeachment and amidst widespread protests against him. Now, his supporters say many would like him to come back.

We heard mixed opinions from Pakistanis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He — he — he did a lot for women. He did good and too much for higher education, as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would — I would love to see him (INAUDIBLE) because I like him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are all the (INAUDIBLE) Musharraf (INAUDIBLE) we are facing a (INAUDIBLE) all over the country.

PLEITGEN: Musharraf’s government was credited with economic reforms and steady growth rates. Still, analysts don’t give him much of a chance.

MUSHARRAF ZAIDI, POLITICAL ANALYST: He might have a shot at — at, you know, a substantial number of seats, through his allies, you know, in the traditional political mainstream. But his chances for running the country again seem pretty low.

PLEITGEN: Musharraf says he plans to stand in national elections set for 2013. His supporters say they plan to use the next few years to build political backing for the former president.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Islamabad.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: All right. Well, ahead of the launch of his new political party, I sat down with Pervez Musharraf here in London, where he has been living in self-imposed exile for the president two years.

And I began by asking him why he believes that the time is right now for a return to the political stage.

This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MUSHARRAF: I personally feel there’s a need of an introduction of a new political dynamics, a new political culture, which shuns the dynasty politics.

ANDERSON: The reason you had to step down in 2008 was because the people wanted you to step down. They were fed up with the corrupt political culture under your stewardship.

So why do you think things might have changed now?

MUSHARRAF: My stepping down was, yes, I lost in popularity. There’s no doubt. Not because of corruption at all. It was because of the — the tussle with the judiciary, the imposition of the emergency, which had its own reasons. That was why the people generally, the civil society, so to say, got against me. And that is why — and then the assassination part of Benazir worked toward the People’s Party, a sympathy vote coming up toward them. That is how things changed, the political scenario changed.

So — and now, because of what is happening to Pakistan, there is a bigger clamor for me to come back.

ANDERSON: Let’s move on to ASPAC strategy here. In recent weeks, the CIA has dramatically increased its drone attacks in the mountains of Pakistan. American officials say they are frustrated that Pakistani — the Pakistani military isn’t doing enough to dislodge militants from their bases there.

Your response?

MUSHARRAF: Oh, I don’t think so. This is the accusation and aspersions that have been cast right from the beginning.

Look at Pakistan’s military. It is involved in terrorism and extremism here. It is involved in fighting al Qaeda. It is involved in containing the Taliban in the tribal agencies. It is involved when these Taliban spread Talibanization into certain districts of the frontier. It is involved with extremism in our society. It is now involved in the flood relief. It is also on the borders with India.

What do you expect this army — there are — there are some additions or something. They — they are doing much more than their capacity. I would like to say that the second line forces in Pakistan — and this is my belief — need to be strengthened massively so that they take on terrorism and extremism and the army is in the backup.

ANDERSON: Why is there, then, a perception that the Pakistan military isn’t doing enough?

MUSHARRAF: It’s — they — they talk of not doing enough, ask them why?

Because there is Taliban support coming from Pakistan to Afghanistan. No. Yes, indeed, it — it goes there. We need to stop at the border.

But is this our responsibility alone?

This goes — it’s to and fro through — across the border.

Why is the coalition forces and Afghan forces not responsible for movement across the border?

Why is it only Pakistan responsible?

That is what they talk about.

ANDERSON: Do you support the use of drone attacks?

MUSHARRAF: No, I don’t.

ANDERSON: Why not, if the Pakistan military is so stretched.

MUSHARRAF: Why foreign forces into Pakistan?

It will be done by our own forces. The sensitivity of the people of Pakistan that we don’t want any foreign troops to come and do anything in our country.

ANDERSON: I understand. But your troops, the military is stretched.

MUSHARRAF: And — and the other is, the other point is of collateral damage. We have to think of targeting very conscious of — of — of protecting from collateral damage.

Now, when you say why over stretched, why don’t you give the drones to the Pakistan Army or the air force?

This is what I’m meaning, increase their resources. And as the resources, let them fight themselves.

ANDERSON: Are you in touch with the American administration at present?

MUSHARRAF: No, I am not.

ANDERSON: As you launch your new party and bid for leadership once again in Pakistan, do you need the U.S. administration’s support?

MUSHARRAF: I think it’s a double-edged weapon. U.S. support is seen very negatively in Pakistan in the public of Pakistan.

ANDERSON: Are you worried that Washington will effectively turn up — off the aid tap to Pakistan if it can’t show results in Afghanistan?

MUSHARRAF: I mean the — again, why Pakistan is not responsible for what happens in Afghanistan?

Even the going of Taliban or the movement of Taliban across the border, everything of Taliban by Taliban elements in Pakistan, I would give Pakistan 50 percent of responsibility and the other 50 percent is coalition-Afghan responsibility. So, that 50 percent is ours. The remaining in Afghanistan to fight them is entirely Afghan and coalition responsibility.

Why is Pakistan to be punished for that?

You perform well in Afghanistan, you arm Pakistan more so that we perform better in Pakistan.

The other thing is, I think, on the Pakistan side, the Pakistani Army is performing much better than the coalition forces are performing in Afghanistan.

ANDERSON: And there are the problems, of course, there and the Obama administration at least would like to draw down its forces in Afghanistan by the middle of next year.

Is that the right thing to do?

MUSHARRAF: No. Absolutely the wrong thing to do. I personally feel if you see the entire gamut of terrorism and extremism, in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Taliban, in Pakistan, al Qaeda, Taliban, Talibanization and extremism in society, the center of gravity is Afghanistan and the tribal agencies of Pakistan.

As a military man, I know when you are fighting an enemy, destroy him at the center of gravity. Now, if you lose at the center of gravity and leave, you will lose everywhere.

So, therefore, quitting is not an option. But one thing is sure. We are not losing. We cannot lose. We will not lose if we are there, if we stick it out and we fight.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ANDERSON: Pervez Musharraf talking to me ahead of the launch of his new party in London earlier today.

You’re watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

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