Former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Monday stopped short of urging the military establishment in the country to take matters into its own hands, but warned that when internal and external threats became too acute the army had to do something ‘one way or another’.And as if these words were not enough to send alarm bells ringing in the corridors of a besieged government, Musharraf said: ‘I am not suggesting that the army chief (Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani) do this or that. It is his call.’
He was speaking at a press conference here after returning from India, where he had gone to attend a two-day seminar organised by India Today.
The retired general, who was asked what would be the role of the army in the prevailing political situation, especially in the backdrop of the lawyers’ long march, said: “I am not army chief and can’t say or know what will be the role of the army.
‘If internal threats become too acute and cause a threat to solidarity of Pakistan, then it is the responsibility of the army to do something for solidarity of the country.’
He said Pakistan was passing through a critical phase and the entire world was concerned about its domestic situation. He urged politicians to work for reconciliation and end the political turmoil.
In reply to a question, Musharraf said that any criticism of the Army and the ISI should not be tolerated and appealed to the nation to support the two prime institutions.
The retired general said he would be interested in becoming an effective president if an offer was made. However, he added that until now he had no plans to join politics.
He parried a question about the National Reconciliation Ordinance, only saying that he would respond in detail at an appropriate time.
He said that he had no enmity with anyone. ‘Nawaz Sharif is responsible for whatever is happening to him.’
Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf said that foreign militants, including Central Asians and Arabs, were hiding in the tribal areas.
‘I am against US drone attacks on them because it is up to the government to take action against militants hiding in the country,’ he added.
He said that during his tenure as president, significant progress on certain issues, including that of Kashmir, had been made, but terror attacks in Mumbai and Lahore had soured the atmosphere.
Musharraf urged the Pakistani and Indian media to persuade their governments to adopt the course of dialogue.
In reply to a question, he said he was satisfied with the security provided to him by the government.