LAHORE: Pakistan’s former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf has said some soldiers, not politicians, had disappointed him. In an interview with Geo program “Jirga”, conducted by Saleem Safi, and broadcast on Tuesday, he said that he did not feel betrayed by politicians as they were not related to him, like soldiers. He named two of his former aides and retired lieutenant generals, Mehmood and Usmani, saying each one of the two wanted to become vice chief of the army, and both of them quit when refused a loyalty reward as demanded by them.
Musharraf also came down hard on retired Lt Gen Hamid Gul and termed him extremely ambitious person, who wanted to lead the religious forces of Pakistan. Musharraf disclosed that Gul advised him to take a back seat after the 1999 coup and give him the helm to rule the country.
He termed Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif dangerous for Pakistan, not foreign powers. When asked to comment on WikiLeaks report which called President Asif Zardari “dirty” and Nawaz Sharif “dangerous,” Musharraf refused to speak about Zardari, but chose to call Sharif a “closet Taliban” and “a threat to the country.”
He said Sharif could not get along with any army chief or any president, and alleged that the PML-N chief ordered attack on the Supreme Court. He claimed that the former prime minister and current opposition leader never wanted to go for nuclear tests and that he was forced to order them.
Musharraf did not spare the PML-Q leaders, the Chaudhry cousins of Gujrat, his former colleagues, and said that they were part of all decisions, taken regarding Lal Masjid and the killing of former Balochistan chief minister Akbar Bugti. He admitted that issuing the infamous National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) on Chaudhrys’ advice was a bad idea. He said he did not want to meet the late Benazir Bhutto in person, but did so as wrongly advised by the Chaudhrys.
Musharraf wouldn’t say that the Chaudhrys had gone personal against him, rather, he said, they were into the zigzag of politics, and he was confident that they would revert to if it suited them politically. Speaking about the character of his opponents, Musharraf said that he found Imran Khan and Mehmood Achakzai men of character, but described ANP leader Asfandyar Wali as not a man of his word. He praised the MQM of Altaf Hussain, saying that the party, the 90’s record regardless, did a good work when it assumed power through elections.
Musharraf also denied accepting all US demands at once. He said he had no other choice of joining and supporting the war against terrorism in the wake of 9/11 because he saw India joining hands with the US and its allies to the detriment of Pakistani sovereignty.
He also rejected the revelations made by an American author Bob Woodward and former US president George W. Bush that all American demands were accepted by Pakistan. He admitted that Pakistan had no objection to drone operations by the coalition forces in Afghanistan to the extent of seeking information about terrorists’ locations alone, but denied having allowed them missile strikes inside Pakistan.
On his ouster from power, Musharraf said in retrospect that the lawyers’ movement, the NRO, and curbs on media had brought about his fall. He defended his decision of moving against the judiciary and his reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, but regretted that his decisions had created turmoil in the country.
He said he chose to quit the presidency on realising that there was no point in continuing as a powerless man sustaining curses coming from Parliament sessions and cabinet meetings. He vowed to stage a comeback before elections whenever held.
Input from Agencies