Former President Pervez Musharraf has blamed Pakistan’s current administration for the tensions in ties with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, saying it should have made it clear how strong it is about fighting terrorism.
“Well, you know if you don’t fight terror and make sure everybody knows how strong you feel about it, you may have problems with other countries like America. And yes — now the situation with India,” the former military ruler said in an interview in London, where he is on a private visit.
Asked if the tension between India and Pakistan would not have occurred if the current Pakistani administration had made it clear how strong it is about fighting terrorism, Musharraf told interviewer Daphne Barak: “You said it.”
He said the situation with India had become “very complicated” because of the government’s stance. “This is what terror is all about. By now — it has become a very complicated situation,” he remarked.
Musharraf said the “kind of violence” now witnessed in Pakistan had “never happened during my time”.
He said, “I made (up) my mind early on that I was going with America against terrorism. I have done anything in my power to block terrorists and fundamentalists.
“There is only one way to deal with terrorists — to fight them,” said Musharraf, who quit in August to avoid impeachment by the Pakistan People’s Party-led government.
Musharraf said Pakistan is his home and he would not leave it even though he may face threats to his life there, the interview that appeared in The News, said.
“I would not leave Pakistan. It is my home. Am I safe there completely? Of course not. If there are risks but it is not new for me to live with risk. The army is protecting me. But of course - everything is possible,” Musharraf said. Pakistan is in a “very bad shape”, he said. “I brought foreign investments. I built roads. Nobody invests there anymore.”
When the interviewer pointed out that he was first Pakistani ruler who had not been executed, jailed or exiled, Musharraf said even the interviewer was getting emails “from people who would like to have me back”.
Musharraf said he did not miss the “good old days” when he was in power. “I have found time to spend with my family and friends. But I do care about Pakistan. It is obvious that I keep watching what is going on,” he said.
Musharraf said he intended to stay on in Pakistan and write another book and “go on the lecture circuits”.
Though Musharraf’s son Bilal is in California, he said he wanted to stay on in Pakistan as he has a daughter who lives in Karachi. “She organises musical events. Pakistan is my country,” he said, adding that he would continue to live in Rawalpindi till his house in Islamabad is completed.
Musharraf also said he had just finished reading his own autobiography In the Line of Fire because he “needed to reflect”.
Asked if he had started writing his next book, he said: “Not yet. The whole situation in Pakistan got me and others in a state of shock.”