Pakistan is at risk of another military coup, warned its former army chief Pervez Musharraf, advocating a constitutional role for the army in the country’s turbulent politics.
Musharraf, who is in Britain and preparing to return to Pakistan, said that army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani could be forced to intervene against the unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari, Geo TV reported on Thursday.
The army should be given a constitutional role in Pakistan, which has been hit hard by rampant militancy and a crumbling economy, he said at a debate in London on Wednesday night.
He made the comments when he was asked if a new putsch was likely, following a reported crisis meeting this week between Kayani, Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
“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,” he replied.
“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,” said Musharraf, who handpicked Kayani as his successor in 2007.
The 67-year-old former president said similar “pressures” in his first year as army chief 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?’”