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Zardari: No action against Musharraf

Pakistan's ruling PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari says that his party is not interested in taking any action against ex-President Pervez Musharraf.

world Updated: Aug 24, 2008 21:07 IST

Claiming that there was no agreement with ex-President Pervez Musharraf that led to his resignation, Pakistan's ruling PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari has, nevertheless, said his party was not interested in taking any action against him and was not looking to get into "messy fights."

The day Musharraf stepped down last week was "a momentous day especially for the forces like us who believe democracy is the best revenge," Zardari told 'Newsweek' magazine in an interview.

When asked whether his party had reached an agreement with Musharraf before he resigned, the PPP Chairman said: "No. He hasn't got anything yet. There is a general understanding that we are not looking to (get) into any messy fights.

"We are not interested in doing anything against him - we are looking for a transition to full democracy."

Zardari said the Parliament will decide whether Musharraf would get immunity from future prosecution. "Everybody knows the Pakistan Peoples Party's position is that we are not into revenge."

He, however, said the General was "welcome to stay" in Pakistan and a future President could also grant him pardon.

When asked if he would like to see Musharraf exiled, Zardari said: "Personally I would like him to be around and see us flourish in Pakistan and make Pakistan a success story. I think that would be the revenge of Benazir Bhutto."

To a question whether the new President should give up the power to dissolve Parliament, Zardari said: "... We need to have a debate in Parliament and see how strong we want the future President (to be) and how strong we want to make our Prime Minister. I think the president should not have the power to dissolve the assembly."

Zardari said the new President would play a "more ceremonial" role and expressed the hope that his PPP and ally PML-N will remain united.

"I want everybody to own the problems that we face: we haven't inherited a stable Pakistan; we haven't inherited a good economy; we haven't inherited a very nice situation on our borders. And all that needs to be addressed, and for that we need a government of reconciliation," he told the magazine.

When asked if he blamed Musharraf for the death of his wife and former Premier Benazir Bhutto who died in a gun-and-suicide attack in December last year, the PPP Chairman said "I hold Musharraf responsible for not providing her with enough security but I cannot pinpoint Musharraf because I need a proper inquiry.

"I need the United Nations to look into the affair. But we are not looking to punish individuals. We are looking to create a new system, a new democratic Pakistan. I think her life meant the struggle for democracy and if democracy comes about, that will be the real revenge for her martyrdom."

On US-Pak ties after Musharraf's resignation, Zardari said the bilateral relationship stays the same.

"The experiment with the General has failed. Therefore, the US has decided to support the democratic forces. (The civilian government) will have issues, will be weak for the moment, but we will learn from our mistakes, and we will go on and we will improve. That is the journey that the country and the people have to take to make a strong democracy," Zardari said in the interview.