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Will stand by army if it takes over, says Musharraf

Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf says that he is "reasonably sure" that the military would not resort to a coup in his country but would support the Army if it takes over. Gilani's criticisms divisive: Kayani

world Updated: Jan 15, 2012 16:21 IST


Former Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf says that he is "reasonably sure" that the military would not resort to a coup in his country but would support the Army if it takes over. He also says he is open for an alliance with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, but will not serve under him if elected to power.

"I don't think Army intends to take over. The environment is not at all conducive for the Army to take over. I think the Army understands that," he told Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate programme on CNN-IBN. Asked if he would back a coup, Musharraf said, "I am reasonably sure that army coup will not take place but my support always remains with the Army.

I've been an armyman and I can never imagine to be against the Army...I am with the Army, I will stand by the Army." On the possibility of an alliance with Imran Khan's party Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf, he said, "If they want an alliance, certainly I would like to have an alliance. "We have to come with a third political option because the two political options presently and in the past have been tried and failed...there is a need of coalition of forces which can bring about that third political option which can deliver to Pakistan," Musharraf, who intends to return to Pakistan from self-exile later this month, said. He said he was aware of people in Khan's party who keep saying that they will not get into an alliance with him.

"But they don't have a vision, they don't understand what they are talking. They go into the field and lose and then (people) choose same party then Pakistan suffers," he said. He vehemently rejected suggestions of serving under Khan, if the alliance came to power. "I cannot serve under him. I can be outside...I cannot be serving under anyone," the former military ruler said.

Musharraf did not appear to be in favour of early elections to the National Assembly, which are otherwise scheduled next year.

However, he said elections should be held on schedule as that was the only answer to the turmoil there.

On his return to Pakistan, Musharraf, who is currently in Dubai, said that he was aware of the danger to his life and was prepared to face arrest upon his return from exile.

"Well, the danger is there, of arrest, and I have considered that and one has to take that danger," he said.

"The other thing is, (the possibility that) I will not return to power -- that is a question mark. I am going back to contribute to the political situation and hopefully will do well in the elections," he said.

To a question, Musharraf said the people were now talking about his tenure at the helm of affairs in Pakistan which he claimed was a "golden age" for the country.

"The economy is in a shamble, law and order and terrorism are at their peak, there is a dysfunctional government, all that they are now talking about that eight years when people made money, they earned a lot, their livelihood improved," he said.

"Yes, it certainly was a golden age. It was a period of development for the state and welfare for the people of Pakistan and I know what to do," Musharraf said.

Asked what role the army would have if he came to power, the former President said, "Well, they have no role in political governance".

He said there has "always" been civilian supremacy in Pakistan and it was a "mis-perception" that the military and the ISI were the dominating force in the country.

Musharraf said the army had never dictated terms to the government but only acted when the "people ran to the Army to save Pakistan."

First Published: Jan 15, 2012 14:16 IST

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