The former head of the state said army’s role was important in government to ensure checks and balances, but their powers were revoked once National Security Council was abolished after 18th constitutional amendment, he told in an exclusive interview to the ARY News program ‘Siyasat aur Sazish’ co-hosted by senior anchor Dr. Moeed Pirzada and Fawad Chaudhary.
He said the decision to strike off his name from Exit Control List was discretion of the government as he could not insist the ruling authority on the matter. But, yes! I want to live an independent life and there should be no bar on me leaving or entering the country, he expressed, adding “I want to be a free man”.
Musharraf was of the view that General (retd) Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani should also have been included in a treason case pertaining to imposition of emergency on November 3, 2007.
When asked about the politicians of his time now a part of ruling regime, the former president said ‘Lotacracy’ (jumping on a bandwagon) did not work anymore.
To a query regarding support of his institution (military) in piles of cases against him, Musharraf initially declined to comment, but later he confessed that such support existed previously, but it is no more in place.
The National Reconciliation Order (NRO), he said, was his own decision and there was no external pressure involved. He made it clear the (late) Benazir Bhutto was not entitled to return home, but she violated the NRO by her return.
He went on to say that Nawaz Sharif had promised in writing before his return in 2008 that he would not create any trouble.
Regarding death of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, the former president said Bugti was killed in the wake of blast in tunnel, wherein four army soldiers also embraced martyrdom. The blast was either a suicide explosion or it was carried out by Bugti and his men, he said.
He told, to a supplementary question, that the body of Bugti was sent to his native village in Dera Bugti and he was interred there.
He underlined that Soviet Union states and India were behind the unrest in Balochistan. He, however, hastened to add that his government’s performance in Balochistan was good. “We dismantled ‘Ferrari Camps’ (the training centres for the separatist elements) there and established writ of the government,” bragged the former president.
Answering a question, Musharraf said local government elections were conducted twice, followed by provincial and National Assembly elections in restive Balochistan after the army operation. Separatist elements are also being eliminated there, he told.
Regarding missing persons, the ex-president said FC check posts were targeted several times and in reaction government would go after the culprits, who later disappeared in mountains; hence the question about disappearance about them was meaningless.
The former military ruler said Pakistan never sheltered Osama Bin Laden in its territory, while his recovery from the country was indeed ‘negligence’. He rejected the notion that any specific army official had brought Osama in Abottabad to keep him in hiding.
Musharraf underlined that consensus was inevitable for launching Kalabadgh Dam project. Had the project was started during his tenure, a rebellion wave could have triggered in Sindh, he added.
“I wanted to become a third political force in the country, but I was not allowed to contest elections,” said Musharraf in regret. To a question regarding sit-ins of PTI, he said Imran could not succeed merely due to a ‘solo flight’; he needs to take along other political forces to become third strong political force of the country.