I was not a dictator, says Musharraf

Last Updated: Monday, September 7, 2009 - 17:19

London: Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said it would be incorrect to dub him a dictator as, but for him, the media would not be enjoying the freedom it does.
"If I was a dictator, the media would not have gotten independence during tenure," he told a delegation of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) here, Online news agency reported, quoting a private TV channel.

The overall political situation in Pakistan, the war against terrorism and regional issues were discussed at length during the meeting of the erstwhile ruling party.

Musharraf had actively promoted the PML-Q by encouraging a split in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whom he had overthrown in a bloodless military coup in October 1999.

The PML-Q was widely known as the `King`s Party` during the 2002 general elections that swept it to power. It was ousted in the 2008 elections that saw the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the PML-N post a one-two finish.

Musharraf had stepped down as the country`s army chief in December 2007. He quit as president in August 2008 in what is now confirmed as a deal brokered by Saudi Arabia, Britain and the US to grant him immunity from his actions in office - particularly his declaration of an emergency and the sacking of the Supreme Court judges on November 3, 2007.

On Saturday, it was reported that Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz had invited Sharif and Pakistani Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to discuss Pakistan`s political situation and the issue of Musharraf`s trial.

This was taken as an indication that the Saudis want Pakistan to live up to its end of the bargain on Musharraf`s immunity.

On his part, Musharraf has stepped up his political activities in London, where he is on an extended study tour, and is participating in Iftar parties being hosted by his close associates.

Sources close to the former president said former Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz and Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Altaf Hussain were accompanying him to these parties.

IANS



First Published: Monday, September 7, 2009 - 17:19

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