India is an "existential threat" to Pakistan: Mush

Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said India is an "existential threat" to his country and blamed New Delhi for its nuclear weaponisation programme.

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2011, 20:39 PM IST

New York: Former Pakistani President
Pervez Musharraf has said India is an "existential threat" to
his country and blamed New Delhi for its nuclear weaponisation
programme.

Asked which is more of a threat to Pakistan- extremism
or India - he chooses the former.

"At the moment, it`s extremism and terrorism. But you
can`t compare. Let`s not think this is a permanent situation.

"The orientation of 90 per cent of Indian troops is
against Pakistan. We cannot ever ignore India, which poses an
existential threat to Pakistan," Musharraf told Time magazine
in an interview.

Talking about nuclear weapons, Musharraf said, "Yes,
we have nuclear weapons, and we are proud of it. Nuclear
weapons are the pride of every man, woman and child walking in
the streets of Pakistan. Why are we nuclear? Because of
India."

Asked if he considers Pakistan as the most dangerous
country in the world, he said, "It is very dangerous, yes, I
will have to admit. But the most dangerous is Afghanistan."

Talking about the ways to combat the rise of the
religious fundamentalists in Pakistan, 67-year-old Musharraf,
who stepped down as President in 2008, said there are two
choices, either to succumb to circumstances or do something.

"I know the people of Pakistan are moderate. It`s
unfortunate when the government itself and the leadership
appease the religious groups and extremists by turning a blind
eye."

The former President said the decision by US to pull
out of Afghanistan was not a good one.

"I know (what) public opinion is in the West and the
US. But real leadership comes when you need to change public
opinion, not go with it, because it`s not in your interest or
the world`s interest. This is the reality in Afghanistan at
this moment," said Musharraf, who now lives in self imposed
exile in London and Dubai.

Talking about crisis in Libya, he said, "The will of
the people should reign supreme. It`s almost a civil war there
(Libya). A political situation must be found."

Musharraf, however, seriously objected to comparisons
between him and leaders like Tunisia`s Zine El Abidine Ben
Ali, Egypt`s Hosni Mubarak and Gaddafi, saying he left
Pakistan peacefully on his own accord.

PTI