London: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who launched his own political party last year in a bid to return to Pakistan politics, has said he can “never even imagine” that the Army will stand up against him.
When asked if he expected support from the Army, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) head said the military was not supposed to become involved in politics.
“However, having said that, I have been in this Army for over 40 years ... the troops and the whole Army knows me ... I can never even imagine that this Army which I have served for 40 years will be against me,” The News quoted Musharraf, as saying.
"I am very sure they will be supportive, but if you are meaning active support against other political parties, no, I am not expecting that; it would undermine the whole process," he added.
Although Musharraf declined to fix a date for his return to Pakistan, he said he aimed to establish APML offices in all the provinces of the country by March, adding that he would build up support for his party first.
"Obviously I wouldn`t be able to pack a suitcase and buy a ticket and reach Islamabad," he said. "Therefore, while I have decided that I must be there well before the next elections, whether they are mid-term or end-term, the exact date will have to be according to the environment we are able to create."
He also said many people had met him or talked to him over the phone, and that "anyone who wants to join into a coalition is welcome".
Musharraf, however, declined to name the likely coalition partners, saying that he aimed to create a national party.
He said of the MQM: "They are a good party and I have no differences with them," adding that he had met with MQM leaders, including Altaf Hussain, while many PML-Q politicians were also in contact with him.
Political analysts say he faces an uphill struggle to win enough support, and would need coalition partners from the fragmented opposition to have any chance of success in Pakistan’s politics.