London: Pakistan`s ex-military ruler Pervez
Musharraf, who calls himself "a born optimist", says he plans
to return to Islamabad to enter politics for the "greater
cause" of the country, where the leadership has "failed."
"I am very comfortable travelling around the world on
lectures, but I am going into politics for the greater cause
of Pakistan," Musharraf told a national daily.
"The people have reached the end of their hopes and I
want to try to rekindle their faith in both themselves and
Pakistan itself. It would be better to try and fail rather
than not to try at all."
The former general, who has been living here since
stepping down in 2008, is launching his own political party --
the All Pakistan Muslim League.
The party, which will have its manifesto launch here on
Friday, will be aiming for nothing less than to "change the
political culture" of Pakistan, where last month`s devastating
floods have affected over 20 million people.
While declining to comment on the civilian administration
of President Asif Ali Zardari, Musharraf said "there is a lot
of disappointment among the people over the way the flood
relief was tackled."
"What is required is unity of thought and action between
three elements: the political forces, the army and the
bureaucracy. They need an individual who can get them to think
and act alike."
He said "personally, I never saw myself as a dictator,
even though people called me that, but now when I come back I
will be a politician on normal terms.
"I am also a born optimist, which helps. We have
everything going in Pakistan - the failure is only of
leadership, not the people."
Musharraf was also vocal on the military challenges in
neighbouring Afghanistan, saying the escalating body-count of
British, US and other NATO soldiers should be no excuse for an
US-led plans to start drawing down troops by the middle
of next year would, he warned, lead to the region becoming a
"nexus for terrorists" all over the Muslim world.
"I am not trying to portray a doomsday scenario
unnecessarily, but the implications would be very serious for
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the rest of the world," he said.
"It would encourage and strengthen the Taliban and
al-Qaeda, giving them a country to fall back on. Quitting
cannot be time related; it has to be effect related."
Commenting on the recent killing of Imran Farooq, the
exiled leader of Pakistan`s MQM party, Musharraf said "it is
terrible that such an assassination could happen in a place