Islamabad: Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf says the country was "proud" to have nuclear weapons and blamed India for Islamabad resorting to such an armament.
While citing India as the prime reason behind his country`s nuclear weaponisation, Musharraf said India posed "an existential threat to Pakistan".
"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," Musharraf said in an interview with Time magazine.
"The orientation of 90 percent of Indian troops is against Pakistan. We cannot ever ignore India, which poses an existential threat to Pakistan," he said.
Musharraf said he would like to return to Pakistan to stop the people`s "suffering", and claimed to have governed the country successfully for nine years.
There was a "vacuum of leadership" and the cause of the country "pulls me towards my destiny", he said.
The former president, however, seriously objected to comparisons between him and leader like Tunisia`s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Egypt`s Hosni Mubarak and Libya`s Muammar Gaddafi.
He said he left Pakistan peacefully on his own accord.
On the present situation in Libya, Musharraf said the will of the people should reign supreme.
"It`s almost a civil war there. A political situation must be found," he said.
On terrorism in Pakistan, Musharraf said: "You have two choices - 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."
He also accused the US of introducing religious extremism in Afghanistan.
"The responsibility lies with the West. The US encouraged it all, and we suffered. This is what we face. It comes from history," he said.