Musharraf launches his political party in London



Musharraf launches his political party in London London: Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's former military dictator has launched a new political party the 'All Pakistan Muslim league' in the UK on Friday, with an intention to return to his country before 2013 elections.

Musharraf, 67, who has lived in London since he stepped down in 2008, told a news channel that the army must be involved in lifting Pakistan from its current economic woes and political infighting in addition to Pakistan People's Party government's failure to provide effective relief to victims of recent floods.

Musharraf said "There is a growing sense of despondency spreading in Pakistan and that the threat of terrorism and a dysfunctional government are causing a crisis."

Musharraf told al-Jazeera that it was time for a political culture that represented the people and shunned "dynastic principles".

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup against Nawaz Sharif Government, stepped down in 2008 amid nationwide protest. Musharraf has warned of a new Army-led coup against the government. He said the army should be given a constitutional role in the government of the Muslim state.

"The situation in Pakistan can only be solved when the military has some role," he said.

"If you want stability, checks and balances in the democratic structure of Pakistan, the military ought to have some sort of role."

Rumours of an imminent coup have swept through Pakistan since an angry confrontation between the unpopular president and the army chief earlier this week, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Gen Ashfaq Kayani, the hand-picked successor of Gen Musharraf, criticised Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's government's response to the floods that devastated the country in July, leaving at least 2,000 dead and millions displaced.

Musharraf claimed that the circumstances that forced him to launch a coup against the civilian government in 1999 had re-emerged.

"In that one year, Pakistan was going down and a number of people, including politicians, women, and men came to me telling me 'Why are you not acting? Are you going to act for Pakistan's good? You see the photographs of the meeting with the president and the prime minister and I can assure you they were not discussing the weather," he said.

"There was serious discussion of some kind or other and certainly at this moment all kinds of pressures must be on this army chief."

Gilani has said that Gen Musharraf would face trial on corruption charges if he returned to Pakistan from his London exile. Musharraf planned to contest the next elections in 2013 as a civilian.

PTI

Several of his associates have arrived in London where the All Pakistan Muslim League will be unveiled.

Musharraf told the BBC that the Government in Pakistan was dysfunctional and the economy and the country were failing.

"When there is a dysfunctional government and the nation is going down, its economy is going down, there is a clamour, there is a pressure on the military by the people," Musharraf told the BBC's Today programme.

"There is a sense of despondency spreading in Pakistan and the place that they go to is the military. There is nobody else people can go to," he said.

Musharraf said he was launching the party in London because he risked assassination if he returned to Pakistan.

He has survived a number of plots in the past. Last month, he said he would return to Pakistan for the next national elections, scheduled for 2013.

The former president went into exile in 2008 after his allies lost elections.

In a separate interview to an international radio, Musharraf said "I am in the process of creating an environment - the stronger I am politically, the more ground there will be for me to go and protect myself also," he said.

He brushed off the threat of treason charges he could face on his return, but admitted there were "other dangers", including assassination attempts from extremists, who twice tried to kill him when he was in power.

"I'll take the risk, but I'll take the risk at the right time," Musharraf said.

He did not say exactly when he would return, but said: "I won't wait until 2013."

He said the military were the only resort for Pakistani people frustrated with their government as it struggles with rampant militancy and a crumbling economy.

"We cannot allow Pakistan to disintegrate, that cannot be allowed. No Pakistani will allow that, no Pakistani wants that. So who's the saviour?" he said.

"The army can do it. Can anyone else do it? No, nobody else can do it. So therefore the answer is the army gets involved."

Musharraf said he was setting up the All Pakistan Muslim League to address "the crises facing Pakistan", and the party began a public recruitment campaign.

By returning to politics in Pakistan, he hoped to bring about a new political culture to the country. There are legal cases pending against Musharraf back home and if he does go back he will have to face them.

Musharraf said the cases are politically motivated.

PTI