NEW YORK: Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf has said “it is now or never for me” to return to the country and lead a coalition of forces to victory in the general elections.
In an interview with Metro, a New York tabloid, he said: “There are a number of people and organisations that I call “floaters” in Pakistan,’ and many people are clamouring for me to return. I would say I have a 50/50 chance of success.
“My return will bring hope to them and the chance to work together. Only I can do this” Gen (r) Musharraf said.
Excerpts from the interview follow:
Question: “Why are you taking this risk, which must also be physical?
Answer: After 9/11 I was resigned to personal risk on a daily basis. It was something that became part of my routine. Because I am ex-president of Pakistan, the authorities must provide me with some security when I return — but of course I also have my own arrangements. I have faith that life and death is out of my hands and I have a duty to return to my country to deal with its problems.
Q: There are legal charges against you in Pakistan, a residue of your presidency. How will you deal with this obstacle?
A: “I will simply appeal to the judicial process. One has to have faith in the courts even though there is a history of judicial activism. I am 100 per cent confident that these false, trumped-up and politically motivated charges against me will be thrown out.”
Q: What are your chances of success?
A: If you listen to commentators, they will tell you that my party does not have the internal structure to fight an election. It is simply not true. We are established with organisations across the country and some major political players are just waiting for my return to offer their support. There are a number of people and organisations that I call floaters in Pakistan, and my return will bring hope to them and the chance to work together. Only I can do this. Many people are clamouring for me to return. I would say I have a 50/50 chance of success.