Musharraf open to any coalition partners

Published: January 17, 2011

Former President Pervez Musharraf gestures during an interview with Reuters in London January 16, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf said on Sunday that he was open to any coalition partners who wanted to join him, and described Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as “a good party” with whom he had no differences of opinion.

Musharraf who is planning to return to contest elections due by 2013 was speaking at his London home during an interview with Reuters.

Musharraf declined to fix a date for a return to Pakistan, which he left after stepping down as president in 2008. But he said he aimed to establish offices for his new political party in all the country’s provinces by March.

He launched his All Pakistan Muslim League in London in October. The former military ruler, who could be risking assassination or legal cases if he went home, said 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.”

“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 said many people had met him or talked over the phone, and that “anyone who wants to join into a coalition is welcome”.

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.

Among possible candidates could be smaller parties with whom Musharraf has worked in the past, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), whose leader Altaf Hussain lives in exile in London, and the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q).

Musharraf declined to name likely coalition partners, saying he aimed to create a national party. But he said of the MQM: “They are a good party and I have no differences with them.” He said he had met with MQM leaders, including Hussain, while many PML-Q politicians were in contact with him.

Asked if he expected support from the army, he said that the military were 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.

“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.”

‘Prevent blasphemy law misuse’

Musharraf said, rather than amend the laws, Pakistan needed to find ways to make sure they were not misused. He also condemned the killing of Salmaan Taseer and said it was wrong for anyone to take the law into his own hands.

“Therefore the killer of the governor, he is a culprit, he is a criminal, he must be tried and he must be punished,” he said.

He said blasphemy was an extremely sensitive issue for the people of Pakistan. “Therefore doing away with the blasphemy law is not at all possible and must not be done,” he told Reuters.

Kashmir roadmap

Musharraf, who has been criticised by Washington for failing to crack down harder on the Taliban when he was in power, said the West had missed a tremendous opportunity to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan in 2002-2004.

But he said there was “some sense” now in talking to the different parts of the Taliban movement, including its leaders. “Any one of them who is for peace, giving up confrontation, I think we should deal with them.” But this was not going to be easy since “we are speaking from a position of weakness”.

He also said he believed a road map for peace in Kashmir that he agreed with India in 2007 could be revived. “We were in the process of drafting an agreement, obviously there were differences on the wording and the expressions …” He said it was hard to tell if they were within six months of a deal, “but we were making fast progress, that I know”.

However, he also accused India of using its presence in Afghanistan to destabilise Pakistan. Pakistan accuses India of supporting separatists in its Balochistan province, while India accuses Pakistan of backing militant attacks on Indian targets in Kashmir and elsewhere. He said the two countries’ intelligence agencies had been in confrontation since independence in 1947.

“This tit-for-tat has been going on over the last 60 years,” he said. “I think India and Pakistan need to sit down and stop this confrontation.”

Reader Comments (42)

  • Eeman
    Jan 17, 2011 - 12:11PM

    Of course, since the premature, partly-developed, shallow party of opportunists needs crutches to stand. Recommend

  • Malik Tabeer
    Jan 17, 2011 - 12:39PM

    ahaaaan thats like a good politician
    and im pretty sure he will be good political leader
    indeed a Smart Man Recommend

  • Yousaf
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:01PM

    for the betterment of Pakistan, APML always welcome any coalition… go ahead Gen. Musharraf, we are just waiting for the Election.

    We assure you that we are teaching & educating the people to tell them the agenda of APML, they certainly do agree with us that Gen. Musharraf’s tenure was better & investor friendly then the present one. Recommend

  • Shamsi Ajani
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:04PM

    Dream on. ……………………Mush is toxic for any political partyRecommend

  • Student
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:18PM

    i dont know that he is a good Muslim or not but i am sure that he is good person for Pakistan. May Allah make him a good Muslim as well (also me and other ppl too).Recommend

  • Noreen Shams
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:22PM

    Akele hum akele tum ….nice approach mushi..Gud luckRecommend

  • Amer
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:26PM

    Mush is a toxic acid for this country. He is currently a three man + 1 woman party, nothing more then that…. he will never win anything in the elections. Recommend

  • Asmat Jamal
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:32PM

    He should join MQM. Birds of same flock. Both the leaders have same roots and same vote bank. Recommend

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:33PM

    Men from Khaki make good DHA administrators – not President of a country- Thgis guy has done more damage to Pakistan than anyone else in the last 20 years.
    HarisRecommend

  • Jan 17, 2011 - 1:37PM

    We want our former president Pervez Musharraf Back..
    NICE MAN, GOOD Leader, Loyal and true Pakistani..Recommend

  • Hassan
    Jan 17, 2011 - 1:50PM

    Musharaf should be tried in curt for suspending the constitution of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Jan 17, 2011 - 1:57PM

    Dear Musharraf, please do come back so that you can be tried in the courts!Recommend

  • IZ
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:18PM

    Musharraf said, rather than amend the laws, Pakistan needed to find ways to make sure they were not misused.

    How is one to stop the misuse of the law other than by amending them? By making speeches?Recommend

  • shahid
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:29PM

    wish him best of luck.Recommend

  • Amer
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:34PM

    President Pervez Musharraf was the worst thing that ever happened to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Nak
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:45PM

    Come On! join the ring (Parliment) where already more then 300 members fighting each other, but no one fight for the people of this nation.Recommend

  • Danish
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:48PM

    “Birds of same flock. Both the leaders have same roots and same vote bank”…………………what a sick and narrow minded comment. Sad!Recommend

  • Mehboob
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:50PM

    ae mard e mujahid we want you back on the chair of president, for the sake of Pakistan and the people of Pakistan. Pakistan needs one man revolution that become Pakistan from the corrupt politicians.Recommend

  • Q
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:53PM

    Mr. Musharraf is undoubtedly a great leader. May God bless him with success. Long Live PM.Recommend

  • AltafHater
    Jan 17, 2011 - 2:57PM

    Anyone who calls MQM a good party is clearly under the influence..Recommend

  • Jun
    Jan 17, 2011 - 3:07PM

    ofcourse coalition partners are needed and as without them APML wont be able to win even a single seat .Recommend

  • Asad Baig
    Jan 17, 2011 - 3:22PM

    Pervez Musharraf and MQM have many things in common, the biggest being both are Sincere and Honest towards the Progress and Well Being of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Javaid Ahmed
    Jan 17, 2011 - 3:42PM

    He is repeating the same mistake he did in 2001-2002. How come he will eradicate corruption if the corrupt and incompetent politicians will make coalition. This means he just want power politics and nothing else. ShameRecommend

  • Jan 17, 2011 - 4:43PM

    Funny statement by a funny man. Funnier comments by his funnier fans.Recommend

  • FJ
    Jan 17, 2011 - 5:35PM

    If we go back and memorize the situations in Musharraf regime then we should easily conclude the good and the worst things then and now; it is to be noted that we can make a very realistic comparison of many more things with Before and After reflection, now i feel and i observe lots of people, groups and alliances for seeing things with Closed Eyes.

    i would simply say “in tiloon men tail nahin”; current rulers are only making bloody money and using each and every mean for accumulation of funds for theirselves.

    It is very simple to understand that now the things have reached to the worst level than imagined in all terms i.e. economics, political, corruption, standard of living, commission-mafia, money manipulation and people exploitation.

    No one has been perfect in ruling and expecting someone not to make a mistake is fooling yourself. However the individual and nation both get stronger only on the basis of Consolidation which means long-term efforts and governance. We need some person for long term corrective steps to be taken in favor of our country and Musharraf has done that in his regime.Recommend

  • saad
    Jan 17, 2011 - 6:12PM

    if pml-q was not gud than wht was he doing wid dem 4 8 yrs ..sorry mush votes r not easy 2 get coz this tym u r not in uniform..Recommend

  • salim
    Jan 17, 2011 - 6:16PM

    Far better than any of the corrupt politicians on the scene. Take for instance the ‘Tiger’ born on the lap of a ruthless dictator ‘popular’ for martial law regulations, military courts and vicious public lashings.Recommend

  • Hussain
    Jan 17, 2011 - 6:34PM

    Hello Musharuf, Still you are thinking that people of pakistan will Vote for you. They dare for your……, If you are honest person which you think, then present yourself to judicary and people of your motherland where you ruled almost 10years and played with future of pakistan. I agree with all my brothers in pakistan that almost all our politician are what they they think is true.But what you have done to pakistan you should ask your self. Recommend

  • Q
    Jan 17, 2011 - 7:15PM

    All those criticizing Ex-President Musharraf either are deliberately distorting facts or they have no understanding of governance. He has a long list of achievements which impacted each sector and industry of Pakistan. Thank you PM.Recommend

  • voiceofsilenc3
    Jan 17, 2011 - 7:48PM

    Mr Musharaf was and still is an excellent strategist & established general he is the best of the best at what he does but merely all these attributes donot give him the right to hold the whole muslim nation hostage and govern the masses while pushin his secular agenda.Pakistan was made on the name of Islam,Pakistan has a goal to reach:outlined by Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal in detail and Musharaf is an underestimated hurdle in the vetical trajectory of Pakistan.
    Currently Musharaf is trying to build up undue pressure on Pakistan all over the world,what else do you think he is saying going all over the world? He defends the nation where it fits his agenda and unclothes them in the same lecture where it suits his argument to come across as an original but rather blunt critic.
    Pakistani of today needs not to look outside for the solution of his problems but look within and shuffle through our Rich Islamic history,the problem faced today are more or less the same as our ascendants faced. The only difference is they never let go of Islam,while we,Pakistanis of today run around like head less chickens looking for quick fix notions in the westrn influence.The influence that itself has originated with a soul cause of destuction of moral,social and ethical fibre of any society.
    Therefore,it is quite obvious why certain sections,however not in significant numbers or authority support moderate secular liberals like Mr Musharaf and it should be understood by every layman that the west in its entirity will always have vested interest in all the so called moderate liberals all over the Muslim world.Recommend

  • bold
    Jan 17, 2011 - 9:00PM

    Musharaf do not have any voters he only has facebook fans…His politics starts and ends on Facebook….so funny :-)Recommend

  • Copper
    Jan 17, 2011 - 9:49PM

    Only thing where Mushy can succeed is stand up comedy.Recommend

  • Hamza
    Jan 18, 2011 - 12:15AM

    Mush should have talk show!Recommend

  • Dr. ABHISHEK
    Jan 18, 2011 - 12:28PM

    Hahaha.. Pakistani leaders sit in London(most of them), Untouched with Grass root problems of Pakistan. At the election time and Meanwhile Lectures people on the Topics of their Likes(Enemy India and the Rose gardens of a Developed and Modern Pakistan).. No one dares to work on field to work for their people, make them educate, make them Aware, Help them having a National Vision. Musharraf Should be Awarded P.hd. for being an Expert Manipulator. Recommend

  • Amer
    Jan 18, 2011 - 1:33PM

    Why do people forget so many cases where Mush has destoryed the image, policy and everything else Pakistan has? Take the AQ Khan case, Lal masjid, Bugti case, drone attacks, shortcut Aziz and so many other faliures of Mush into account before you even say a word about his greatness etc, whatever the heck that means….Recommend

  • SUB
    Jan 18, 2011 - 6:43PM

    This was a one column, 5 or 6 lines news in Nawa i Waqt today. What a waste of internet space ETRecommend

  • Ishaq Jangua
    Jan 18, 2011 - 7:45PM

    Musharraf is best thing that has ever happened to Pakistan. General come and kick the corrupt out.Recommend

  • moin
    Jan 19, 2011 - 10:45AM

    Parvaiz Musharraf waapas aa-o!
    Mulk ko ccoaroN se chhuTwaa-o!Recommend

  • karachiite
    Jan 20, 2011 - 7:55AM

    Musharraf must come back, in order to answer for his crimes of lal masjid massacreRecommend

  • chandran
    Jan 20, 2011 - 9:27AM

    musharraf is always welcomed in INDIA even without pakisthani passport
    after all he is an Indian muslim. Thats called votbank poltics in INDIA
    jamail-ul-hind, all india Ulma council deouband, bariley, meerut, mordabad muslims will give him the moral support. hahahahaRecommend

  • Canuckistani
    Jan 22, 2011 - 12:25AM

    Mush’s term was good for Pakistan despite some very tragic mis-steps by him. However, I think he is making a fool of himself by trying to still get back into the seat of power. He’s going to put Pakistan through turmoil to serve his own ego, just like he did during the end of his tenure. He unleashed Bibi/Zardari and Nawaz back onto the public despite assuring us that he wouldn’t let that happen. If he comes to Pakistan, not only will he put the legal system through serious trials but he will be the target of constant assassination attempts which would cost the public far too much to secure against. Now if he wants to serve Pakistan, the best thing he can do is live a retired life abroad and stay there without making too many public statements. Recommend

  • chandran
    Jan 22, 2011 - 11:55AM

    you pakisthani people should support this muhajir general
    and he is loyal solider to his mother land sorry his father land
    because his birth in india hahha If I’m a pakisthani I will vote
    for himRecommend

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