Former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday said Taliban were ‘our own people’, who had gone a little astray.
He supported the idea of having dialogue with militants. But he cautioned that all such overtures should be made with dignity, adding that peace could not be begged for.
“You cannot plead like an orphan – ‘please do not beat me’. I do not believe in it,” Musharraf added.
In his first interview after being released on bail, Musharraf said he had no intention of leaving the country as he wanted to face all the cases against him in the courts of law and hoped to prove his innocence.
“I solemnly say that whatever I did in the eight years of my rule, I did in the best interest of the country and for the best interest of the people. One may point out that I committed some wrong. But no wrong was done deliberately and with a bad intention,” he said.
The former president said if he got another chance he would again do whatever he thought would be favourable to the country and its people.
He said he put the interest of the country above everything else and would keep this in view despite any differences with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He said the 90% officials of the time advised him not to liberate the media but he was of the view that Pakistan needed a free media for its progress and prosperity.
“Frankly I shall want to take the credit of making the media free here,” he said, adding that those who benefited the most from this freedom now spoke against him.
He claimed that a well-known anchor of a big channel had been urging him to initiate operation against the Lal Masjid people.
About the supporters who ditched him in the time of need he said: “There are always ups and downs in life.”
Speaking about terrorism, he said there was always a foreign hand behind such acts, including Taliban attacks, unrest in Balochistan and sectarianism.
He said he had introduced real democracy in the country through local governments. “The steps I took empowered women and provided rights to minorities.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 20th, 2013.