Unwavering loyalties: Musharraf inclined to stand by army

Former president rules out the possibility of a military takeover.


Express January 16, 2012

NEW DELHI: Former president and chief of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) General Pervez Musharraf said that keeping in retrospect the current civil-military tensions, he was ‘reasonably sure’ that the military will not resort to a coup.

“I don’t think the army intends to take over. The environment is not at all conducive for the army to do so. I think it (army) understands that,” Musharraf told Indian journalist Karan Thapar at CNN-IBN’s show ‘Devil’s Advocate’.

However, he also made it clear wherein his loyalties will lie in the aftermath of any such eventuality.

“I’ve been an army man and I can never imagine being against the army ... I am with the army, I will stand by the army,” he made it clear.

Alliance with PTI

Musharraf, whose APML recently organised a rally in Karachi which drew a lukewarm response from supporters, said he was open to forming an alliance with cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), but will not serve under the latter if he is elected to power.

“If they [the PTI] want an alliance, certainly I would like to have a coalition. We have arrived at a third political option precisely because the present two political alternatives have been tried and found wanting,” he asserted.

“There is need of a coalition of forces which can bring about the ‘third political option’ which might be able to deliver for the country,” Musharraf, who intends to return to Pakistan from self-exile later this month, added.

He made it clear he was aware of people in Imran’s party, who kept saying that they will not get into an alliance with him.

“But they don’t have a vision. These politicians don’t understand what they are talking about. They go into the field and lose and then (people) choose the same party,” reflected Musharraf.

However, at the same time, Musharraf ruled out any chance of him serving ‘under’ Imran, if and whenever the alliance came into power.

“I cannot serve under him. I can be outside ... I cannot serve under anyone basically,” the former military ruler said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2012.

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