Musharraf warns of new military coup in Pakistan

Published: September 30, 2010
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Musharraf said the armed forces should play a larger political role. PHOTO: AFP

Musharraf said the armed forces should play a larger political role. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf warned on Wednesday that Pakistan’s military could launch another coup, as he prepared to launch a new party and rejoin the country’s turbulent politics.

The retired general said army chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani could be forced to intervene against the government of President Asif Ali Zardari which he said had failed to tackle rampant militancy and a crumbling economy.

Musharraf cited as evidence a reported crisis meeting this week between Kayani, Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Asked whether he thought there was a likelihood of a new coup, he told the Intelligence Squared debating forum in London: “Well, 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. There was a serious discussion of some kind or other and certainly at this moment all kinds of pressures must be on this army chief.”

The 67-year-old said similar “pressures” when he was head of the army from 1998 to 1999 had led him to launch the coup against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif. “In that one year Pakistan was going down and a number of people, including politicians, women, men, came to me telling me ‘Why are you not acting? Are you going to act for Pakistan’s good?” Musharraf said. “Now I am in a dilemma — the army chief, what does he do? There is no constitutional provision, what does he do?”

Musharraf said the armed forces need to play a larger political role, as he discussed plans for his own bid to return to power as a civilian. Musharraf confirmed that he would launch a new political party in London on Friday to contest the next elections in 2013 but refused to say when he would return to Pakistan, where he could face treason charges.

He said the army should have a constitutional role, rather than an informal position in the country’s leadership and asserted that the army should play its part in keeping checks and balances and ensuring good governance. He was speaking in a public interview with former British ambassador to the US Christopher Meyer.

He said Zardari’s government had failed adequately to deal with Pakistan’s moribund economy, the threat from Taliban militants, and the after effects from devastating floods earlier this year. Pakistan’s powerful military has ruled the country for over half of the country’s existence since independence from Britain in 1947.

Meanwhile, analysts have pointed to rumours that the military is gearing up to engineer an alternative to President Asif Ali Zardari’s elected government. They suggest Musharraf could carve out a space for himself as a negotiator between the military and civilian leadership.

Musharraf is set to unveil the manifesto of his newly launched All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) on October 1. His claims that he can become the president of the country once again have drawn scorn from political rivals. The ruling PPP government has said that Musharraf will have to face the courts upon his return.

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Reader Comments (45)

  • Malik Tabeer
    Sep 30, 2010 - 11:59AM

    I think that would be best thing to keep check and balance on GOVT and also it could keep Government satisfied from military coup
    Malik Tabeer
    USA,BostonRecommend

  • khf
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:12PM

    he is right…. Recommend

  • Pakiboy
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:13PM

    Failed democracy … the General’s idea of ruling pakistan through controlled democracy ultimately becoming truth … The wisdom of country has failed miserably….The have been telling all that democracy is the solution of all problems where as democracy is the root cause of all issues in the country… democracy through illetrate cannot solve problems of country middle class and illeterates themselves. Either we need to sit down as wise people and bring about a new modified system or there will be chaos in the country Recommend

  • Pakiboy
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:18PM

    Whenever there is trouble in country you call Army to solve and when its smooth sailing Politicians say that they have right to rule. How funny this country is.Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2010 - 12:28PM

    As if army has solved all problems in previous coups, Zardari Govt might be incompetent but there are hell lot of competent individuals who can work for better Pakistan.Recommend

  • TJD
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:43PM

    Absolutely head on Mr. President! The constitution needs to be amended to allow army to play a more pro-active role in running the state. What this democracy has delivered, we will find out in the next few months.Recommend

  • Asim Ali
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:46PM

    Fully agree with Gen. Musharraf. Democracy has given us the worst from the worst. Their only qualification is getting into the assemblies, through loot and plunder. Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2010 - 12:48PM

    whenever army want to take over trouble is start in county , allegation of corruption , security risk , fake media stories , rumors on dally basis etc . it is old drink with new label . but i think time is not favorable that’s why government may get extension of six month Recommend

  • Syed A. Mateen
    Sep 30, 2010 - 12:54PM

    I do not foresee any military coup in Pakistan.

    Keep your fingers cross.Recommend

  • Rao Hamid
    Sep 30, 2010 - 1:00PM

    All the leaders we have had in the past and especially the ones we have now are super corrupt. I think Musharraf is not as clean as we think, but I sure would prefer him over the current duo! Recommend

  • Adil
    Sep 30, 2010 - 1:02PM

    I agree with Musharraf. You can’t hand over democracy to an overwhelmingly ‘jaahil’ population. Our people don’t deserve the right to free thought and decision making. Democracy can only work where the level of education/literacy in the masses reaches an appropriate level – a level where people can think right, for the larger benefit of society and not just for themselves. This will in turn cleanse our ruling class, which undeniably stems from the masses.

    An example which endorses the above argument is that of the United States, where only a few decades ago the African American population wasn’t allowed to vote in elections. The reason; they were backward and uneducated. But when the civil rights movement began, the world recognized them and they were allowed in the mainstream American political system.

    There has to be an army role in the constitution – because it’s the only institution that wields some real power and can bring changes for good.Recommend

  • Syed Nayyar Uddin Ahmad
    Sep 30, 2010 - 1:09PM

    If wishes were horses, Musharraf would ride.Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Sep 30, 2010 - 1:21PM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.This Musharraf’s prophecy Insha Allah shall come into being at any cost very soon because the current political instability paving the way of military coup and our leaders are displaying the most worst face of democracy in Pakistan before the world and they also have lost their trust and credibility very badly on large scale even before the world’s leaders and also in Pakistan.Pakistan Army is the only institution who gets rid Pakistan of turmoil and difficulties in the need of hour and that time of the hour has come.May Allah Almighty save,rescue and secure us from such these nominal democratic corrupt and NRO certified leaders (Aameen).Recommend

  • imran
    Sep 30, 2010 - 1:22PM

    Definately this country has gone to dogs. Any one supporting the present setup must be benefitting otherwise for ordinary folks this period is no less than going through hell.Recommend

  • Usama Zafar
    Sep 30, 2010 - 1:35PM

    For the first time I do not agree with Musharraf. We do not want Pakistan to become a police state controlled by the army. Why do we need the ARMY for keeping checks and balances in the society? I agree that the present government has failed to deliver but running to the army is certainly not the solution to the problem as we have tried several militiary regimes in the past as well and unfortunately they haven’t worked well. I would support Musharraf if he comes back as a civilian and contests the election in a proper democratic way but if he is planning to increase the role of the army in our institutions then he certainly does not have my vote!!Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2010 - 1:55PM

    Mr. Musharraf, politicians and bureaucrats,

    Plunder ! loot ! political loan defaults and write-offs, with the SBP acting as a facilitator ! tax dodging ! siphoning of aid, grants and loan funds ! corruption rife in government offices ! (you name it, it’s there), backward political somersaults (Hasba Bill, Police Order 2002 and the list goes on) non-implentation of the law, NEPOTISM, FEUDALISM, overseas shopping sprees (without paying excess baggage and taxes) and what not seems to be our lot and the order of the day. What a country it is. Tailor made for the professionally criminalized.

    The global community must be guffawing at our politicians clowning away and popping champaigne bottles. “AaaHHH ! the Pakistanis are doing a splendid job.”

    Mr. Musharraf ! you are welcome to come back to Pakistan and try once again to lead the country but there are some caveats for you that are ominous and glaring down at your charisma, The major one is the Supreme Court. If you are a man, then come back and face the challenges and cross the quagmire of quicksand created by you. And then if you come clean, nothing will be more nicer, wholesome and salubrious than to rub the guilt of your chest and rid yourself of the demons now haunting you. Some of the demons are available in the PML Q, PML N the PPP and the Citibank super banker, Mr. Shaukat Aziz .

    This blogger will be the first one to congratulate you and vote for you as he did in the referendum. But clear your name with the Supreme Court which is anathema for you.

    Sir ! we are on an “artificial respirator” by living on foreign dole outs. Let’s galvanize our physical and mental faculties and re-generate the fervour that gave us Pakistan. If you can deliver then the time to start is now, come back, otherwise welcome Jamaat e Islami, Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf and the MQM.

    With salams and best wishes. Recommend

  • Another opinion
    Sep 30, 2010 - 2:31PM

    Musharraf will say anything to stay relevant.Recommend

  • Copper
    Sep 30, 2010 - 2:32PM

    There is a proverb in urdu “rassi jal gayee per bal na gai”. Pakistan army should change its logo to “Join army to become president”Recommend

  • Yousaf
    Sep 30, 2010 - 2:42PM

    I bet..if army takes over the present government…none of the general public will come out to protest.

    General is absolutely right…this government is failed and completely failed. See what international community is talking about us… Recommend

  • Sultan Ahmed
    Sep 30, 2010 - 3:07PM

    I have seen the days
    when Musharraf was president,
    poor people were sleep with comfort,
    everything was under control.

    And now beyond the control.Recommend

  • Shahid
    Sep 30, 2010 - 3:08PM

    I was there at the talk yesterday and Musharraf did not warn of any coup on the horizon. He was speaking generally about the role of the military in Pakistan and how people come flocking to the COAS to ask him to intervene every time the country is in turmoil. The reporter has misreported what he says. The quotes are accurate but if you just read them on their own you can see that he doesnt at any time state that he expects a coup to take place. And no he wasnt trying to imply it either.Recommend

  • Sep 30, 2010 - 3:09PM

    I am not sure how a coup turns out for Pakistan, but for those who think democracy is the answer for all this, they need to roll their eyes over history. When the democracy is crappy as it is and has been it is better to police the entire state minus the errors committed by the last military regime.Recommend

  • Amna Zaman
    Sep 30, 2010 - 3:15PM

    @sultan.Sensitive issue this is, I believe the army should be trying to protect the borders and fight the terrorist rather than eyeing the politics.Recommend

  • Rashid Saleem
    Sep 30, 2010 - 3:16PM

    Mr. FaceBook President’s comments are not funny but annoying for all of us. We as citizens support our government in their actions and believe that we will be able to get out of these troublesome times through combined efforts. Mr. FaceBook President should rather focus more on gathering more fans on his FB rather than suggesting such measures.Recommend

  • Hira Mir
    Sep 30, 2010 - 3:24PM

    The army is to occupied by operations in different regions with the terrorist. Getting them into politics can lead to perishing of any more hope of peace and democracy.Recommend

  • Maz
    Sep 30, 2010 - 4:48PM

    Mr Rashid you are living in dreams if u think ur present democracy setup can help the nation in any way.Yes first educate the the mass and then bring the democracy,so that the real meaning of democracy can be understood.Our poor illeterate people will vote for anyone who can give them food for one day and thats the reality lets face it all my fellow citizens.When our government start focusing on education only then we can expect light at the end of tunnel of illetreacy and feudalism.I feel Mushraff is the best option we have with moderate Islam with educating the true essence of the religion of peace.Recommend

  • Emmad
    Sep 30, 2010 - 5:19PM

    Army dictator always dream about coup. Recommend

  • M.S.Shaikh
    Sep 30, 2010 - 5:40PM

    The title of this report is misleading. This was not said nor implied. Please, do not make the Express Tribune into another local daily. Sensationalism has already destroyed the fabric of Pakistani journalism. Dear Editor, kindly make sure to cross-check.Recommend

  • MI
    Sep 30, 2010 - 8:39PM

    @Rashid Salim. There are many PMLN chamchas who have real trouble with rising popularity of Musharraf. Keep in mind that Musharraf and his fans are a reality and there opponents have to live with this reality. Musharraf comeback announcement is already keeping PMLN leadership sleepless. Look at the corrupt Sharifs who are looking towards judciary now for refuge, but nothing can stop Musharraf for coming back to his country.Recommend

  • Meekal Ahmed
    Sep 30, 2010 - 10:57PM

    He launched his coup from an aircraft even though he had no authority to do so since he had been replaced and retired. He was not the army chief anymore.

    His reasons for launching the coup as stated above is non-sense. He was sacked by NS following the humiliation of Kargil after NS was summoned by Clinton on July 4 a US national holiday and told words to the effect that he should “get the hell out of Kargil or else”.

    NS did not forgive Mush for his costly and humiliating mis-adventure. Kargil did not have an exit or end-plan. So what was the purpose of that “strategic” operation which he shamelessly bragged about in his book?

    Those interested should read Sartaj Aziz’s book — some bias notwithstanding.

    In a recent book there is chilling detail of how our fighters were abandoned and slaughtered by the IAF from the air and heavy-guns from Indian positions on land.

    As for a ‘constitutional’ role for the army that is exactly what he did when he took over. He set up a National Security Council — originally Gen. Jehangir Karamat’s idea over which NS sacked him. I knew people on the NSC. Within weeks it became clear that the NSC was toothless farce. I don’t think it ever met. I do know that my friend on the NSC resigned and subsequently left Pakistan.

    Is he going to set up another NFC?

    People do have short memories. Recommend

  • jai
    Oct 1, 2010 - 3:59AM

    Ah, the great Pakistani game continues. A military not under civilian control is not democracy. There is no such thing as “controlled democracy”. You are either free or you are not. Just like you are either pregnant or you are not. There is no partial freedom.
    Democracy takes time to take root. Unfortunately the one thing Pakistanis lack is patience. It takes decades before investing in strengthening democratic institutions starts paying dividends but with time it surely does.Recommend

  • Mawali
    Oct 1, 2010 - 4:50AM

    Dictatorship is a manifestation of incompetent, corrupt and unruly politicians. Recommend

  • Patriot
    Oct 1, 2010 - 11:16AM

    Look at the comments of those like Meekal Ahmed…wasting their useless time on getting provoked by misreported titlesRecommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 1, 2010 - 12:08PM

    AT this time pakistan need such kind of leader Recommend

  • hassan
    Oct 1, 2010 - 12:25PM

    @ patriot

    there scared!Recommend

  • ali hamdani
    Oct 1, 2010 - 1:30PM

    Another strike to the democracy of Pakistan means more oxygen to the terrorist to re group as the army is occupied by them. Army must stay away from politics.Recommend

  • Danish
    Oct 1, 2010 - 2:05PM

    @ Meekal Ahmed
    if NS had already fired Musharraf from the post of Army cheif and appointed someone else who was with him in the PM house, than why did NS have to deny permission to the aircraft from landing in Karachi? endangering the lives of not only Musharraf’s but 100’s of civilian passengers on the plane? Was he such a fool to be scared of a sacked army chief???? Recommend

  • s. nazir mohmand
    Oct 1, 2010 - 3:41PM

    Gen kayani has some what restored the image of the Army after a great ordeal, Mush want to take it back to square one, where he left it in doldrums. The present political dispensation is his legacy being the by product of Mush ,s NRO. The trouble is with NRO, which is the illegitimate baby of Mr Mush; he should not paste his spite on democracy but apologize for the crime he committed against this very poor nation by legitimizing billions of dollars siphoned through loot and plunder.

    The one who collapses on a single phone call, of course can dream for a coup, to find parallel in the history, other wise the obtaining environments by no means suggest so. In nutshell the retd General has got fixated with coups, continuation of war on terror by advocating no exit from Afghanistan, Face Book presidency, and innocent enough to have no role in the disappearance of Dr Afia.

    Better said than done, Land on this soil and try thy luck as a retd General, a spent force/cartridge, as he used to call his seniors. There is lot in the store for him. Mush could not match the resolve of a caged judiciary, It require steel nerves to face independent judiciary, and that also on the wrong side of the fence.Recommend

  • Patriot
    Oct 1, 2010 - 3:50PM

    @ Ali Hamdani…wake up dude… terrorists are striking at will much more than they did till 2007. They of course have sympathetic govt in punjab now!Recommend

  • MI
    Oct 1, 2010 - 5:38PM

    @Danish. Spot on, very well said.Recommend

  • Copper
    Oct 1, 2010 - 6:17PM

    @Maz

    first educate the the mass and then bring the democracy

    What was Mushy doing in 10 years? The nation would have atleast got matriculation during his 10 years. 10 years are enough to change the country, with all the powers in his hand. Compare simply the country’s state when he took over to when he left (rather kicked out).Recommend

  • Fayaz Hussain
    Oct 2, 2010 - 9:16AM

    Armies are formed for a very important task to protect the borders. That is the only task which the armies are performing through out the world. Why Musharaf want army’s active role in the politics.. that single biased feelings could lead Pakistan to no good..
    Have him frist of all face the courts according to the state law and than if he acquited from the court law only in that case he should be allowed to perform active role in politics..
    why culprits are given chances again and again to come over, commit crimes, and then run away for somee time only to return again to do the best cause of next chance of cheating …Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Oct 2, 2010 - 12:50PM

    Musharraf is the wolf who belongs to the category of the same politicians whom he is pointing his fingers at. He ruled for almost a decade and when he took over, Pakistan was falling and when he left Pakistan was falling with same speed. We want people who walk their talk!Recommend

  • aNu
    Oct 2, 2010 - 2:01PM

    Mush Please Come Back SooooooooooonRecommend

  • Gangly Khan
    Oct 2, 2010 - 6:49PM

    Mush has made party that consists of members residing not in Pakistan. He ruled the country for nine years. He enjoyed it at the cost of poor people. He disfigured the constitution. He increased number of seats in assemblies. He brought women in assemblies not through election but at the desire of party leaders. He made a banker prime minister who who acted like bank manager. He he increased number of generals in the forces and inducted women in it. He surrendered before Poul and gave US country air bases. He allowed foreign troops to operate in our country and thus damaged sovereignty. He acted like play boy and his partners in power gathered wealth through illegal means. He used army for foreigners. There is no deed he should feel proud of. He says there is darkness in Pakistan. I want to tell him that here it is broad day light. People are working and enjoying life. Life is in full swing here. However there is tussle among the power hungry people like him who want to exploit national resources and swell their accounts in foreign banks. There is also competition among the some organisations and political leader to collect charity in the name of flood beaten people. Mush has also availed this opportunity. Mush is a fired cartridge like his other retired generals who want to remain live in media. Otherwise they can be multiplied by zero. They are not capable of resolving public issues. Nor they can play politics. They had enough plots and money to live on comfortably. Besides people who live on pension have weak wings and can’t undertake long flight. They are just like old goats.Recommend

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