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Musharraf for tit for tat response to India

14 October, 2014

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KARACHI: Pervez Musharraf said on Monday that Pakistan should respond tit for tat for ceasefire violations by India along the Working Boundary and Line of Control (LoC).

In an interview with a private news channel, the former military ruler spoke his heart about ongoing skirmishes with India. He said Pakistan has limitations as it knows that if it responded with shelling, the Kashmiri brethren on the other side of the LoC would be the ultimate sufferers. Musharraf said the Indian government and the army has no concern for the sufferings of the Kashmiri people.

"Mr Modi is an anti-Muslim and an anti-Pakistan politician. While negotiating with him one must hold cards close," Musharraf said. "Instead of running to attend his (Modi) inauguration like we used to do in British Raj, we should keep our dignity," the former president said.

Musharraf said diplomacy is driven through domestic strength and via leadership qualities, both of which are lacking currently. "In diplomatic overtures national interests should be held supreme instead of personal interests. Sovereign equality, honour and dignity are each nation's right," he said.

On completion of 16 years after he took power from Nawaz Sharif government in 1999 in a military coup and initiation of different trials against him, Musharraf said he is free to move anywhere but security issues confine him. "I have always led from the front even as an army commander and its chief during war and peace. My fellow soldiers and peers respected me and respect me.

"I have earned respect with my actions and belief that still Pakistan Army loves me," said the former dictator. He admitted that he had made mistakes in the past. "NRO was one of my mistakes. But it was after due argument and discussion that in the national interest I agreed half-heartedly. But when I look back today it is one of the decisions I despise," Musharraf said. "However, what can I do? If our courts after 10 years are absolving people like Asif Zardari of 8 out of 10 cases. I could not have influence on court's decision. It was court's responsibility to decide which unfortunately was not done," he said.

However, Musharraf said he felt vindicated on the reference that he submitted with the Supreme Judicial Council against former CJP Iftikhar Chaudhry and time proved that all the charges against him were right. Musharraf explained that Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry got appointed as per rules of the Supreme Court, not by his personal choice, and he respected those rules. Further, he mentioned that again time showed that the lawyers' movement was nothing short of a political ploy and how much damage Iftikhar Chaudhry has done to the nation unfortunately. He also said his decision on Lal Masjid was right.

"We took all decisions amicably in the cabinet and I strongly denounce perception that I took dictatorial decisions," said the former president. "We gave institutions to Pakistan and tried to stabilize and strengthen them," he insisted. "In my time, Pakistanis were respected and had honour globally, but now they walk with their heads down unfortunately," he said.

"What this so-called democracy has given to the nation and its people apart from weakening it?" he questioned. "There is no point getting elections done in this environment without procedural, structural and electoral reforms. The whole system needs re-engineering. Otherwise the same lot would get elected and come into power from other platforms," he said.

Musharraf admitted trusting some wrong people but insisted that it was unintentional. "The character of all those people showed up when chips were down," he said. He showed surprise as to how some of them despise him today though they enjoyed power. He agreed to give in on the choice of people when PML-Q could not get absolute majority and coalition government had to be formed. He said the 14 people that he selected still remain untainted. He said about 40 bomb- or bullet-proof cars were returned as he left power unlike others.

"There is a lack of national character and reason why due to the patwari and thana culture the pseudo politicians want to remain with those who are in power. I feel sorry for such politicians and people who ditched me after enjoying power during my time," he reiterated. He said he is not a vindictive person and never took any revenge from the Sharif family.

End.

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