August 03 , 2017

Civilians ruin, military rule brings "prosperity" in Pakistan: Musharraf

In an interview with BBC Urdu on Wednesday, former president, Retd. General Pervez Musharraf lauded the rule of former dictators, claiming that dictatorial regimes bring the country on track, whereas civilian governments derail it.

Musharraf went on to claim that whenever a martial law has been declared in Pakistan, “it was the need of the hour” and that military rule has brought nothing but “prosperity” and “development” to Pakistan.

"What is the point of holding elections and giving liberty [to the population], if the country does not see progress?" he said.

He also said that not just Pakistan but all Asian countries have seen progress because of dictators and further went on to add that it makes no difference to the population of Pakistan whether the country is being governed by an elected government or by an autocrat, as long as there is progress and prosperity.

Musharraf was assertive to blame the era of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for “breaking the country” and applauded Ayub Khan’s efforts for setting “the record of progress in the country.” While Musharraf did accept General Zia-ul-Haq's rule as controversial, he maintained that Haq’s decision to help America and the mujahideen against the Soviet Union at the time of the Afghanistan invasion was the correct decision to make.

While addressing his 1999 coup against democratically-elected Nawaz Sharif, in which he seized power from him, Musharraf said, “The coup was staged because it was the demand of the country's people".

He added that citizens in Pakistan should have the option to remove a civilian government and asserted the need for “checks and balances” in the Constitution."The people come running to the army to be saved; people come to me asking to be saved," he said.

"The people come running to the army to be saved; people come to me asking to be saved," he said.

On matters of foreign policy, Musharraf duly critiqued former PM Nawaz Sharif’s India policy, calling it a “total sell-out.”

"India is involved in Balochistan. Whoever works actively against the welfare of Pakistan is against the country and should be killed," he said.

When asked about his self-exile from Pakistan, Musharraf reaffirmed his belief in the army and said, “I have served as the head of the army and the army will always protect my welfare.”

Musharraf left Pakistan in March 2016, amidst an ongoing trial against him, saying he would return after his “medical treatments”. He was facing a treason case for clamping emergency in the country on Nov 3, 2007. In his last case hearing, Musharraf’s lawyer, Akhtar Shah, demanded adequate security measures for him before he could return to the country.

Musharraf has been in news recently, ever since he posted a video of himself applauding the Supreme Court’s decision of disqualifying Nawaz Sharif and calling it “historic”. His comments were condemned by many on social media and were criticized for being “arrogant” and “hypocritical”.



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