KARACHI–Pakistan needs more provinces and a third political force to break the current nexus of two prominent political parties sharing power since the late 1980s, former president retired General Pervez Musharraf said at a meeting arranged by Maulana Ehteramul Haq Thanvi at Creek Club on Saturday.
Taking almost an hour before letting the general speak, Maulana Thanvi said that his acquaintances still thought that he “sold out to a general” after facing military courts during Gen Zia’s regime. But he remarked that “by supporting an inadequate democracy I realised my mistake and thought it better to support a good general”.
The meeting was attended by senior lawyers, religious leaders of all sects, journalists and a few politicians. The maulana said that he deliberately did not invite members of an “ill-mannered political party who while criticising Ziaul Haq are still dependent on his ideology”.
The former president touched upon many issues, including the treason case against him in the Supreme Court bearing five charges, including imposing an emergency rule after suspending the constitution. He remained defensive throughout the meeting while bringing the treason charges against him repeatedly, adding: “What’s more important, the constitution or the country? If as the head of the state I feel something is against the interest of my country, I’ll take action and it should not be seen with suspicion.”
He said the current leadership must be charged with treason as “they are busy plundering the state left, right and centre”.
He suggested that what the country needed at the moment were more provinces for the state to function properly. He said the biggest problems facing the country were religious militancy and sect-based targeted killings.
While speaking of targeted killings, he spoke about Karachi and said that the base of the city’s many ills lay in its political conflict and that targeted killings cannot be stopped without untangling the many political conflicts inflicting the city at present. Religious militancy, he said, could be tackled through military courts, but “its implementation and efficacy remains crucial”.
Bringing up the sit-ins held by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehreek last year, he said the dharnas proved that the “government stands discredited”.
And that the public is gaining awareness, he said, adding “…we need a third force to break the political nexus of two major political parties that get into power each time without giving anything to the country, rather weakening it further”.
About Article 6, he said he thought it “a joke that a leader and a general like me is on trial for treason”.
Reacting to talk of Pakistan on its way to become a failed state, Mr Musharraf said: “Pakistan won’t fail. It would continue to exist because it has a diligent army.”
At the same time, he added, the enemy states were busy creating turmoil in Pakistan by exploiting the vulnerable groups in the country.
“We need to be equally assertive with our rival or friendly states that Pakistan will always come first whether it suits their interests or not. But for us to be that assertive, we need to have a strong internal command or leadership which is not visible at the moment.”
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
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