Musharraf eyes Pakistan presidency in political comeback

11th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf vowed to return to politics in a bid to restore the country's self-confidence and thinks he could become president again.

The retired army general told BBC radio he would form a new political party and stand for parliament at the next general election in 2013.

The ex-president said he would return to Pakistan before then and acknowledged that doing so would be risking his life.

The 67-year-old said he was not scared of possible legal cases against him and insisted that he had to try to lift Pakistan out of its "pathetic situation".

He admitted his popularity had waned but said it was still strong among the majority of Pakistanis who do not vote.

"Two hundred percent I will participate in the next election. Standing for myself. Standing for a party that I'll create," Musharraf said Friday in London, where he lives in exile.

"I do intend creating a new party because I think the time has come in Pakistan when we need to introduce a new political culture: a culture which can take Pakistan forward on a correct democratic path, not on an artificial, make-believe democratic path."

Asked if he was confident of becoming the next president of Pakistan, the former army chief replied: "No I can't be assured, I can't be confident, but I believe there is a good chance of my winning on the political scene.

"I haven't decided whether I'm going to be president or anything, but however, winning first of all in the next election is the issue.

"I can't be sure of that also but as I said, there is a good chance and I believe very strongly that it's better to try and fail rather than not try and go down without trying, because at this moment we see darkness all over in Pakistan.

"We have to show light, we have to show an alternative or viable alternative where people see light and gain some confidence, because there is total breakdown of self-confidence of the people of Pakistan. They have lost hope in Pakistan. It's a pathetic situation."

Musharraf ousted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999. He was president from 2001 and has mostly lived in London since resigning in 2008.

Musharraf was asked about fears that money donated towards flood relief in Pakistan might end up lost in corruption.

"There is corruption in Pakistan, there is no doubt about it, it is heartbreaking how people are not bothered about the country. They have a lot of money and yet they are corrupt," he said.

"The advice I would like to give is they ought to be careful on who they are giving the money to.

"One thing that I would like to advise when you give your money, a donor or an organisation getting the money, it's good that they show so many hundred thousand dollars collected but we should ask how much is going to the people?"

© 2010 AFP

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