Former President and General Pervez Musharraf (Retd) on Tuesday demanded re-engineering of the present political system to improve governance and steer the country out of the multitude of crises. Speaking to ex-servicemen of Pakistan-First forum, Musharraf said the core issue at the moment is to change the political system as the present inept and corrupt political leadership has failed to resolve the issues directly attached to the welfare of public.
“Pakistan must emerge as a dynamic, vibrant and Islamic welfare state,” he said, adding that the goal can be achieved by improving economy and defeating terrorism. General Musharraf spoke to the gathering of around 150 ex-servicemen including Lieutenants-General, Majors-General and Brigadiers for the first time after securing bail in numerous criminal cases filed against him.
He said it was entirely his own decision to return to Pakistan, despite all the security threats. “I consulted many people before coming back to Pakistan but it was entirely my own decision. I don’t rely on crutches,” he said. Referring to cases against him, General Musharraf said he has strong conviction that all the cases against him are fabricated, false and concocted. “Why should I behave like a fugitive all my life,” he said, adding that even if he had returned to Pakistan ten years later, the cases against him would have been there.
General Musharraf said that people think as if he is a foolhardy but he feels that he took a calculated risk. “Risk is always there and a leader is the one who take risks for betterment of the people and the country,” he said. He said that he was disappointed the way cases against him were unnecessarily being delayed and injustices being done. “I hope that justice will be done in future,” he added.
Talking about the present situation, he said the country is passing through the most critical stage of history at the moment and the army is bearing the brunt. “Our soldiers have sacrificed and given lives for betterment of Pakistan. We are proud of them,” he said, adding that Pakistan has all the potential and resources to become a vibrant and prosperous country on the earth.
Lamenting the role of media, General Musharraf said that media keep on discussing the difference between dictatorship and democracy, but nobody is concerned about the well being of the people. “Inflation was under control when I was in power as the dollar remained between Rs 60 to Rs 61,” he said, adding that in his tenure all the sectors including agriculture, dairy, water management, industry, information technology, exports, culture and heritage were progressing.
Speaking on the occasion, Lieutenant General Javed Alam Khan (Retd) said the Pakistan-First forum was established in January 2012 to counter army and ISI bashing in the media. “Trying General Musharraf under Article 6 of the constitution is inconceivable. We are worried about it and struggling for justice,” he said. Anwar Mansoor Khan, a former attorney general for Pakistan and one of the lawyers for General Musharraf’s legal team, said the constitution was abrogated on a number of occasions.
“Interestingly, when courts were moved against coups initiated by General Ayub Khan and General Yahya Khan, they ruled that when a revolution becomes successful it cannot be termed illegal,” he said. Referring to October 1999 coup, Khan said all the acts of General Musharraf were validated by Supreme Court of Pakistan and the parliament through an Article 270AA made amendment in the constitution.
He said the parliament amended the article 270AA in the 18th amendment and included the word ‘abeyance’ in the constitution. “The day General Musharraf imposed emergency in the country, the word abeyance was not in the constitution and it cannot be applied retrospectively,” he said, adding the government also violated the constitution by constituting a special court for treason trial against Musharraf.