Musharraf seeks apology from Pakistani nation


LONDON: Former president Gen. (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf Friday admitted that political mistakes were committed in the twilight years of his regime and sought apology from Pakistani nation for the same.

“These mistakes caused damage to the country,” he said while addressing a program held here to formally announce launching of his party – All Pakistan Muslim League (APML).

“All Pakistan Muslim League to wage jihad against poverty and illiteracy,” Pervez Musharraf vowed, adding the time for talks is over and now it is time to act.

He invited all Pakistanis to come forward and join hands with APML and strengthen it.

He said his party manifesto will be governed by three documents – the Holy Qura’an, Quaid’s 11 August 1947 Constituent Assembly address and 12 April 1949 Objective Resolution by Liaquat Ali Khan.

He described nepotism and corruption as the biggest curse for any society and vowed to rid the country of the same.

“Internal and external threats will be dealt with strongly and the fight against terrorism will continue till the elimination of this scourge,” the APML Chief pledged.

He said GDP growth will be raised to over 6 percent, referring to 8 percent growth achieved during his government.

“I believe in freedom of media and will support it thoroughly…only those are afraid of media who have got dirty laundry to hide,” he said.

Today I announce starting my political career and joining the All Pakistan Muslim League, he said.

“I want to begin my political career with clean slate.” Geo News

Former President General (R) Pervez Musharraf on Friday announced his formal entry into national politics by launching All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) and apologised unreservedly for his past political decisions which he said did not go down well with the people of Pakistan.
He also accepted the request of his supporters to become the president of the newly launched party which he claimed has been formed to bring light and hope for the people of Pakistan.
Speaking at the launch at a central London venue Friday afternoon, the ex-army chief also issued a ten-page covenant which also included the party manifesto spelling out the aims and objectives on different policy issues and how his party will attempt to resolve them. He said the party has crafted a new social contract taking guidance from the holy Quran, the speech of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 and the original objectives resolution that was presented to the Constituent Assembly by the country’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan on April 12, 1949.
The 67-year-old former general spoke on a range of issues but gave no deadline on his return to Pakistan from the UK where he has been residing since 2008 when he resigned from the presidentship. “But I am certain that I will return to Pakistan once the election dates are announced,” he said.
He claimed that no cases are registered against him in Pakistani courts and if there are any, he is ready to face them on his return to the country. He also invited other political leaders and the youth to join his party for the progress and development of the country.
He also defended his rule from 1999-07 and claimed that many nation-building projects were undertaken by his administration. He also unfurled the party’s green flag with white border. The flag depicts a falcon below the crescent and star. He praised the attributes of falcon which he said was a formidable bird that flies high and remains a solitary. Musharraf said he wants his party to act as an umbrella body of all Muslim League parties in Pakistan.
The ex-president regretted the decision to remove the chief justice of Pakistan in 2007 which he admitted caused slump in his popularity and consequently led to his eventual resignation from the highest post in the country. However, Musharraf said he has learned from his past mistakes and was now a much wiser person.
AFP adds: “I am in the process of creating an environment — the stronger I am politically, the more ground there will be for me to go and protect myself also,” Musharraf told BBC radio.
He brushed off the threat of treason charges he could face on his return, but admitted there were “other dangers”, including assassination attempts from Islamists, who twice tried to kill him when he was in power.
“I’ll take the risk, but I’ll take the risk at the right time,” Musharraf said, adding: “I won’t wait until 2013.” Earlier this week, he explained at a public debate in London his reasons for returning, saying: “When I see what is happening in Pakistan I think there is a bigger cause, and when there is a bigger cause you have to take risks.”
Musharraf said Pakistan’s current leaders were failing to “show any signs of light in the darkness that prevails in Pakistan”. He repeated his last week interview Friday, saying the military were the only resort for Pakistani people frustrated with their government, who he said was crippled by corruption and nepotism.
“We cannot allow Pakistan to disintegrate, that cannot be allowed. No Pakistani will allow that, no Pakistani wants that. So who’s the saviour? The army can do it. Can anyone else do it? No, nobody else can do it,” he said.
Musharraf said the insurgents could be defeated, but warned Western plans to pull their troops out of Afghanistan would be counterproductive as it would “boost” homegrown extremism that was inspired by the Taliban.
“I think they can be defeated, but if I have any doubts on whether we can win, I would say it’s been a failure of leadership in the United States and Europe… and a failure of leadership in Pakistan,” he said.
“Nobody is telling the people who are demanding their soldiers to come back that this will be their worst decision, it will be a blunder. People here or in the United States think you are fighting somebody else’s war.”
PPI adds: “I acknowledge that during the last years of my regime, there were some decisions, which I can term as political mistakes,” he said, adding, “I promise not to commit them again. I start my political career with clean slate.” The News

Dawn report

LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf launched his ‘All Pakistan Muslim League’ party here on Friday and apologised for the mistakes he said he had committed towards the end of his nine-year rule.

“I am aware of the fact that there were some decisions which I took which resulted in negative political repercussions, which had adverse effects on nation-building and national political events, and my popularity also, may I say, plummeted in that last year. I take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to the whole nation. Human beings make mistakes,” Gen (retd) Musharraf told scores of cheering supporters.

But he vowed to galvanise people and fight a “jihad against poverty, hunger, illiteracy and backwardness”.

The programme, attended by a number of politicians who were in his government, was compered by Advocate Naim Bukhari who had fired the first shot at the chief justice of the Supreme Court, a few days before Mr Musharraf launched his attack on the judiciary which marked the beginning of the end of his rule.

The retired general unveiled the new political party and its manifesto at a gentlemen’s club in Whitehall Palace. Tight security arrangements were made with all those entering the room being thoroughly checked.

Mr Musharraf attacked the “total despondency and demoralisation and hopelessness which prevails in society today” and said: “The time has come to redeem our pledge… to ensure the fruits of freedom are shared by all. The time has come for a new social contract to keep the dream of our forefathers alive… to make Pakistan into a progressive Islamic state for others in the Third World to emulate.”

He said the new party would be a ‘national salvation’ that would “galvanise all Pakistanis regardless of religion, caste or creed” and warned the country’s current government was failing to “show any signs of light in the darkness that prevails in Pakistan”.

He said under his government there would be progress in every field. “I have confidence I can lead Pakistan towards light.”

He said: “New social system will consist of three documents. Whatever we will do first of all it will be in conformity with Quran and Sunnah. Second will be realisation of dream of Quaid-i-Azam and third will be Objectives Resolution.”

Mr Musharraf said he would contest the next elections in 2013, although he announced he would return to Pakistan before then.

Answering a question, he said: “Whatever the dangers, whatever the pitfalls, I will be in Pakistan before the next election.”

The 67-year-old acknowledged threats from militants, but brushed off the threat of treason charges he could face on his return.

“Today there is no case against me in the courts of Pakistan. Whatever cases have been instituted have been done on political grounds. That I am prepared to face when I get there,” he said.

Mr Musharraf made the announcement against a backdrop comprising the white and green colours of Pakistan’s flag and his APML’s logo, the crescent and star of the national flag and a hawk’s head.

He cited Iqbal’s verses to explain the significance of the symbol of hawk (Shaheen) that he has selected for his party.

He declared that he had the experience to tackle the challenges of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the spread of extremism in Pakistan. He insisted that unless Pakistan was part of the fight against terrorism and extremism, “that fight will not succeed.”

He said he would not do anything different this time around, saying his regime made strides to stamp out terror threats and that a crucial part of his strategy would be improving the economy.

“There will be zero tolerance for extremism,” he said. He said he was launching the party in London because he risked assassination if he returned to Pakistan. He will spread his message at a rally in Birmingham on Saturday.

His speech and comments later made at a press conference were greeted by criticism from leaders of mainstream political parties who appeared on Pakistan TV channels and declared that the ‘ousted dictator’ had no future in politics.

PULLOUT ASSAILED
In a BBC interview on Friday, Mr Musharraf said the militants could be defeated, but warned West’s plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan would be counter-productive as it would “boost” home-grown extremism that was inspired by the Taliban.

“I think they can be defeated, but if I have any doubts on whether we can win, I would say it’s been a failure of leadership in the United States and Europe… and a failure of leadership in Pakistan,” he told BBC.

“Nobody is telling the people who are demanding their soldiers to come back that this will be their worst decision, it will be a blunder. People here or in the United States think you are fighting somebody else’s war.”

Criticising the Pakistani government, he said: “When there is a dysfunctional government and the nation is going down, its economy is going down, there is a clamour, there is a pressure on the military by the people.”

It is unclear how much support Mr Musharraf still has within the military. Many of his close allies in the army and in the intelligence services have since retired.

“He doesn’t have the same kind of clout he did,” Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain said. “He’s yesterday’s man.”–Agencies

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