I will return to Pakistan: Musharraf (Lead)

May 21st, 2010 - 4:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez Musharraf Washington, May 21 (IANS) Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has vowed to return to his country before the next elections whenever they may be held.
Musharraf told CNN Thursday that he was not sure about the timing of his return, but “it is related to the elections in Pakistan”.

“I am very sure of one thing, that whether it’s end-term elections or mid-term elections, I will be there before those elections,” he said.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, added that Pakistan could see a parliamentary election next year.

He stressed that his return would also be shaped by security concerns.

“Maybe my wife and my family (are) more worried than I am. But there are security issues which one needs to take into consideration. And that is why I’m not laying down any dates for my return.

“But, I do intend launching and declaring my intentions formally sooner rather than later,” he said.

Would Musharraf want to rule Pakistan again?

“The question … of whether I am running for president or prime minister will be seen later,” the former army chief replied.

“We run a parliamentary system there. So you have to - your party has to win in the election. Then only do you decide to run.

“Basically, you are heading the party, you are running for the prime ministership. In Pakistan, the chief executive is the prime minister, not the president.”

He also spoke about the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who died soon after returning to Pakistan in December 2007.

“It was (I) who warned her about the threat to her. It was I who stopped her from going to that venue once before, to which a lot of political aspersions were cast on me that her movements are being restricted. But she decided to go again.

“All the security, wherever possible … by the police was provided to her (Benazir).”

Musharraf came out strongly against US drone attacks targeted at Islamist militants from Pakistan and elsewhere.

“I wonder whether this Faisal Shahzad incident … has he been affected by indiscriminate bombing by the drones,” he said.

Pakistani-American Shahzad has been accused of attempting to bomb Times Square May 1.

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