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Musharraf looks to "counter Indians on their home ground"

February 06, 2009 18:13 IST

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Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf [Images] is loving every moment of his retired life and is looking forward to his lecture tour to India next month, where he plans to counter the Indians on their home ground.

After being at the helm of affairs for nine years, the former military ruler is currently keeping himself busy giving lectures. He has just returned to Pakistan after a two-week lecture tour of the United States.

"I love this life. I am relaxed and satisfied. And I am enjoying my lecture tours. Next month I am going to India . Let's counter the Indians on their home ground," Musharraf, who still occupies the well-guarded Army House, the official residence of the army chief in Rawalpindi, told the Dawn newspaper.

The report did not provide specific details of his planned visit to India.

Musharraf also said he has no regrets about any of his actions since the military coup that brought him to power in October 1999.

He said the politicians were equally responsible for the state Pakistan was in and explained that the reason he resigned as the president was because Pakistan was facing "critical circumstances".

Musharraf was the "Big Speaker" at Stanford University during his lecture tour of the US. Despite a campaign by some Pakistanis to not let him speak, hordes of Americans showed up to hear him and the retired general is believed to have made quite a fortune.

Musharraf said democracy was the only system of government that must continue, but its British model was not suitable for Pakistan. He said the country needed a democratic model tailored to its specific needs.

He also appeared annoyed with those who believed that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was double crossing the Americans. "How can one assume the ISI is playing a double game? It was, in fact, the ISI that captured hundreds of al Qaeda operatives from Pakistan," he said.

"I made it clear to the Americans that Pakistan is doing enough in the war against terror. I warned them not to distrust the ISI which has played a key role in breaking al Qaeda networks in Pakistan," Musharraf said.

Musharraf rejected allegations that he had been showing leniency towards the Taliban [Images] terrorists. Referring to the abortive assassination attempts on his life, he said there was no way that he would have taken such elements lightly.

While he was reluctant to talk about Pakistan politics, Musharraf spoke extensively on the war against terror and Pakistan's relations with India. He believed that a half-hearted operation in the tribal areas and the north-western Swat valley would serve no purpose.

He claimed that during his tenure the terrorists were on the run, but they took undue advantage of recent peace initiatives of the incumbent government.

Musharraf proposed a sizeable increase in the strength of the paramilitary Pakistan Frontier Corps, saying it should be provided tanks and the latest weaponry to take on the militants.

His critics have been blaming him for secretly allowing the US to carry out drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal areas. But Musharraf dismissed such allegations, though he admitted that he was under a strong American pressure to allow the missile strikes.

"I made it clear to them that only Pakistani security forces had the authority to operate in the tribal areas," Musharraf said.

Musharraf also expressed no desire to re-enter politics in the near future. He said he would deliver lectures in different parts of the world.




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