With the situation in Pakistan raising concerns, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf [Images] said on Monday he would consider becoming President again if he could play a useful role in the post even as he ruled out joining any political party.
Musharraf also opposed US drone attacks in Pakistans tribal belt but said the country should take action to kill and root out the foreign militants sheltering in the region bordering Afghanistan. "If I am offered the post of President and if I can be a useful President...then I will want to contribute to this country," Musharraf said. Addressing a news conference in Karachi on his return from a four-day visit to India, Musharraf however made it clear that he did not "want to be a useless President".
He was answering a question about his remarks in India on the possibility of becoming President again. Musharraf, who resigned as President in August last year to avoid impeachment by the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, said he had no plans to join any political party. "I am not joining any political party. In the current environment, I have no intention of joining politics. Frankly, I havent given any serious thought to joining politics," he said in response to another question.
Pakistan has been hit by stand-off between the PPP and the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz since the latter's leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif were barred by the Supreme Court from contesting polls and holding elected office.
Musharraf also said the people of Pakistan should support the Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence and strengthen them. Amid reports that Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has asked President Asif Ali Zardari [Images] to set things right in the country by March 16, Musharraf appeared to back the military suggesting it is their responsibilility to protect the country both from "internal and external threat."
About the US drone strikes, Musharraf said, "I dont support any cross-border action by anyone other than Pakistani forces," he said. Al Qaida operatives as well as Uzbek, Arab, Chinese and other foreign militants were present in the tribal areas, he added. "They are causing problems. I am not in favour of them and I favour action against them. We should throw them out and eliminate them from Pakistani soil, he said. Pakistan had gained a "bad reputation across the world and all important countries and leaders associated it with terrorism, he warned.
"Do we not want to live as part of this world? This is a globalised world, we are not living in a vacuum," he said. Unless Pakistan takes steps to root out these militants, foreign forces would continue to come into Pakistani territory for operations against them, he said. Even friendly countries like China had warned Pakistan that Chinese terrorists based in the tribal areas could have carried out attacks during the last Olympics [Images], he said.
Musharraf evaded questions about his views on the performance of the PPP-led government and said the administration should endeavour to put Pakistan on the path to progress. For this, he said, the government would have to tackle three types of problems political disputes, law and order, including terrorism and extremism and economic issues. Political parties should not engage in confrontation after coming to power or indulge in squabbling and imprison their opponents. They should work with a spirit of tolerance, he said.
Musharraf also sidestepped questions related to attacks against him by former premier Nawaz Sharif [Images], whom he had deposed in a military coup in 1999. He only said that Pakistani politics should be improved through reconciliation and that he bore no enmity with anyone. He also indicated that the Sharif brothers were responsible "for what happened to them" in the aftermath of the coup, including their being sent into exile in Saudi Arabia.
The former President also refused to comment on the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a controversial law he had issued to scrap graft cases against Zardari and other PPP leaders. "If I get a chance, I will tell the nation (about this issue) but this is not the right opportunity," he said.