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Musharraf says Pakistan army still backs him

December 29, 2013 20:02 IST

Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, hemmed in by legal woes, had dismissed the notion that Pakistan's powerful army has abandoned him, saying the 6.5 lakh force was still with him.

"I have led my men at brigadier level and as chief. Ask the 6.5 lakh personnel," Musharraf said when asked if the army had abandoned him.

He said he had led the army as a leader and not the commander.

"The real leadership is without the stars on your soldier. Remove it and then see if your men actually listen to you," Musharraf said in an interview to ARY news channel aired Saturday night.

He said the 6.5 lakh-strong army had not abandoned him.

This was the second interview Musharraf gave to the news network. In an earlier interview the 70-year-old had sought "forgiveness" for any wrongs he may have committed during his nine-year rule and said he will face all cases against him and not run like a coward.

Asked about the negotiations with the Taliban and other militant groups, he said he supported it but "talks should be held from a position of strength". He said talks are been held from a position of weakness.

Musharraf is set to appear before a Special Court on January 1 on treason charges.

The special court was set up by the Nawaz Sharif government to try the former military ruler for high treason for suspending the constitution in 2007.

The former president is charged with abrogating, subverting, suspending, holding in abeyance and attempting to conspire against the 1973 Constitution by declaring emergency and overthrowing the superior judiciary in November 2007.

On November 17, the government decided to initiate treason proceedings against Musharraf, who came to power in 1999 by toppling a government led by Sharif and ruled till 2008 when he was forced to resign after being threatened with impeachment.

He lived in self-exile for about five years and returned to Pakistan in March to contest elections but was hauled to court in different cases, including one over the 2007 assassination for former premier Benazir Bhutto.


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