Pakistan’s former military leader gives his first international interview since he was released from house arrest.
Pervez Musharraf returned to Pakistan after four years of self-imposed exile to – in his own words – “save the country”.
But his hopes of a political comeback were quickly dashed.
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The former military ruler, who came into power in a 1999 coup, was barred by the courts from holding government office for life.
Not only was he not allowed to run in the historic May 2013 general election, but a number of criminal cases were also opened against him stemming from the nine years he was in power. The charges include allegations he was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
in government, he can influence. Till now he is showing vendetta, but I expect justice from the courts.”]
Bhutto, a former Pakistani prime minister, returned to Pakistan from exile in 2007 after making a deal with Musharraf to contest in upcoming elections. But weeks later, she was dead.
Still, the most serious charge facing the former military ruler is treason.
The case stems from the state of emergency he imposed in 2007. During that time he suspended the constitution and detained several judges, including the Chief Justice, sparking widespread protests. If convicted, he faces life in prison or death.
The charges were brought against Musharraf by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the same man he ousted in a military coup in 1999 and who was re-elected to a third term in office in May 2013.
Musharraf blames his current legal troubles on what he describes as a “vendetta” by Prime Minister Sharif.
“He’s in government, he can influence. Till now he is showing vendetta, but I expect justice from the courts,” Musharraf says.
He also says the military has expressed concern over his treatment by the government and the courts since his return to the country in March last year.
“They are alarmed, and they are worried. They are in my favour. The feedback within the army of the serving officers, many of them, they are extremely positively disposed towards me and they are very worried … They are worried about what’s happening to me … And they don’t like it.”
In his first interview with an international news channel since his release from house arrest, Pervez Musharraf talks to Al Jazeera about his time in power, his current problems, and his future.