ISLAMABAD: Former military ruler General (r) Pervez Musharraf has said that American president-elect Donald Trump is not well-versed with political dynamics of the region, and has yet to formulate a strategy vis-à-vis South Asia. “This is a golden opportunity for Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif needs to step up and build an immediate liaison with the president-elect,” said Musharraf in an interview with a private television channel. The new American administration, he said, had positive views about Pakistan and this was the time for lobbying. “India wants to maintain hegemony in the region. It sees itself as a future economic giant not only in the region, but also in the world, and wants to isolate Pakistan not only economically, but also diplomatically,” he said. “The India caucus in the US Senate is more vigilant and proactive; Pakistan needs to derive an effective strategy as well to counter the Indian narratives in the US circles,” he maintained.
Regarding the civil-military divide, he said that India had exploited this fault line of the Pakistani political spectra. “There has always been a rift between the army chiefs and the political governments, especially the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government,” he said. To a question, he said, “I still enjoy cordial relations with former president Bush and this impression that he had worked with Asif Zardari to outset me is completely false.” He criticised the incumbent federal government, saying it had failed to address the issues confronting common man. “There is no check and balance, the government is using its machinery to intimidate bureaucracy, and they know how to manipulate judiciary and other sacred institutions for their own intents and purposes.” Replying to a question, Musharraf admitted to having foreign accounts and assets, which he claimed to have received from former Saudi King Abdullah. He; however, said, “I got the money after stepping down from presidency.”
When asked about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf November 2 lockdown, the former military ruler said, “Imran Khan needs to learn, which he is not ready to, and that is the reason that he has been failing so far. Imran bragged about November 2 lockdown and then called it off.” Referring to political environment in Karachi, he said, “Karachi politics is changing, Altaf Hussain is history now and he needs to accept it,” he said, adding: “I have love and strong sentiments for Muhajir community. When asked about his views regarding the appointment of new army chief, Musharraf said, “The four candidates for the army chief slot are competent and patriotic officers. I’m sure they will serve the flag first and foremost.”