Musharraf wants polls under army

Amir Wasim in Islamabad/Dawn
Asia News Network

Islamabad (Dawn/ANN) - Chief of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) retired general Pervez Musharraf expressed on Monday his desire that the elections should be held under the supervision of army.

"I have always stated that the polls should be held under the supervision of army. Otherwise there will be law and order problems. And then the polls will not be fair and transparent," said Gen Musharraf in a brief chat with reporters at his luxurious and heavily-guarded Chak Shahzad farmhouse soon after his arrival from Karachi.

The former president said he had been facing serious threats, but at the same time expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by the caretaker government for his security.

The APML chief, who plans to contest for a National Assembly seat from the Pakistani capital, said he would formally start political activities from his Islamabad residence where he had come for the first time since completion of the farmhouse after his departure to London in November 2008.

Gen Musharraf, who has also submitted his nomination papers for a National Assembly seat from Karachi, expressed the hope that his party would be able to make seat-adjustment arrangements with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). "I have relationship with the MQM for the past 12 years. I hope we will have some seat adjustment with them in Karachi," he said.

However, he did not categorically say if his party was holding any formal talks with the MQM.

The former president once again denied that he had come to the country under any deal and said that he had formed his party and had come back to the country on his own. He said he had already been granted bail and announced that he was ready to appear before any court to defend charges levelled against him.

Gen Musharraf was looking tired because he had to take a long journey from Karachi to Islamabad when his aircraft was diverted to Lahore because of a sudden change of weather and heavy rains in the capital in the evening.

He was scheduled to reach the capital at 5pm, but landed at the Benazir Bhutto Airport at 9 pm and left for his residence without talking to the media or addressing the handful of his supporters who had gathered to receive him.