Though any comments made by former junta leader Pervez Musharraf always come within the context of his own designs on returning to Pakistan and returning to power, today’s calls for an amendment to the constitution to formalize the military’s role in governing the country came as something of a surprise.
“Pakistan’s army chief ought to be involved in some form, to ensure checks and balances, to ensure good governance,” Musharraf insisted. This is something of a surprise as Musharraf has retired from the army and is seeking to return to power purely as a political candidate.
Ousted from power in mass protests in 2007, Musharraf has been living in exile in London. Though there had once been talk of trying to extradite him to Pakistan to try him with treason for his 1999 coup d’etat, the increasingly struggling civilian government has been spending most of its time fending off charges of corruption and incompetence. This has given Musharraf, once seen as a pariah, some hope of returning to power through an election.
Musharraf also warned that if the situation in the country did not improve it was entirely possible that Gen. Parvez Kayani, who replaced him as head of the military, might launch a coup of his own and seize power. Kayani has long been seen as averse to taking any role in politics, but has also been under pressure to get involved as Pakistan struggles with myriad wars, natural disasters and virtual economic collapse.
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