Asif Ali Zardari is a "criminal" and a "fraud" who will do anything to save himself, former military ruler Pervez Musharraf said about the Pakistani president who succeeded him last year.
The former Pakistan President told well-known US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in an interview that he was still in contact with Army Chief General Asfaq Kayani and didn t think the military was capable of mutiny "not the Army he knew".
"Asif Zardari is a criminal and a fraud. He ll do anything to save himself. He s not a patriot and he s got no love for Pakistan. He s a third-rater," Musharraf was quoted as saying by Pakistani daily The News today.
Musharraf told Hersh that he and General Kayani, who had been his nominee for chief of army staff, were still in telephonic contact.
The former military ruler said he didn t think the Pakistan military was capable of mutiny not the Army he knew. "There are people with fundamentalist ideas in the Army, but I don t think there is any possibility of these people getting organised and doing an uprising. These fundos were disliked and not popular," Musharraf was quoted as saying by the Pakistani daily.
Musharraf added: “The Muslims think highly of Obama, and he should use his acceptability — even with the Taliban — and try to deal with them politically.”
Musharraf spoke of two prior attempts to create a fundamentalist uprising in the Army. In both the cases, he said, the officers involved were arrested and prosecuted. “I created the strategic force that controls all the strategic assets — eighteen to twenty thousand strong. They are monitored for character and for potential fundamentalism,” he said. He acknowledged, however, that things had changed since he'd left office. “People have become alarmed because of the Taliban and what they have done,” he said. “Everyone is now alarmed.”
Hersh said Pervez Musharraf lives in unpretentious exile with his wife in an apartment in London, near Hyde Park.
Officials who had dealt with him cautioned that, along with his many faults, he had a disarmingly open manner. “At the beginning of our talk, I asked him why, on a visit to Washington in late January, he had not met with any senior Obama administration officials. ‘I did not ask for a meeting because I was afraid of being told no,' he said.”
At another point, Musharraf, dressed casually in slacks and a sports shirt, said that he had been troubled by the American-controlled drone attacks on targets inside Pakistan, which began in 2005.
“I said to the Americans, ‘Give us the Predators.' It was refused. I told the Americans, ‘Then just say publicly that you're giving them to us. You keep on firing them but put Pakistan Air Force markings on them.' That, too, was denied.” PTI