KARACHI: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf continues to make headlines with his outspoken views.

At 74, the former army chief, who lives with his mother and wife in a tastefully decorated apartment in downtown Dubai, still displays the toughness associated with a soldier. He runs his own political party, the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), and is facing several court cases.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, he spoke about various issues facing Pakistan and beyond. Mr Musharraf criticised the Pakistan government for not siding with the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — against Qatar. “I’m shocked at how the Pakistan government dealt with the Qatar crisis. Qatar was never with Pakistan, and we witnessed this many a time,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE “have always been Pakistan’s great friends. We must never do anything that’s against either country — both have always stood by us, and we must value their friendship”, he added.

Citing the Pakistan’s ruling party’s business interests in Qatar, he said his country’s “larger interests were ignored over personal business interests. If that’s the priority, then God save our country”.

Gen Musharraf’s words and deeds on Kashmir continue to be an area of interest for most observers and stakeholders.

“I’ve started working for the cause by taking a big initiative on the resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said.

“I and other like-minded people have formed a group that consists of popular and prominent people from Pakis­tan, India and both sides of Kashmir. We’ll go to the UN, and the Indian and Pakistani governments,” he added.

“The Kashmir issue can be resolved, and I strongly believe that the present Indian government is capable of doing it because they represent the hard-liners.”

Gen Musharraf rejected the notion that Pakistan is over-romanticising the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese investment in the port city of Gwadar.

“In this multipolar world, all three leading superpowers have strategic interests in Pakistan. We must use this interest in our own favour. For example…Gwadar provides China with access to the Indian Ocean,” he said.

“In today’s world, geo-economics will determine geopolitics and geo-strategies. CPEC gives us an excellent opportunity to use our strategic location to our favour,” he added.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2017

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