Embattled former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on Sunday said treason case against him smacks of a “vendetta” and dismissed the notion that Pakistan’s powerful army has abandoned him in his legal battle.
“I have led my men at Brigadier level and as Chief. Ask the 6.5 lakh personnel,” Musharraf said when asked if the army had abandoned him.
He said he had led the army as a leader and not the commander. “The real leadership is without the stars on your soldier. Remove it and then see if your men actually listen to you,” Musharraf said in an interview.
He said the 6.5 lakh-strong army had not abandoned him.
In a media interaction at his sprawling farmhouse in Islamabad,Musharraf said that the treason charges against him has upset the army. He said the manner in which his case has been handled “smacks a little bit of vendetta.”
“I would say the whole army is upset…I have no doubt with the feedback that I received that the whole army is… totally with me on this issue,” Musharraf said.
In an earlier interview,the 70-year-old had sought “forgiveness” for any wrongs he may have committed during his nine-year rule and said he will face all cases against him and not run like a coward.
Musharraf is set to appear before a special court on January 1 on treason charges.
The special court was set up by the Nawaz Sharif government to try the former military ruler for high treason for suspending the constitution in 2007.
The former president is charged with abrogating,subverting,suspending,holding in abeyance and attempting to conspire against the 1973 Constitution by declaring emergency and overthrowing the judiciary in November 2007.
On November 17,the government decided to initiate treason proceedings against Parvez Musharraf,who came to power in 1999 by toppling a government led by Sharif and ruled till 2008 when he was forced to resign after being threatened with impeachment.
He lived in self-exile for about five years and returned to Pakistan in March to contest elections but was hauled to court in different cases,including one over the 2007 assassination for former premier Benazir Bhutto.
This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that a military ruler has been put on trial for treason. If convicted,he could face life imprisonment or death penalty.
The military,which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 66-year history,has not commented on Musharraf’s case.
Musharraf has secured bail in four major cases against him but the trial for treason poses the biggest challenge to the former army commando.