Musharraf Backs Division of Provinces
Former president and military head of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf has backed dividing the nation's provinces as he prepares a comeback bid.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/29/2011, 6:35 PM
Former president of Pakistan General (ret.) Pervez Musharraf is supporting a plan to divide Pakistan into more provinces to increase administrative control.
"Yes, I believe more provinces should be created all over the country as it will help better administrative control, reduce feelings of deprivation in different groups and improve the law and order situation in the country," Musharraf told members of the Pakistan Journalists Forum (PJF), form whom he hosted an iftar (Ramadan dinner) in the United Arab Emirates.
Pakistan's government, led by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, has been striving to divide Punjab into two provinces by creating a separate province in South Punjab, but the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif has strongly opposed the move.
However, Musharraf - who recently announced he will be making a comeback bid in Pakistan's 2013 elections - went a step farther saying more provinces should be created not just in Punjab but all over the country - including Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.
"Decentralisation of power is important to give immediate relief and justice to people at the grassroots level," he said.
Musharraf's iftar for PJF members lasted for about two hours, during which he explained his motives behind joining politics and launching his own political party — All Pakistan Muslim League (APML).
Also present were his senior party leaders including General (ret.) Rashid Quraishi, Barrister Mohammad Saif, Dr. Amjad, Brigadier (ret.) Harris, Col (ret.) Sher Ali, Khurrum Haris, Akbar Ali Shah, Farzana Mansour and Zil-e-Huma.
Musharraf reiterated that he would return to Pakistan on March 23 next year after his party organisation is completed.
"APML will emerge as a third political force and alternative to the current political parties because the people of Pakistan want change," he said.
Musharaff accused Pakistan's leaders of running a completely dysfunctional government while allowing the administrative structure to break down - in addition to political turmoil and lawlessness.
"I believe the Karachi issue is more of an ethnic problem, but there is some ‘external hand' involved in creating the unrest in a bid to destabilise the largest city of Pakistan," he said, adding that the Karachi situation should be brought under control.
"If the rangers fail, the army should intervene to ensure peace and safety of lives and property of people," Musharraf answered when asked whether the army should take control of the city.
Musharraf ran Pakistan as the head of an administrative military government from 1999 until 2007 when military rule ended. He officially resigned as president, a title he had held since 2001, in August 2008 under threat of impeachment related to the Beazir Bhutto assassination case.
"I don't have to answer these questions as my legal team is handling them," he said when asked to comment by a journalist at the iftar dinner he hosted Saturday in Dubai. However, he did say he was surprised at the seizure of a bank account worth Rs80 million.
"If it is mine, then please give it in charity," he laughed.
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Saturday ordered seizure of Musharraf`s property and freezing of his bank accounts while declaring him an absconder in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.