Musharraf press conference Dubai
From left: Mehreen Malik, Secretary General of APML; Pervez Musharraf and Hidayatullah Kheshgi, Chairman of the APML at the press conference Image Credit: Ashfaq Ahmed/Gulf News

Dubai: Former Pakistani President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf has ruled out the use of nuclear weapons in case of an armed conflict between India and Pakistan in the wake of terrorist attack in Pulwama which left 49 soldiers dead.

“It is ridiculous even to say that there will be use of atom bomb in case of any war between the nuclear neighbours. If Pakistan uses one bomb, India will use 20 bombs so Pakistan may have to use 50 - this is disastrous. People who are talking about such possibilities have no idea of warfare,” Gen Musharraf said while replying to question at a press conference in Dubai on Friday.

He said that nuclear weapon at best is a deterrence and should not be used by anyone.

Musharraf noted that the relations between Pakistan and India have been very tense and even dangerous for the 10 months.

Gen. Musharraf who is also founder of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) addressed the media along with his senior party members, newly elected APML Chairman Hidayatullah Kheshgi and Secretary General Mehreen Malik. He announced the he would be reorganising his party both in Pakistan and abroad and would enter the political scene before the next elections.

Relauching party in Pakistan

“Imran’s PTI has emerged as the third force in the Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N and Asif Ali Zardari’s PPP. Since both of them are corrupt and facing charges, we will take advantage of the situation and re-launch our party in Pakistan,” he said.

General Musharraf, 75, looking frail with a weak voice, was addressing the media after a long time as he has been reportedly suffering from an unspecified illness.

General Musharraf who has been living in Dubai since 2016 in a self-imposed exile has a high-profile treason case for suspending the Constitution in 2007 against him and is also wanted in a number of other cases in Pakistan. He travelled out of the country for medical treatment for a few months after securing a special permission from the court but never went back.

General Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, has been declared a fugitive in the Benazir Bhutto murder case and the Red Mosque cleric killing case.

He also launched his political party APM in 2010 but could not go back in 2018 to contest elections for fear of his arrest.

Return to Pakistan

“I am planning to go back soon as the environment is conducive for my return to Pakistan,” he said replying to a question. Musharraf said that many of the senior officials and ministers working for the Imran Khan government had also worked under him and would help him on his return.

Musharraf, however did not give any time frame for his return.

US withdrawal from Afghanistan

He said that relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are also at the lower level and they should work to improve ties.

To a question on withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, General Musharraf said that the Afghanistan would head to civil war and Taliban will be the winner again.

“If US withdraws from Afghanistan, there will be war proxy war between India and Pakistan in Afghanistan with Pakistan backing Taliban and India backing Northern alliance groups and the situation would be worse than 1991 when the US left Afghanistan after the soviet war,” he explained.

He appreciated the current government’s efforts to mend relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE saying that they have always been close friends. “The UAE and Saudi Arabia always stood with Pakistan and helped our country in all possible ways. It was Nawaz Sharif who spoiled our relations,” he added.