Washington: Expressing concern over the Pakistan-US ties, Pakistan's former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf said that the current bilateral relationship between Islamabad and Washington is at its lowest ebb, lower than those post 9/11 attacks on the US. Ready to risk life to return home: Musharraf (Agencies)
"We're at a very poor level. I don't think they were at this level even before 9/11, when I took over," Musharraf said in an interview when asked about the relationship between Pakistan and the US.
"I don't think -- I had a reasonable amount of respect around if the world even before 9/11. But not they certainly are at their lowest ebb. And it is extremely disturbing to anyone who understands geopolitics," he said.
In recent months, relations between Pakistan and the US - key allies in the decade-old war on terror - teetered from one crisis to the next, including strains caused by the covert American raid that killed Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil and deadly NATO attack that killed 24 Pakistani soliders.
"It is very disturbing, and I only wish that Pakistan and the United States mend fences and we move forward on a course which is in the interest of the region, in the interest of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the United States," he said.
The former Pakistani president said that there is no danger to the safety and security of the country's nuclear weapons, unless it is ruled by religious extremists, which is unlikely going to be the case.
"If the country goes down and it gets into the hands of religious extremists as a country from the government, then only it is possible that the entire arsenal then belongs to them... But I don't see that as a possible," Musharraf said.
"I don't think any religious party today is capable of winning the elections, so the other way is that they take them through force, use force. I don't think that's a possibility, again, with the military guarding it, with the strategic force command of 20,000 people manning and guarding all these installations and them being in very secure places and very dispersed. I don't think it is a possibility," he said.
Meanwhile, claiming that people of Pakistan need a viable alternative in this hour of crisis, Pervez Musharraf has said that he is prepared to take risk of his life to return back home from a self-imposed exile.
"Well, yes, I am prepared for the risk. I have to be prepared for the risk," Musharraf said from Dubai, where he is preparing for his trip back home.
He was responding to question that he might face threat to his life when he returns.
"I feel that the country needs me, and I feel that the country is going down so badly in all socioeconomic elements and from all governance point of view, that it is high time that we bring about another political alternative which can produce a government with the majority of the people, with a mandate of the people who can run Pakistan, instead of doing politics only. And I think I have a role to play there," Musharraf said when asked why he is going back to Pakistan.
The former President said no date has been fixed for his journey yet, but it will be between January 27 and 30.
"Well, there is a danger of that. Yes, indeed, there's a possibility of that, absolutely. And when I've decided to go back, I have to take that risk," he said, adding that he very well knows that there is risk to his life as well on return.
"Well, more than myself, my family and my friends, my well-wishers, are worried about that much more than myself. But I have faced such threats all along since I was the president, and that threat will remain now also. I need to make proper security arrangements of my own. And also, I expect the government to give me security as authorised to an ex-president of the country," Musharraf said.
"You take security measures as much as you can, but then 100 percent security cannot be guaranteed by anyone. So, therefore, an element of risk is always there. And that's where I believe in destiny, and that is I believe that we have to leave everything to God Almighty," 68-year-old Musharraf said.
He also slammed former Pakistani Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, who is a suspect in the "memo gate scandal", saying the ex-diplomat is creating hype and over-blowing the issue with regard to threat to his life.
"I don't think so," Musharraf said when asked if Haqqani is in serious danger of his life.
"I think, unnecessarily, they are creating a hype and over blowing this, as if everyone is out to kill him or something. That is the not the reality," he said, responding to a question on Haqqani, who in recent interviews has said that he fears threat to his life.
"As far as danger to his life is concerned, I don't think that is a real danger," Musharraf added.
Washington: Expressing concern over the Pakistan-US ties, Pakistan's former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf said that the current bilateral relationship between Islamabad and Washington is at its lowest ebb, lower than those post 9/11 attacks on the US.
Ready to risk life to return home: Musharraf