Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf has said on Thursday that the army is a vital part of Pakistan’s regime - File photo Reuters

Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday (29 September) that the army is a vital part of Pakistan's governance and it has often played an important role in the country as democracy has not been tailored to its environment.

Musharraf was speaking to the media at the Washington Ideas Forum and added that the army has been an integral part of Pakistan's governance "mainly because of mis-governance by all the so-called democratically-elected governments".

He further said the "inherent weakness" of Pakistan is that democracy in the country has not been customised for its environment.

"Therefore, the military is forced and pulled, sucked into the political environment, especially when mis-governance is going on and Pakistan is going down in all socioeconomic indicators. The public and the people massively run towards the army chief, and that is how the army gets involved," he said, while justifying the frequent military coups in the country.

"The people of Pakistan love the army and demand a lot from it. So I'm very proud of the fact that army has backed me because I've been with them for over 40 years. I fought wars with them, I've fought two wars and I've fought a number of actions with them. So I know they are my constituency," the retired army general said, mentioning the reason behind the Islamic nation having military governments and the army enjoying such a high stature.

"So, therefore, we have to maybe tailor the political structure in accordance with the dictates of Pakistan, introduce checks and balances so that mis-governance does not take place and the army does not have to come into politics," he asserted.

Talking about the US and Osama bin Laden, Musharraf said he was "shocked" to learn that Osama bin Laden spent years in an Abbottabad house in Pakistan.

"Maybe he was going and coming, I still believe that. And if he was there in one of the — in one of the public gatherings where I was being grilled on this aspect, I finally said that the man living for five years in one room with three wives and 18 children, I think he must have rang up CIA himself and declared that he's there," he stated.

In his interaction with the press, Musharraf also accused the United States of using his country for its convenience and ditching it.