Full Transcript of Musharraf Interview

Musharraf: No, I -- we have to see -- after the election how things develop. And -- and I -- I have all the choices, if the situation develops in a manner that was just absolutely unacceptable to me, I have a choice of leaving. (LAUGHS) I mean you know I have no --[unintelligible]-- around against me. I hope to take my decisions at that time. All options will be open.

Cuomo: Constitutionally you have the ability to select a prime minister though, don't you, as president? Musharraf: Yes. Yes.

Cuomo: So you could, theoretically, dismantle any government that wasn't acting out the way you thought they should?

Musharraf: Well, it's not -- no, that is what the West thing. That is what your view on the subject is. But yes, indeed, it is there. But it is required very much to exercise checks on the -- on the president himself, on the prime minister and the army chief.

But you have to understand Pakistan's environment again. Again, you talk from your point of view. From your environment. Like if I was to say that there's no democracy in United States because the -- the -- they are -- the -- the -- people who run the government with the president are not the elected people. So what do you say to that? You have your own system. We have our own system. We -- we have the parliament. The ministers come from the parliament. They are the elected people. Can I say that you don't have democracy in the United States? No, I can't. This is your system. Now here the issue was that the government misperformed. Every time we've seen it for 11 years. Not 11 years, but for 60 years. Never has the government completed its tenure. Every time the government has been changed for some reason or the other.

Cuomo: It's an interesting --

Musharraf: So we want- -

Cuomo: --point.

Musharraf: --to bring some kind of harmony and sense into that.

Cuomo: It's an interesting point. Now everyone's talking about Benazir Bhutto and Nowana Sharif. But in truth they've both had two terms. They had big problems in their governments.

Musharraf: Yes.

Cuomo: What does that present you with as a situation? That now people, if you wanna say in the West, okay, in the West, are looking at you and saying, "Work with these people." Is that difficult for you when you look at their personal histories and say, "What makes them so great?"

Musharraf: It is --

Cuomo: : "Why should I work with them?"

Musharraf: -- isn't that a proof -- a sense that I am -- I have -- I have a sense of democracy? That I be -- believe in democratic culture? And I don't have the authority to remove them. It's the people of Pakistan. Now if they had party who want to be with them, I am nobody to dismiss them. So therefore -- therefore the democracy.

So on one side you believe in democracy. The other side you are telling them you -- you want to go around with them. Well, what do you think I can do with them? There's -- there's democracy in the country. The people are with them. The -- their parties. Their -- their party followers. Now that is where it is.

Now if -- yes, indeed. And it is the people of Pakistan who should realize do they want to work for them? They know their past. Everyone knows the past. Now if they -- they still work for them, because, yes, indeed, the -- the voting country here is very different. I don't want to get involved in that.

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