LAHORE - Former president Gen Pervez Musharraf has said he is willing to appear before a neutral parliamentary commission and answer all questions provided the present rulers also do the same.

In a TV interview last night, he said he was prepared to hold a debate with ministers of finance, commerce, energy, IT and other important portfolios to let the nation know whether the situation was better during his rule or now.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said recently that a parliamentary commission should summon the former president and ask why he had destroyed the country through his policies.

“I am in favour of a neutral commission”.

He claimed that the country was progressing in all spheres during his rule but all sectors had been destroyed by the present rulers. The country faces external threats and the industry stands destroyed.

Gen Musharraf said 19,500MW electricity was being produced in 2008, the year when he stepped down after a nine-year rule. This was sufficient to meet all energy requirements of the country, he said, indicating that there was no need for more power units.

Answering a question, he said he went out of Pakistan in the light of the Supreme Court verdict that had struck his name off the exit control list. He claimed that he was not hesitant to appear before the courts as he had already faced them 15 times. “But the problem arises when you don’t get justice.”

He regretted that a court had imposed life ban on his election although he had not been convicted in any case. Constitutionally, he said, nobody could be kept out of the electoral process for more than five years. He alleged that all cases against him were politically-motivated.

He said he was happy that he was popular among the army people, but did not know if the military leadership had used its influence to get him out of the country.

Asked when would be return to Pakistan, the former president said he could not say anything about it at this stage. He said he would need a conducive political atmosphere and freedom of movement before coming back to Pakistan.

As for the government’s indications that Interpol could be approached for the purpose, he said this was done even by PPP interior minister Rehman Malik. “But I was free in my movements”.

About the freezing of his bank accounts and attachment of properties by a court, the former president said he would challenge the verdict. He admitted that the freezing of bank accounts would create problems for him, “But I would use the accounts of my wife”.

He claimed that he had no foreign accounts or offshore companies.

Responding to a question, Gen Musharraf said Imran Khan lacked the maturity he should have got after such a long stay in politics. Also, he said, the PTI chairman did not have understanding of the regional issues.

 “Imran is still where he was (at the outset). He has learnt nothing.”

Answering another question, the former president said Imran wanted 90/100 NA candidates elected with the establishment’s support in 2002 elections. But, he said, intelligence agencies estimated that the PTI could not win more than three, four seats. The groundswell in support claimed by the PTI chief was nowhere to be seen, he said, adding that Imran could win only one seat in 2002.

He said Imran was a charismatic leader and had attraction for the youth and women. Also, he said, the PTI chief was honest and patriotic.

Asked if he could say the same thing about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the former president said he could be patriotic but Panama Papers had raised questions about his honesty. “They would face the music if any honest commission was set up to look into the Panama leaks”.

He said as prime minister Nawaz Sharif wanted to take action against some generals and try Najam Sethi in a military court. He said he had helped Mr Sethi, although he consistently wrote against him.