Pakistani ex-military leader Pervez Musharraf begins TV career as analyst

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former military ruler, retired general Pervez Musharraf, has launched a career as a political analyst on a weekly television talk show, a prominent role for the ex-leader who lives in Dubai and faces several criminal cases at home.

The show, "Pakistan First with President Musharraf", debuted on Sunday on Pakistan's Bol TV, a channel that recently ran afoul of government regulators when one of its hosts was accused of hate speech.

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 military coup and stepped down nine years later amid mass protests, was allowed to leave Pakistan last year for health reasons that his lawyer argued prevented him from standing trial on treason and other charges. Musharraf denied the charges.

In the first episode of the programme on Sunday, the former general appeared live from Dubai and responded to questions about the security situation in Pakistan, where more than 130 people were killed in militant attacks in February.

Speaking about the latest military campaign targeting militant groups, Musharraf argued that the root cause of extremism had to be addressed.

Neither Musharraf nor representatives of Bol TV were available for comment.

Pakistan's powerful military did not comment when contacted about the show, nor did the television regulatory authority.

The criminal cases against Musharraf were lodged by prosecutors under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted as prime minister in the 1999 coup. Sharif returned to power in elections four years ago.

The cases against Musharraf were seen as a source of tension between the military and Sharif's government.

Musharraf has not returned to Pakistan since he was allowed to leave last year.