ISLAMABAD - A 70-year-old former general, who is both intensely loved and hated in a country he ruled for over eight years, poured out his ailing heart and revealed how much he was sickened by being termed a traitor, and he took to remind the people the ‘days of prosperity’ under his rule.

“My crime is that I brought development and prosperity to Pakistan!” former COAS and President Pervez Musharraf Monday told a Special Court, which indicted him for high treason over holding the constitution of the country in abeyance.

Musharraf, who has been admitted to a Rawalpindi military hospital for many weeks, did accept that he did impose emergency in the country in 2007 – on advice of the then PM and cabinet and with the consultation and consent of all the stakeholders – because the situation demanded it.

Condemning the word ‘traitor’, he said to him traitor is the person who surrenders before enemy “but I have preferred to sacrifice my life over surrendering”. Traitors are those who sell secrets of the country. Traitors are those who impede the socio-economic development of the country. They are those who suck the blood of the people, empty the public exchequer and fill their own coffers; give the people poverty and take the country to destruction.

“Before prosecution and in the presence of the Allah I can swear of my mother and children that neither I took single penny in bribery nor had given bribery to anyone,” said Musharraf, whose mother too is fighting for life in the ICU of a Sharjah hospital. “Since my return whatever had been happening to me is the reward for love and loyalty to this country.”

He said during his rule he increased the amount in public exchequer from a mere $317 million to $17 billion. “I would ask those who came to power after 2008 that where are those $17 billion, as now only $3 billion are in the public exchequer.” He said for the first time in the history Pakistan the national debt reduced (from $40 billion) to $37 billion during his regime. The total loan of the country has surged to over $70 billion now. “We kept the US dollar at Rs60 and got rid of IMF and broken the begging bowl.”

In last few years more than $50 billion had been shipped out of the country. Are the people sitting in parliament ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’. Aren’t charges of misconduct being levelled against me alone? I question where the justice is. I will take pride that all the judicial appointments in my time were made on merit.

Musharraf said that he remained COAS for 9 years and served the armed forces for 44 year. He said he fought two wars and was still ready to sacrifice for the country. “In 1965 war I was given gallantry award. I had spent time with the soldiers in the mountains and Siachen Glacier —is it high treason?” I have given everything to this country. I have not taken anything from it. Addressing Justice Tahira Safdar, he said that the Madam Judge knows that in 8 years of his tenure Balochistan was developed and it was given funds even more than that of Punjab.

He informed the Special Court that for three reasons he could not appear before it earlier. First one is the security issue, “which is real”. Second is poor health, as evident from AFIC’s self-explanatory report. The third reason, he said, is the legal one. The Commando thanked the court for giving him opportunity to address. “I held this court and the prosecution in high esteem.

The impression that I have some ego problem is wrong. I have appeared before several courts in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Karachi since I have come back to Pakistan. (Now) I came to the court against the medical advice. I told the doctors that I am going to the court at my own risk. I also appeared before the court on February 14 against the doctors’ advice.”