ISLAMABAD - Former president Pervez Musharraf has supported giving a free hand to Pakistan army to deal with the menace of terrorism pointing out that the Peshawar tragedy should be an eye opener for everyone.

In a TV interview, the former army chief said that so far the army's role had been praise-worthy in fighting terrorism and if the actions of the government supported its words then it would be welcomed by everyone.

He referred to the statement of government leaders that terrorists would be chased across the country including Balochistan and said it was a good move. He said there should be action against elements involved in sectarian violence.

General (r) Pervez Musharraf said action should also be taken against mosques and madrassas being used as stores for weapons and providing sanctuaries to the terrorists.

He said he was shocked over the attack in Peshawar school and angered over the acts of terrorists who were beasts and not human being or Muslims.

The former president supported the formation of an interim government to handle the difficult issues and introduce much needed reforms. He said although Imran Khan had achieved a lot through his sit-in and public meetings but he should see whether he would be able to achieve everything through solo flight.

He again emphasised upon the need for a third political force in the country saying the PPP and PML-N had ruled the country three or four times each and failed to deliver. He said all political leaders, big or small and particularly the Muslim Leaguers should sit on a joint platform to form the third political force.

Asked if he was expecting treason trial on return home, Musharraf said he was not sure that such a case will be initiated by the government. He said other cases, however, could be framed against him. Musharraf said how a person can be described as traitor who commanded the Pakistan army and fought in mountains for the country. He said he was happy that many politicians opposed the use of word treason. He said he also raised the point in the court.

Regarding army's support to him, the former general avoided a direct response. However, he said he led the army from the front and had full confidence in the army and its personnel who were with him in different capacities.

Asked if he had any association with the present COAS General Raheel Sharif, the former COAS said his brother Shaheed Shabbir Sharif was his coursemate and he had met his father several times during annual get-togethers of army. He was sure that the army will always be with him.

Asked if he felt any embarrassment while appearing before the courts, Musharraf said it was a bit uncomfortable in the beginning but then he overcame it as he thought that he was appearing before an institution and that everyone is equal in the eyes of law.

Regarding comments of former chief justice Abdul Hameed Dogar that he (Musharraf) wanted to dissolve the assembly, the former president said it was baseless, and absolutely wrong. He said he resigned because he did not want to be a useless and toothless president. He said why he should have dissolved the assembly he knew that his popularity was down by doing so.