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Musharraf jumps back into Pakistani politics

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Musharraf to attempt comeback
  • Musharraf says he has "strong pockets" of support
  • He slams current administration's flood response
  • Musharraf cites "huge clamor" for his return

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has returned to the political stage in Pakistan, which he describes as a "demoralized" nation that needs an injection of vigor and leadership.

Once one of the United States' strongest allies in the fight against terror, Musharraf on Friday launched a new political party in Pakistan as an alternative to an administration he says is now beset with serious problems.

He cites widespread devastation caused by the spring flooding, a nose-diving economy, and a persistent extremist element, and said the current administration, which he calls corrupt, hasn't met those challenges.

"This is about leading, about support of the people and that's my strength," Musharraf said in a Connect the World interview with CNN's Becky Anderson. It is to be aired Friday.

Video: Pervez Musharraf's comeback chances
  • Pakistan

"I don't see a political party out there now that is capable of bringing light back in the country. We need a new political culture that shuns dynasty politics," he says, saying that he wants a greater presence of women and minorities participating in the body politic.

Musharraf resigned in 2008 as Pakistan's ruling coalition began taking steps to impeach him, and Asif Zardari, the widower of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, succeeded him.

The former president said he has "strong pockets" of support and there is a "huge clamor" for his return. He said his Facebook page has more than 300,000 followers and he has raised $3 million for flood relief, and wants to attract the many people who don't vote to give him support.

In fact, he contrasts what he says is the current administration's inadequate flood response to what he says was his proper reaction to earthquakes in Pakistan several years ago.

"We turned challenge into opportunity but they haven't done this," Musharraf said.

One of the issues in Pakistan is the war in neighboring Afghanistan and the fight against militants in northwestern Pakistan who have been involved in the Afghan insurgency. Since the Obama administration entered office in the United States, drone strikes against militant targets in Pakistan have ramped up.

Musharraf says he doesn't support drone strikes by foreign forces, but does back such actions by Pakistani troops.