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Khan: Musharraf caused chaos, bad cricket

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'Pakistan ready for change'
  • Imran Khan believes he has support to be Pakistan's future leader
  • The cricket great says young people are ready for a change
  • Khan also called the current government in Pakistan had proved disastrous
  • Asia
  • Imran Khan
  • Pakistan

London, England (CNN) -- Cricket legend turned politician Imran Khan says he has the support to become Pakistan's future leader as dominant young voters grow increasingly disillusioned with their country's political chaos and militant violence.

Khan, who also says he knows how to revive his country's cricketing fortunes, told CNN's Becky Anderson that, although his party remains on the fringe of Pakistani politics, the failures of current and previous regimes could shoo him into power.

"Pakistan is ready for a change, especially the youth," he told CNN's Becky Anderson.

"It is the young people who are basically sick of the old politics, the old political parties. I think that's where our party comes in, because if you do a survey in all the universities in Pakistan, amongst the young people, overseas Pakistanis, the number one party today is Tehreek-e-Insaf, which is our party -- Movement for Justice."

Offering scathing appraisal Pakistan's former military leader Pervez Musharraf, Khan said the man who took power in a 1999 coup and went on to become a key Western anti-terror ally before being forced to stand down in 2008 was to blame for most of the country's problems.

Khan, 57, founded the Movement for Justice party in 1996 and is its only member ever elected to parliament, serving from 2002 to 2007.

After falling foul of Musharraf's leadership in its final days -- he fled house arrest after calling for Musharraf to face the death penalty -- his party went on to boycott 2008 elections.

"Things have deteriorated so much in Pakistan today and that's thanks to Musharraf," Khan said on Connect the World when asked about the prospect of political return mooted by Musharraf on CNN days earlier.

Khan said Musharraf laid the groundwork for the 2008 election of President Asif Ali Zardari, who he described as "a criminal".

Zardari, the widower of assassinated former Paksitan President Benazir Bhutto, spent nearly a decade in prison for corruption. He inisted the charges were politically motivated.

"If Musharraf is thinking he can stage a comeback it's only because how things are now, his era looks relatively better," Khan said.

Khan also blamed Musharraf's capitulation to U.S. demands to strike against militants in remote tribal areas for a rise in extremist bomb attacks in Pakistan, which he said was were now more numerous than in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Asked about the fluctuating fortunes of Pakistan's cricket team, which Khan captained to World Cup victory in 1992, Khan said the national side was a victim of political uncertainty.

"Pakistan is being run on an ad hoc basis and so is our cricket. Cricket is not an insitution (but) the cricket board should be an institution," he said.

"How does it go wrong? The president of the country appoints the chairman of the cricket board and the president of the country knows zero about cricket. So the only qualification of the chairman of the cricket board is that the president likes him.

"That's where things start going wrong. The moment the government changes, so does the chairman of the board."