Musharraf’s return least or no impact on politics but…?
Finally the cat is out of the bag. Former President Gen. (retd) Pervez Musharraf has come up with a specific venue and dates for his return after keeping the matter uncertain for long. But still many a political observers do not have faith in his words and are expecting some eleventh hour summersault on his part to defer his return plan.
Honestly speaking Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s return will have little impact on the electoral politics as the party he had managed to get registered with Election Commission of Pakistan in July last under the nomenclature of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) is yet to come out of infancy and will have least or no impact on the results of the future general elections which are expected to be held ahead of schedule in the fall of this year or early next year.
However, if he has managed to land back against the heavy odds, his return would do create ripples in the national politics putting key political players—Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)— in an awkward position because of their deep rooted animosity against the Commando General.
The key political stakeholders in the country strongly reacted to his return plan and said that he would straight away land in jail from Karachi Airport as he would be required by the law enforcement agencies in many cases of heinous nature including murder of Nawab Akbar Bugti.
Pakistan People’s Party Central General Secretary Jahangir Badar commenting on his return plan said that they would be catching a key accused in the murder of their party’s life chairperson Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and as soon he landed back he would be arrested there and then.
Similarly another PPP stalwart Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said that he should be arrested for clamping Nov. 2007 emergency in the country and should be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution.
Similar comments came from some of the leaders from Pakistan Muslim League(Nawaz) who hated him for obvious reasons of sent packing their two-third majority government on October 1999 Coup d’état.
Political observers and even many in his own party leaders believed that his return will greatly depend on the performance of his legal team which has already initiated the process to get some transit bail for his safe landing and later to get him off the hook in what they termed cases instituted against him on flimsy grounds.
With stalwarts of lawyers fraternity like Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, Khalid Ranjha, Fawad Chaudhry, Syed Nayyab Gardezi, Chaudhry Faisal Hussain and some other legal wizards who are fully capable of turning the tide in favour of Gen.(retd) Pervez Musharraf standing on his side the chances of securing relief for him from the courts to shape of pre-arrest bail in cases of heinous nature filed against him across the country seemed bright.
But on the other hand those who had brokered his deal of safe and honourable exit from the country did not seem comfortable with his decision and that was the reason they had leaked some information about the money he had stashed in his UAE banks just to caution him about the consequences of his defiance of his exit agreement (if any) and could also disclose his other assets details in Turkey and United Kingdom.
Some people who were in know the developments said that a few weeks back Gen.(retd) Pervez Musharraf had approached the Ministry of Defence for provision of security cover to him on his return but reportedly he was refused the facility being the retired Army General on the grounds that as he is not just a retired Army General but also heading a political party so he better approach the Ministry of Interior for securing security cover on his return.
It is generally believed that when the then President Gen.(retd) Pervez Musharraf had bowed out from the office of President of Pakistan he was given a tacit understanding, if there was no formal exit deal, by all the stakeholders with incumbent Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani as guarantor for his honourable and safe exit from the country.
There was hue and cry in the media about the guard of honour given to him (Musharraf) when he had formally stepped down as President of Pakistan but to no avail as the Army was standing behind their former chief and no one even dare to talk about invoking Article 6 or getting a murder case registered against him in Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti murder.
He stayed in Army House for well over three months after stepping down as President of Pakistan and finally flew out to London to spend his rest of life with the commitment not to take part in the politics for rest of his life or for certain period of time as agreed under the covert agreement reached between the stakeholders because non of the political players including President Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif kept a peculiar silence about him till the time he left the country and did not take part in politics.
But the decision of his return has once again opened up the closed chapter of his safe and honourable exit from the country and the complete silence of the key political players in the country which have now started raising voices for Musharraf’s trial under Article 6, his arrest in Bugti’s murder case and trial for keeping the judges in illegal confinement after clamping of Nov. 3, 2007 emergency.
Former Commando General’s plan to visit Saudi Arabia to meet King Abdullah, who he claims considered him as his younger brother, UAE and some other Arab states to have their blessings for his return journey showed that there must be some clandestine deal for his safe exit from the country and the Arab monarchs have some role in it, like they had in the exile deal of former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia along with his family members in year 2001.
Gen. Musharraf, though not trusted by West, particularly America, for what they considered his dubious role in the war on terror, has also met some British and American Parliamentarians and some of them would likely accompany him on his return journey, just to give an impression that he is also having the blessing of both these states but primarily he would be requiring the support of Army for his safe and secure stay in Pakistan, which otherwise could turn out to be hell for him.
It is high time for the people at the helm of affairs to make public the details of the agreement (if any) under which the former Commando General was given safe and honourable exit passage in the face of the charges heinous nature against him, so that no one in future could play with the fate of the country and its people.