Is Pervez Musharraf gaining ground?: ARAB News

Is Pervez Musharraf gaining ground?: ARAB News

Is Pervez Musharraf gaining ground?

Salahuddin Haider

Published — Friday 27 February 2015
Last update 26 February 2015 11:41 pm

A SILENT but powerful undercurrent has begun to build up in Pakistan to place Gen. Pervez Musharraf back into power. Such a possibility may be seen in the backdrop of a general political mayhem in the country and the ongoing government’s battle to root out terrorism. This may still appear to be a mere speculation but ground realities are not too difficult to understand.Failure of the government machinery in providing a good administration, or taking care of the public welfare issues, has begun to turn the tide against the present political set up, giving much space for the former military ruler to launch himself in a new political mold.

Instead of sitting idly at his army colony house in Karachi, Musharraf has been in regular touch with media, giving TV interviews and delivering speeches, propping up the need for a “change.”
Whether he returns to power is difficult to say of which Musharraf does not wish to state clearly. “I have left it to destiny,” he says but makes no secret of his desire to be back in authority: “If I can do anything for my country, I will be too happy to serve my people.” His remarks can easily be deciphered.Musharraf was forced to quit in 2008. Managing the affairs of the country for almost nine years, the 74-year old military commando fell victim to the Machiavellian machinations in the political territory.

The former president became highly controversial after he conducted an operation to flush out Taleban militants from the Lal Masjid, in Islamabad, in which at least 154 lives were lost. The mosque compound, which had a madrassahs too, was found to be a safe haven for Taleban militants, armed with weapons, which in Musharraf’s mind was a potent threat.A second incident, for which the ex-ruler came under severe criticism, was the killing of an eminent politician and Baloch tribal chieftain, Nawab Akbar Bugti.

Impartial enquiries into the matter sifted facts from fiction. It became evident after a couple of years that Bugti or his supporters were instrumental in blowing up a gas pipelines, emanating from his native land of Dera Bugti. Musharraf tried to pacify him and sent two of his colonels to his hideout in the remote mountainous area. A blast in the cave killed Bugti as well as the army men.Even his squabbles with the former Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was egged on by the then ISI Director-General Gen. Ashfaque Parvez Kayani, and the Chaudhry brothers — Shujaat and Pervaiz Elahi — of Gujarat, besides his own handpicked Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

They all deserted him when the crunch came to face the mounting public agitation. Musharraf was then forced to shake hands with his staunch opponent, Benazir Bhutto, after talks in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi.All these calculations backfired with disastrous consequences for the former head of state.
With a steep rise in the militant activities including several acts of violence, Musharraf’s firm stand against Taleban stood vindicated, boosting his image enormously. Now the current Nawaz Sharif government too is feeling the heat and has closed 17 seminaries in the southern Sindh province.

Similar action has been taken at the army’s behest in the Punjab mainland too, which has drawn ire from the hardliners. Sharif’s position has been further compromised because of his decision to ban horse-trading for election to the Parliament’s upper house, called Senate.All these and a number of other factors like severe inflation and a likely upward review of fuel prices, as also the government’s inability to provide relief to the common man, have contributed to dim the image of the Sharif-led administration, which in turn has set about speculation in the public if Musharraf could be a better choice and a savior in this present background.

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