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Musharraf: Homecoming

Back to square one


Will Musharraf's return change Pak's political scenario?
SAYAN GHOSH | Issue Dated: November 30, -0001, New Delhi
Tags : Pervez Musharraf | Asif Ali Zardari | Nawaz Sharif | Pakistan |

"Where are the people who said I will never return home. I have been receiving death threats and some people have been trying to scare me but I have returned home for the sake of my country and people," was Pervez Musharraf’s riposte to the skeptics who discounted his chance of return owning to the charges hanging against him. It is noteworthy that Musharraf's safe homecoming was tolerated by Asif Ali Zardari, the man who was put behind bars and later forced into exile by Musharraf himself as Pakistan’s president way back in 1999 and 2004 respectively. It is debatable whether it’s a gesture of magnanimity or a lame submission to General Kayani’s dictate, with whom Musharraf enjoys an arm’s length relationship. Despite being one of the weakest presidents of Pakistan, Zardari knows that Musharraf doesn’t present a realistic challenge for him in the upcoming general election to be held in May this year. Not because Musharraf doesn’t hold any charisma but he is endowed with too little time to establish a foothold in the heartland of Pakistan. Further, and most importantly, Zardari was helpless as a multi-participant’s deal was struck involving the army, the government of Saudi Arabia, Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf.
Musharraf’s impact on the impending polls and in Pakistan’s public life doesn’t seem too potent as the contest will be a tripartite dead-heat race among Zardari, Imran Khan and Sharif. However, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the leadership of Indian immigrants in Pakistan, has immediately warmed up to Musharraf with open arms much to his delight in an otherwise hostile environment prevailing.

Musharraf had been a mixed bag for India – on the one hand he orchestrated the Kargil war as military general while on the other he had been instrumental in cooling Kashmir’s simmering pot as the country’s president. Even though it’s a remote possibility that Musharraf would hold the reins of power again in the foreseeable future it might not be a bad idea for India’s cause if he does! Otherwise, his return to Pakistan will carry negligible impact in India’s political domain.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017