Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has reportedly accepted former president General Pervez Musharraf’s application to register a new political party named-All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), thus clearing the road for Musharraf to return to the country for another political stint.
Sources privy to the development said Musharraf was trying hard to register the party through some of his loyalists in the country for quite some time, and has now finally succeeded.
Sources said the application filed by the ECP named some of the office-bearers of APML such as Barrister Saif as chairman, Sher Alam Khattak as president, Chuadhry Abdul Ghafoor as senior vice president, and Rai Mulazam Hussain as secretary general.
Commenting on the reports regarding Musharraf staging a comeback, Major General (retired) Rashid Qureshi, while confirming that Barrister Saif was serving as a legal advisor and spokesman of Musharraf, said the former president has still not decided to join the newly-floated party.
Qureshi said though Musharraf enjoys huge public support, he is unlikely to join the APML in the coming days.
“Musharraf has not yet decided to join the party and is waiting for right time to join Pakistani politics. There are 155,000 members of Pasdaran-e-Pakistan and 150,000 lovers on face book. Its shows how much popular he is in the masses,” The Nation quoted Qureshi, as saying.
Musharraf has himself made it clear on several occasions that he would return to Pakistan if the country needs him and if he garners sufficient support.
But with numerous pending cases against him in various courts across Pakistan and the opposition, particularly the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) pushing for his high treason trial, the former general’s return seems to be a distant dream.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said Musharraf might have initiated his return by launching a new party, but is highly unlikely that any prominent personality will join his force.
“I don’t think any politician worth the name will join the new party. But some of those who are neither here nor there in the political field may choose to align themselves with it just to be in the limelight,” Hussain had said a few days ago.
Even Musharraf’s confidants say there is no point in taking the risk of facing detention on return by the former president when the overall situation in Pakistan is hostile and unfavourable for him and there have been demands for his arrest and trial.
During a recent television interview, Tariq Aziz, once Musharraf’s right hand man and the former secretary of the National Security Council, said his ‘boss’ will not return to Pakistan.
Aziz did not mention the time and period as to when Musharraf would return, but his statement confirmed that he would not board a flight to Islamabad unless the situation in Pakistan changes ‘radically’.
“It would be Musharraf’s own judgment to come back to Pakistan or stay abroad,’ said another Musharraf loyalist Mohammad Ali Durrani.
First Published: Friday, March 19, 2010, 14:20