Musharraf to be fringe player in Pak polls: US experts
Washington: Pakistan's former military dictator Pervez Musharraf, back home from his self-imposed exile, would remain a fringe player in the country's general elections in May and should care more about his security, top American experts said today.
"In Pakistan he is widely seen as washed up, potentially in a hazardous position, because cases have been lodged against him and because he has a lot of very dangerous enemies in Pakistan right now," Daniel Markey, an expert on India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations, told reporters during a conference call.
He was responding to questions on Musharraf's return to Pakistan last month to participate in the forthcoming elections.
"There is a real question about his safety and security, and I join Dan (Markey) in hoping that very careful attention is being paid to that," said Ryan Crocker, former US Ambassador to Pakistan.
Nevertheless, Musharraf might win a couple of seats, Crocker added. Markey said Musharraf "undoubtedly" gets more respect in the US than he gets in Pakistan these days.
"He is remembered here as few other Pakistani leaders are. In fact I would hazard to guess that if most Americans were asked to name a Pakistani leader, he might be still the top one who comes to mind," he said.
"I frankly was still a little bit surprised that he did in fact return to Pakistan. I read that the Saudis were assisting that return -- quite possible, although have no proof of it. I hope that somebody is assuring his security, for his sake -- I think it would be disruptive -- otherwise, for Pakistan's sake," he said.
"He doesn't have a real political vehicle yet to ride on as a party, and it would take him a matter of years to do that, to build anything, and there's no sign that he has the sense politically, as far as I can tell, to really make that a reality. So I'm not quite sure who's advising him, but I wouldn't expect him to be a major player any time soon in Pakistani politics," Markey said.