Musharraf decides to jump into politics

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: Former president Pervez Musharraf has decided to jump into full time politics but not until he moves into his new home at Chak Shahzad as he does not want to misuse the Army House.

“I don’t want to make the Army House a hub of political activities because of its unique nature, but my political headquarter will be my personal residence once I shift there,” Musharraf has told his visitors.

One of them asked him about the political platform on which he would fall back to which the former president posed a counter question: Will the PML-Q not be available to him for the purpose?

To this, the visitor pointed out to him that it would all depend on the Chaudhrys of Gujrat, who were in charge of the PML-Q, to allow him the use of their party’s platform for his politics. He also mentioned that in the last few weeks of his rule his relations with the Chaudhrys had been seriously dented because Musharraf had wanted to dump Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the PML-Q president.

The visitor said the Chaudhrys were no more frequent visitors of Musharraf’s residence thinking that he was of no more of any consequence politically. Musharraf was explained what fate has befallen Imran Khan, who had embarked on a solo flight by launching his own party after believing that he was too popular as a former cricketing hero.

Another visitor, who is a former federal minister and worked with Musharraf for five years, said the former president was too optimistic about his “political standing and future” despite the fact that he was “deadwood” now and has no political prospects whatsoever.

However, the visitor said that Musharraf was very disappointed over the performance of the present government and told him that on the request of the previous finance minister (Ishaq Dar) he had talked to China for financial support that had been provided.

He said he wondered what had Musharraf in his pocket to be so confident about himself. He said his state was no different from what it used to be when he was holding the top office. The former minister said Musharraf told him that he was planning to undertake visits to some foreign countries in the near future and his first stop would be Saudi Arabia where he would also perform Umra.

Since the former president’s resignation, the only publicly known high-profile activity organised at the Army House a few days back was when he hosted the recently retired top officers of the armed forces which was also attended by Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

The former minister said some other visitors have told Musharraf that the PML-Q was relevant as a political party only during the time when he was the president of Pakistan. After his exit, it has no political bearing and that’s why it is in the wilderness since his resignation. He added Musharraf was well aware of the plight of the PML-Q where most of its leaders and MPs were following a wait and see policy to decide about their future.

The News, 18/10/2008

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