On 08th of January-2012, chairperson of one faction of Muslim League, ex President of Pakistan, General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf pledged his return to Pakistan by the end of current month. Reacting to this news item in the media, the interior minister Mr Rehman Malik attempted to deter him with the threat of a ‘possible arrest. He alleged him as a“Proclaimed offender, “He will have to answer many questions on his return to Pakistan,” Malik added. The former president and general is wanted in various high-profile cases pending in local courts, including his alleged involvement in former premier Benazir Bhutto’s murder, the interior minister further quoted.. Earlier, senior special prosecutor Azhar Chaudhry also said that Musharraf will be arrested on his return to Pakistan. Azhar, who is representing the federation in Benazir Bhutto’s murder case, said there is no need to issue new warrants for his arrest since the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi has already issued arrest warrants in the case.
On one side announcement by Pervez Musharraf to return to Pakistan has created opposition, stir and panic in political elite while on the other exists a substantial segment of Pakistani society which, having been fed up of the incompetence of feudal type politicians, has started weighing him a better option as compared to incompetent and corrupt typical political lot. Before evaluating the option of Pervez Musharraf let us briefly refresh our memories about him. Pervez Musharraf who was born on 11 August 1943 in undivided India is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled Pakistan as Chief Executive from 1999–2001 and as President from 2001-08. In the face of impeachment, he preferred to resign on 18 August 2008. After years of military service, he rose to prominence when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appointed him as the Chief of Army Staff in October 1998. Musharraf was the mastermind behind the controversial and internationally condemned Kargil infiltration, which derailed peace negotiations with Pakistan’s long standing enemy India. He previously also played a vital role in the Afghanistan civil war (1996-2001) both in peace negotiations and in trying to end the bloodshed. After months of contentious relations with Sharif, Musharraf was brought to power through a bloodless military coup. Subsequently Nawaz Sharif was placed under house-arrest, later shifting him to Adiala Jail and then to Saudi Arabia.
As Pakistan’s head of state, Pervez Musharraf was a U.S. ally in the War on Terror. He was credited with the development of Pakistan’s economy during the early years of his rule. The last two years of his rule have been marred by controversies the suspension of the Supreme Court Chief Justice and the Red Mosque siege. He is also credited to be the first president of Pakistan who accepted Supreme Court rulings and who organized free and fair elections.
In February 2011, a Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for him because of his alleged involvement in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. As of June 2011, he lives in self-exile in London but has vowed to return for the next election. He has announced that he intends to return to Pakistan on 23 March 2012. However now on January 7, 2012, while addressing the audience through video link he announced his intentions to return to Pakistan between January,27-30, 2012.
Leaving aside, being former president and chief of Pakistan Army, what legal actions will be permitted against him, he does enjoy few plus points in evaluation relative to existing political elite desiring the highest office in the country. Compared to his political rivals, being a child, he was brought up in Turkey and is blessed with secular mind set which gives him the potential to logically evaluate the separation of state affairs from the religions. Because of his secular thinking, during his golden days he did dare to introduce the joint electoral system in Pakistan but then some of his close aides forced him for reversal. Later, however, he did repent his reversal decision. He has again shown the courage to move in this direction provided gets the powers. Separation of religion from state affairs can help any statesman to solve most of the problems being faced by the Pakistan including the religious fundamentalism. Until now no other high profiled political leader has ever dared to speak on this subject.
Being ex top brass of Pakistan military, he is in a better position to make the re-appraisal of civil military power tussle in the country. In his previous tenure he enjoyed the power due to uniform and now if resumes power on political performance will definitely be exposed to ever increasing civil military rift but from a different wicket. Keeping in view his long uniformed experience, thereafter as statesman, his existing international contacts as well everlasting connections within the Pakistan Army all put him on a much better crises managerial position as compared to his relative counterparts.
After seeing his exposure to international forums as key note speakers, gambler on Kagil issue and true in depth accessibility to all the secret files of Pakistan, he seems to be in much better place to reassess the threat perceptions for Pakistan. So called Indian phobia and search of strategic depth in Afghanistan all need fresh appraisal. Currently he seems to be very well versed with whole scenario and can achieve best results on these fronts.
Investigation carried out by Ansar Burney has already revealed dumps of wealth in his accounts thus exempting him for any further greed of wealth, so one can expect least financial corruption from him. Compared to existing incompetent and corrupt lot, his tenure was relatively much better for people of Pakistan. He very rightly pointed out his achievements during his recent election campaign speech. Country s helm of affairs running under ex military brass, one can always expect good governance all over. History of Pakistan is witness to it starting from Ayub Khan.
Last but not least he is well read and well recognized internationally. Many decades of multi natural experience in uniform, decade of statesmanship of problematic country like Pakistan, travelling and meeting with all types of people around the globe contribute towards his outstanding position amongst all the thick headed political elite of Pakistan. Allegations of treason, toppling of civil governments, trespassing of powers etc are all ill conceived and stereotype allegations which many rulers of the country had faced. Timely daring step by Pervez Musharraf to arrive back and to fight for the betterment of country and people of Pakistan may give him another chance to rise to an unsurpassable height in the history of Pakistan.