21 March 2017
Pakistan’s controversial former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has launched a television show commenting on current affairs.
The weekly show began on the Pakistani TV channel Bol last month. So far the former leader has called for closer ties with the US, criticised Pakistan’s civilian government and attacked India.
But his move raises many questions about his motives, and how’s it being received in Pakistan?
What’s behind the move?
Many retired military officials have morphed into security analysts after retirement, but Mr Musharraf is the highest-ranking official to go down that route.
He also scored a first in 2013 when he became the first-ever Pakistani army chief to form a political party of his own and file nominations to contest general elections.
But the electoral goal remains unfulfilled – he was banned from running and became embroiled in legal cases, eventually leaving the country for Dubai a year ago, ostensibly to seek medical attention.
Many believe this unfulfilled political ambition may be the driving force behind Mr Musharraf’s reinvention as a television intellectual.
What kind of show is it?
The programme, which goes out each Sunday, is called Sab Se Pehle Pakistan (Pakistan First) with President Musharraf. The line comes from Mr Musharraf’s most popular political slogan during his time in power.
A young female host, Shenaya Siddiqui, asks for his opinions on a range of political, military, economic and even entertainment issues. Mr Musharraf answers the questions from Dubai.
This format is not unique – several channels hire journalists to comment on current affairs – but this is the first such programme to use a former leader.
Editorially, Bol comes across as a staunchly pro-military, anti-India and anti-liberal news channel. It also appears to be trying to expand its audience by giving prominent politicians their own shows.