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Musharraf is padding to play another innings, on front foot

August 25, 2009

Zahid Malik

Zahid Malik, interviewing President MusharrafIslamabad—The assertive youth of the world are in a defiant mood. Very casually dressed tourists were spending and enjoying. But the Britshers themselves were not spending much. Economic depression of 2008, and now, much criticized, rather tremendously abhorred, involvement of Britain’s Armed Forces in the “unwinnable” war in Afghanistan was putting some what unbearable strain on British dwindling economy. The locals were not in a “feel good” state of mind. But Pakistanis looked comparatively more depressive. The Pakistanis of all walks of life, whom I met during my one-week stay in London, were extremely critical and disappointed over their motherland’s present set-up on three counts:

1. There is no governance not to call of good governance in our country, where we would like to be buried despite all that.

2. The Federation of Pakistan is getting more fragile with danger of Balkanization.

3. The increasing distancing of two trusted friends of Pakistan thus fast eroding of Pakistan’s strategic interests.

General Pervez Musharraf:

Contrary to public perception here in Pakistan, the new abode of the former President, 28 Castleacre, is just 3-bed modest apartment. Not luxuriously decorated. It is a ten-storey building with three apartments on each floor. Some prominent Pakistanis like Mr Aftab Sherpao, and Lt Gen (Retd) Zahid Ali Akbar, former Chairman WAPDA, have apartments of their own in another building about 100 yards away as pointed out to me by the former President, while we were looking the surroundings through a window of his apartment. Mr. Rehman Malik, the strongman of the Government and Sir Anwar Parvez, a Pakistani business tycoon have comfortable residences in two adjoining buildings. Thus the area of General Musharraf’s new abode can be described as 5% Gulbarg, Lahore of Pakistan, while Mr. Shaukat Aziz has an elegant apartment in a posh all-gora sector.

General Pervez Musharraf was a refreshing model of strong commitment, unwavering confidence, and with usual commando exuberance. My two-hour long interaction with General Pervez Musharraf convinced me that he was all willing to play another innings in Pakistan and that too on the front foot. He totally and stubbornly rejects all awkward bouncers, some of which may injure him.

The former President is convinced that all of his Presidential actions were taken after due consideration and on the basis of “Pakistan first”. Some of the top Grade 22 politicians of Pakistan, belonging to various political parties, but mostly with PML (Q) identity, are in touch with him on a regular basis. Many politicians who are somebody in the Pakistani political set-up call on him when they visit London and all of them have to wait for a day or two to fix an appointment. Fast track meetings are possible only if one routes through Mr Shaukat Aziz who is in touch with his former “boss” on a 24-hour basis.

The former President is thinking in terms of forming a new Muslim League Party which may take all splinter groups of Muslim League, under his wings. “Pir Sahib has assured me that his hurs will enthusiastically receive me at the airport whenever I return to Pakistan”, General Musharraf told me. Even Makhdoom Amin Fahim had a candle – light dinner with him at Dubai when both of them were in UAE to attend the fabulous marriage party of the son of Mr Sadaruddin Hashwani, fondly known as Sadru.

However, it is pertinent to mention that the former President is not likely to come back in the near future. He has an enviable statesman clout in many countries. Khadim Al-Haramain Al-Sharifain powerful King Abdullah has extended him an invitation to visit the Kingdom as his personal guest. He is also scheduled to deliver 14 lectures at various establishments in USA where Henry Kissinger, a former US Secretary of State, will be a co-speaker in some of the engagements. General Pervez Musharraf has acquired a status of an accomplished, par excellence speaker, who speaks with courage and conviction. So, to be brief, he will in the near future not he back to Pakistan because of his impending international engagements.

I wish some of our single-track revengeful politicians in Pakistan must have risen above their self and the former President, who enjoys tremendous respectability abroad, should have been “pardoned” and informally integrated with in the state institutions as a trouble shooter abroad if and when situation so demanded.

Read full report at “Pakistan Observer”. Click here.

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