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MUSHARRAF’S RETURN

A register of reports and views from the Pakistan press

Written by Ruchika Talwar |
March 30, 2013 3:20:21 am

MUSHARRAF’S RETURN

WHILE steering Pakistan’s political wheel for almost 10 years,Pervez Musharraf was often referred to as “Rambo” in Pakistan’s press,because he never lost an opportunity to depict himself as the country’s saviour. When he became the president of Pakistan in 2002 on a PML-Q ticket,he introduced his government as being composed of “enlightened moderates”,which was meant to hardsell Brand Musharraf to the right wing electorate as well as the progressive and young whose outlook on religious and nationalistic issues was relatively softer. Now,after five years of self-imposed exile and floating his own political party,the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML),Musharraf has returned home to once again “save Pakistan”.

The Express Tribune reported on March 24: “Vowing to save Pakistan,former president Pervez Musharraf on Sunday said he will make Pakistan a country its citizens will be proud of… A huge crowd of supporters and APML members welcomed him outside the Karachi airport… Musharraf intended to hold a rally at Mazar-e-Quaid,however,the No Objection Certificate issued to his party was cancelled,citing security threats. He criticised his opponents for sabotaging his gathering. Expressing grief over the current state of affairs in Pakistan,the former president said he has come back despite threats and predictions against his return.”

Even though Musharraf was denied his venue of choice for his “launch ceremony”,he wasn’t denied the security protocol afforded to former heads of state. Dawn reported on March 27 that security preparations for Musharraf’s arrival in Islamabad (March 28) were in full swing. The local police barricaded some roads leading to his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad,on the outskirts of Islamabad and even provided for frisking of women so as to apprehend female suicide bombers.

THREAT ALert

MUSHARRAF may have come to save Pakistan,but he also needs to save himself,as the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and some Baloch nationalists have threatened to kill him. A detailed account of the various threats hovering above his head was published in The News on March 25: “Musharraf might be lucky to have escaped arrest in the murder cases of Benazir [Bhutto and Nawab Bugti. But the million dollar question is: will he be fortunate enough to dodge the suicide bombers of the TTP and the fidayeen attackers of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) who are bent upon eliminating him?… A former Pakistan Air Force officer Adnan Rasheed,who was allegedly involved in an assassination attempt on Musharraf,has vowed to lead the fidayeen who have been tasked to eliminate the ex-dictator who had escaped two murder attempts by suicide bombers in December 2003 in Rawalpindi… Nawab Talal Bugti,the president of the Jamhoori Wattan Party,has reminded Musharraf of a fatwa passed by 36 Ulema,which declared him fit to be murdered for the assassination of his father.”

Maulana Abdul Aziz,the then cleric of the Lal Masjid during the bloody military operation in the mosque’s complex in 2007,has also demanded Musharraf’s arrest and trial. The Nation reported on March 27: “He alleged that Musharraf was involved in a number of heinous crimes including killing of innocent students of the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa… and he should be punished otherwise a serious reaction could not be ruled out in the country.”

WEDDING BELLS

ATIF ASLAM enjoys a huge fan following in India. He is popular among young Indian women not only for his throaty,heady voice and soulful guitar strumming but also for his looks. And some of them will be disappointed to learn that he wed his girlfriend of 12 years,Sarah Bharwana,reported The Express Tribune on March 29.

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