Some leaders of the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), a party founded by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf, are said to be facing mounting uncertainty.
“If Musharraf does not return to Pakistan, they (APML leaders) are not going to contest in the upcoming general elections,” a close aide of Musharraf, who also served as a federal minister during then prime minister Shaukat Aziz’s cabinet, told The Express Tribune.
“Musharraf has pushed us into a blind alley by deciding not to return to Pakistan,” he said, adding that he was contemplating distancing himself from the party and even quitting politics altogether.
Another senior member of the party also says there’s a slim chance of the APML participating in the elections. He said many party workers were disillusioned when Musharraf did not address, leave alone attend, the rally taken out against lawlessness and load shedding in Sargodha last week.
Senior APML leader Zahid Sarfraz, who led the rally, decided to part ways with APML after Musharraf did not attend his call.
Key leader Dr Amjad met with Musharraf in Dubai recently and urged the former ruler to come back to Pakistan to expedite APML’s efforts for participating in the general elections.
Amjad, however, said he himself will now focus on social welfare programmes rather than his political career. Lamenting growing resentment among party workers, Amjad noted the APML can only grow if its top leadership stays in the country.
A leader of APML’s Punjab chapter, Javed Badar, also resigned recently. “A few so-called leaders have hijacked the party and are hoodwinking Musharraf for their own vested interests,” alleged Badar.
Others who have bid the APML goodbye are Sher Afgan Niazi and Fawad Chaudhry, while Hanook Bhatti switched to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf a few days ago.
APML’s central leader Ahmed Raza Kasuri, however, is quick to brush aside all such speculations. “Musharraf will certainly come back,” said a confident Kasuri.
His view is that the general elections will be delayed and held after a long interim set-up. He added that his party will reorganise itself during this time.
Political analyst Raza Rumi said that Musharraf has an uncertain political future in any case.
He said that in light current circumstances, where the Pakistan Peoples Party wants to prosecute Musharraf and the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz wants to avenge its top leadership’s exile, opportunist politicos are starting to jump ship.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.
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