Taliban alone hails return of Musharraf to Pakistan
Araminta Wordsworth Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf seems to have a death wish. Or he is simply hoping he will be luckier than Benazir...
No one was ever convicted of killing her, though Taliban sympathizers were suspected. Ironically, it was the Musharraf government that was blamed for failing to provide adequate security.A Now, the ex-general find himself in a similar position.
In less than six weeks, he is hoping to start a new party and run for parliament. But his biggest challenge may be surviving until the polls, scheduled for May 11. Already, the Tehrik-i-Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban, has put a price on his head. It is sending a "death squad" to kill him.
However, Musharraf may be luckier than Bhutto. The army is demanding the government provide what it terms "robust security." Apparently, he is entitled to it as a former military man. The Saudis have also weighed in on the security front, reports Express Tribune.
Former president Pervez Musharraf has chosen a vaguely familiar path to return to Pakistan from his nearly four-year exile, relying on the intervention of the Saudi royal family and its clout over one of his arch-enemies.
Talking to The Express Tribune, a close aide to Musharraf ... revealed that following closed-door meetings with the Saudi royals, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has agreed to refrain from creating any trouble for the former dictator upon his return.
He added that in light of the threats issued against Musharraf by the Taliban, the country's security agencies would provide security to the former president.A Whether Musharraf can revive his political career is another matter. As The Economist's Banyan blog notes, [The former president] finds not a trace of the power and significance he once wielded. He has come to contest elections, which are scheduled for May 11, or as he put it, "to save Pakistan." The nation could certainly use some sort of rescue, but Musharraf will face stiff competition in the field of men who are offering themselves as its saviour.
In particular this means another former minister who is also his bitter enemy, Nawaz Sharif, and a famous cricketer-turned politician, Imran Khan. And though the outgoing government of the Pakistan Peoples' Party failed to achieve much good on any front, its re-election cannot be ruled out.
Although Musharraf's is still a big name internationally, within Pakistan he has become politically irrelevant. His return marks the beginning of yet another sideshow for this election season. Writing for The Independent, Omar Waraich accuses the former dictator of narcissism
With no real political future ahead of him, it is hard to see why Mr. Musharraf has hazarded the journey. The Taliban has said it is going to send a death squad after him.
"I only fear Allah, no one else," he said [Sunday], in characteristically bluff tones. Mercifully, he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Pakistan cannot afford another assassination during another election. One wonders if one man's vanity is worth the risk. In The New York Times, Huma Yusuf is not ready to write off Musharraf just yet, pointing out he has already lined up a parliamentary seat.
[H]e has struck an agreement with the Karachi-based political party [Muttahida Qaumi Movement], a former ally, to stand unopposed by its candidates in the race for the parliamentary seat from Clifton & Defence, a constituency of posh seaside residential areas in the port city.
The Internet-connected, Facebook-happy elite living in those neighbourhoods seem to be his only political support. Just weeks ago, in the drawing rooms of Karachi's upper class I heard praise for the former military dictator.
Never mind his authoritarianism: His tenure was remembered as a time of security, prosperity and liberalism. But this privileged demographic is increasingly disconnected from the pro-democracy groups revving up for a historic election: the first handover from one civilian government to another.
Compiled by Araminta WordsworthA firstname.lastname@example.org