Pakistan: Musharraf Gets Support From Former Military Colleagues

Former president Pervez Musharraf has got much-needed backing from his former military colleagues at a time when his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) lacks support for his unhindered and safe homecoming.

Musharraf gets support from former military colleagues

ISLAMABAD: Former president Pervez Musharraf has got much-needed backing from his former military colleagues at a time when his All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) lacks support for his unhindered and safe homecoming.

Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf speaks during a press conference in east London

The Pakistan First Group (PFG), whose formation was announced this weekend by retired military personnel, has demanded of the government to provide to Gen Musharraf the protocol a former head of state deserves.

Talking to Dawn, a former director-general of ISPR and aide to former military ruler, Maj Gen (retd) Rashid Qureshi, said the PFG was a non-political entity. But he did not rule out a political role for the group.

“Originally, the PFG has been created as an apolitical pressure group to counter the propaganda campaign currently being run against the army and the ISI.

However, we are witnessing clear undertones and the group may join politics in the coming weeks and months,” Mr Qureshi said.

About Gen Musharraf’s possible return to the country, he said: “The other day I talked to the former president who has yet to change his plans to return by the end of the month. But we will meet in Dubai on Jan 25 to take a final decision in this regard.

“The PFG unanimously supports the former president’s plans to return to the country and take part in elections.” He said the former president addressed a gathering of the PFG recently via a telephone link.

“They (PFG members) also resolved to stand against all those who are involved in casting aspersions on armed forces, especially the ISI.”

However, analysts wonder whether or not the group will be able to manage the safe and secure return of Mr Musharraf who is facing multiple arrest warrants for his alleged role in the killing of Benazir Bhutto, Nawab Akbar
Khan Bugti and others.

Some 150 retired officers of the three services announced at a local hotel here on Saturday the creation of the PFG and unanimously called for the safe return of Gen Musharraf, at present shuttling between Dubai and London.