–Ex-military dictator says no interest in heading MQM-P, PSP
–Says will come back soon and face courts
–Pakistan Awami Ittehad announces convention in Lahore, rally in Karachi
Former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf has announced a grand political alliance, consisting of 23 political parties, that will function under the name of Pakistan Awami Ittehad.
The alliance will be headed by ex-army chief Musharraf while Iqbal Dar would be its secretary general, a private media outlet reported on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference in the wake of this development, Musharraf said the central office of the alliance will be opened in Islamabad, adding that the alliance’s leaders would be among people and work for their betterment.
The retired general announced that he would return to Pakistan soon, adding that he did not want any security when he does since the country’s situation is better now. “I will return at an appropriate time” so that the “development work in the country is not disturbed”, he said.
Meanwhile, APML Secretary General Dr Amjad announced an upcoming convention in Aiwan-e-Iqbal, Lahore and a “huge” rally that would take place in Karachi in December.
Musharraf, who left for Dubai in March 2016, claimed that he was ready to come back to the country and face the cases registered against him.
In a reference to his former allies, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat and Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, the retired general expressed hope that Elahi would become part of the alliance, adding that he had always supported him.
The former president also advised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan to “join hands with a group that would take Pakistan forward” while accusing him of only thinking about his own party—PTI.
The political parties that constitute the alliance include the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), the Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Sunni Itehad Council, Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen, Pakistan Sunni Tehreek, Muslim Conference (Kashmir), PML-Junejo, PML-Council, PML- National, Awami League, Pak Muslim Alliance, Pakistan Mazdoor Ittehad, Conservative Party, Muhajir Ittehad Tehreek, Pakistan Insani Huqooq Party, Millat Party, Jamiat Ulma Pakistan (Niazi Group), Aam Loug Party, Aam Admi Party, Pakistan Masawat Party, Pakistan Minority Party, Jamiat Mashaikh Pakistan, Social Justice Democratic Party.
Elaborating that his alliance would be a reprieve for the people suffering under current political rulers, he said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) were destroying the country and the people should be rid of such forces. He went on claim that the PPP has died in Punjab.
Envisioning his party as a final nail in PPP coffin, Musharraf said support should be mobilised in the rural areas of Sindh in order to defeat the PPP at its home ground.
Musharraf also took a jibe at ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party, saying the political future of Nawaz and his party is over and there is need of a new political force to come to the forefront.
‘Don’t want to head ‘minor, ethnic’ MQM’
Referring to Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the former president expressed concern at the state of affairs of the party while denying the persistent rumours that he had wished to lead the MQM. He said it was ridiculous to think that he would want to be head of a “minor, ethnic party”.
Earlier, All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) leader Mohammad Amjad said if MQM-P and PSP become part of their alliance, then Musharraf may assume the role of [their] leader.
Commenting on a brief alliance between MQM-P and PSP, Musharraf said the merger was “unnatural” due to a lack of leadership.
In a piece of advice to the panic-stricken MQM-P, he told them to stop calling themselves Muhajirs and refer to themselves only as Pakistanis.
“My vision is to see the Muhajir community united under one banner,” he said, adding that the name of MQM has been tarnished and they should join Pakistan Awami Ittehad as well.
In August 2017, an anti-terrorism court declared ex-military dictator Pervez Musharraf a fugitive in the murder case of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and acquitted five people in the killing.
In 2013, Musharraf was charged with being culpable in Bhutto’s murder. He seized power in a 1999 coup but stepped down nine years later after new elections, and now lives in Dubai in self-exile.