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Shehbaz to rule Pakistan next: Musharraf

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Former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf predicted that PML-N will win the upcoming general elections in 2018 and PPP will win the government in Sindh. He said this while giving an interview to Ary News on Monday. The former president advised the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to retire from politics and stated that his brother, Shehbaz Sharif, would prove to be a better prime minister.

Musharraf also gave his opinion about the future of Maryam Nawaz. According to him, Maryam has a bleak political future and even her own party leadership will not accept her as a politician, hinting towards Chaudhry Nisar’s statement that he would never accept Maryam Nawaz, who is his junior, as the party chief.  He also said that he will come back to Pakistan after the current PML-N government’s tenure is over.

Dr. Farooq Sattar Lacks Leadership Qualities

Responding to MQM-P chief’s allegations that a minus two formula was being implemented to make Pervez Musharraf the party chief, Musharraf said that he had no interest in becoming the chief of MQM-P and he wouldn’t accept this position even if it were offered to him. He claimed that his vision was broad and MQM-P didn’t fit into it.

The ouster of PML-N’s government in Balochistan has also been considered a move by the establishment to weaken Nawaz’s hold on the party since the disgruntled leaders of the PML-N Balochistan were not happy with Nawaz’s lack of action in the whole incident.

Musharraf also claimed that Farooq Sattar lacks the leadership qualities to lead the party and so does Mustafa Kamal. “To think MQM-P is the representative of muhajirs is a shallow notion,” the former military ruler stated. He advised the MQM-P to rebrand itself and fall under one banner which is not based on any ethnicity. Commenting about PTI chief Imran Khan, Musharraf stated, “Imran also does not have a vision, but he has a charming personality.”

A question has been widely asked ever since Sattar’s allegations that attempts were being made to make Musharraf the party chief. What does MQM-P have to gain from making Musharraf its chief? Musharraf had close ties the MQM during his whole military tenure and he had also invited them to Pakistan Awami Ittehad, his 23 party political alliance. But irrespective of their history, Musharraf has nothing to offer to MQM in the current scenario.

Read more: Islamabad High Court sets precedence asks to investigate Musharraf for corruption

Musharraf is a notorious figure in political and media circles, and being a former military dictator, his acceptance among the pro-democratic parties would be very limited. It is suspected by some media reporters that Sattar made the allegation in an attempt to divert attention from the actual issue within his party and gain the sympathy of pro-democratic forces within his party. Associating his rivals with Musharraf might be a strategy to take away their credibility.

Numerous media sources have reported in the past that the military wants Shehbaz to become the PML-N chief. Musharraf might have given the message of the establishment that PML-N will have the next government but only if they allow Shehbaz Sharif to lead it.

Many critics have accused Musharraf of making outrageous claims to stay politically relevant. Musharraf was the central figure of Pakistani politics for a decade and the most powerful person in Pakistan. The sudden fall from glory and into oblivion might have been hard for the former dictator. Political experts question the credibility of Musharraf’s claims since they are based on sentiment rather than fact and he gives no reason for any of his opinions.

The Future of PML-N

PML-N is the favourite heading into the 2018 elections but Musharraf’s prediction that they will win the election might be a hint that the establishment might be behind their back or they might be making their own calculations as to who will win the next elections. Musharraf being the former chief of army staff must be privy to those sources. But there has been a clash between PML-N and the judiciary since the past few months in which the PML-N chief, Nawaz Sharif, has also dragged the military.

Read more: Musharraf professes newfound love for “LET”

The statement of Musharraf might be a hint that the establishment is hoping for a minus-one formula while dealing with PML-N. The developments in the past few months which saw the ouster of Nawaz Sharif, contempt cases against senior PML-N leaders and the nomination of close aides of Nawaz Sharif in the Dawn Leaks issue reinforces this notion. While Nawaz has been busy in his anti-judiciary and anti-military campaign, Shehbaz Sharif has constantly affirmed that institutes should be respected and has not given any statements against either the military or judiciary in the past few months.

Numerous media sources have reported in the past that the military wants Shehbaz to become the PML-N chief. The ouster of PML-N’s government in Balochistan has also been considered a move by the establishment to weaken Nawaz’s hold on the party since the disgruntled leaders of the PML-N Balochistan were not happy with Nawaz’s lack of action in the whole incident. Musharraf might have given the message of the establishment that PML-N will have the next government but only if they allow Shehbaz Sharif to lead it.


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