THAT King Abdullah reportedly sent a special plane for former President Musharraf and then invited him to his palace in Jeddah is quite significant on account of its timing. The report comes at a moment when there is widespread demand for the former General's trial for eight years of dictatorial rule and for imposition of Emergency on 3 November 2007. While Prime Minister Gilani says he would like to prosecute Musharraf he maintains that this is not doable at present. On the other hand PML(N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif has demanded an urgent trial of the former military ruler under Article 6 of the Constitution. He has threatened to launch a movement if the government did not take action. Coming at this juncture, the reception accorded to Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf in Saudi Arabia is likely to be interpreted as an expression of support for the former President. King Abdullah had in the past persuaded General (retd) Musharraf to withdraw cases against Mian Nawaz Sharif after which the latter was released from jail and provided asylum in Saudi Arabia. One wonders if the move amounts to a veiled message to the PML(N) leader to pay back the favour. If so, it would be highly embarrassing for Mian Nawaz, who has all along accused the PPP leadership of being soft on Musharraf. Meanwhile PML(N) leaders have threatened to launch an agitation if the government failed to prosecute Musharraf. PML(N) Senator Zafar Ali Shah has said his party would call for mid-term elections in that case. Mian Nawaz is supposed to visit Saudi Arabia in days to come and there is a strong likelihood of his meeting the Saudi authorities. It remains to be seen if he sticks to his stand on Musharraf with the same fervour. There are reports of the Saudi King having played the role of a guarantor at the time of Musharraf's resignation, assuring during the talks that no action would be taken against him after he stepped down. It is a fact that Pakistani politicians both in power and in opposition have sought King Abdullah's support. Under the circumstances, it might be difficult for them to ignore the Saudi views even when they are not in line with the public sentiment. General (retd) Musharraf meanwhile continues to fish in the troubled waters of Pakistan's politics. Failing to capture the PML(Q), he is now hobnobbing with its rival group. There are reports that he has called some of the District Nazims to UAE. The people of Pakistan continue to suffer from the policies pursued during his eight-year-long military rule. Even if political leaders yield to pressures from friendly countries, the demand to bring him to justice will continue to be popular in Pakistan.