Former military dictator Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf will contest the upcoming general elections. That he is still dubbed by most as ‘former president’ – not former dictator or former military ruler – shows just how much popularity he still enjoys in the media houses.

Of course, it isn’t just the media with whom he is immensely popular. Others of course feel they owe him loyalty based on his former designations. That is why he will be contesting the elections next month.

Musharraf is set to contest the elections from Chitral’s NA-1, and Karachi’s NA-247. Of course, those fortunate enough to be residing in these constituencies have the golden opportunity to pay everything that they owe to the motherland, the rest of us can contribute our small bits as well, in ensuring that it turns out to be a winning return for the prodigal son.

Although there really shouldn’t be any need to list down reasons as to why everyone one of us owes Musharraf and Pakistan their vote, or support, let us still go through the superfluous exercise of discussing them.

The greatest benefit out of Musharraf winning and perhaps leading a coalition government as the Prime Minister of Pakistan – having breached its constitution, having ruled the state with totalitarian authority, having spearheaded security policies that killed tens of thousands of citizens, having fled from a treason trial, having mocked the very idea of accountability on which a particular election narrative is built – would be the fact that it would do away the façade.

One can safely say that the illusion that you have the right to decide who rules this country, is actually worse than you being told that you do not have that right. And arguably more so than President Musharraf, it would be a Prime Minister Musharraf that would really rub it in.

Another great benefit of having Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf would be the fact that the National Security Committee (NSC) meetings – one of which we had last week under the caretaker setup – would become less comical.

Considering that the civilian prime minister who has historically chaired these meetings, and signs the final handouts as well, pretty much has no idea what the piece of paper he is signing is going to say, it would be better if such a task is carried out by Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf.

For not only would he have an idea of what is being discussed in the meetings, but also because many of those ideas would’ve had been generated or propagated by him years ago. This would ensure that there are no Dawn Leaks, or any other leaks, ever again.

However, there is one critical issue that we – the proud patriotic voters of Pakistan – need to address, so that we are on the same page.

There are a growing number of patriotic parties, all of whom, it can be said, deserve our pro-Pakistan vote.

For instance there is the Tehrik-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) and the Milli Muslim League (MML). The MML mightn’t be registered as yet, but Hafiz Saeed ticks off quite a few patriotic boxes, one would have to say. Thankfully, he is not contesting elections himself, perhaps so as to not divide Musharraf’s votes.

But what about, you know, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI)? What’s wrong with Prime Minister Imran Khan?

Then there are of course the likes of the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), and even the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is becoming increasingly patriotic – although the latter has too much of a baggage of the past to be truly trusted just yet.

This is where the coalition comes into play. All these parties would get a sufficient number of seats to eventually unite and form the government.

Of course, Imran Khan could lead this coalition as well. But Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf has the ring that would echo in the future, just like President Pervez Musharraf reverberated in the past.


The writer is a Lahore-based journalist.