Former President Pervez Musharraf’s treason trial lingers on as more drama unfolds in a split political arena. Most recently, former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani jumped in out of nowhere and made certain claims, which have invited rejection from the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) itself. Gilani alleges that the PML-N and PPP had promised to provide a safe exit to Musharraf if he voluntarily resigned. According to Gilani, the PML-N along with other political stakeholders was privy to this secret “deal” reached with the former dictator. Musharraf did resign and left without making much noise after receiving a guard of honour.

It is entirely possible that a ‘deal’ was made indeed. However, it cannot be said with certainty that the details are exactly as described by Gilani. The PPP never shies away from taking credit for securing Musharraf’s resignation. Back in 2008, when Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari had rediscovered each other and the two were threatening Musharraf with impeachment proceedings, both knew that their common enemy would leave soon one way or the other. They were right. He left. And then what happened? Despite several assurances prior to Musharraf’s departure, Zardari became the President. Nawaz could only watch and moan. The smiling maestro had outsmarted the PML-N. Is it then outrageous to imagine a scenario where the PPP concealed certain facts from their temporary allies in PML-N? But let’s assume that the PML-N had agreed to some ‘conditions’, could it be expected to confess at a time like this? Will any other party? So far, no party including ANP, JUI-F, and even the PPP, has backed Gilani’s story. PPP leader Farhatullah Babar, whose words are usually considered to be Zardari’s own, has especially issued statements to negate Gillani.

It has been months since the treason trial started, so why has Yousaf Raza Gilani decided to share this ‘valuable’ piece of information just now? Forget now, why did he speak about this at all? He has already answered. He believes Musharraf should be allowed to leave. This is a stance favourable to the mighty, and thus favoured by them too. Has Gilani just remembered experiences of recent past, or has someone helped him recall or create fond memories? In any case, this controversy has presented the PPP as a disoriented and incoherent party. Some of its leaders push for Musharraf’s accountability, while others offer subtle justifications and plead for mercy. Knowing well that confusion has been employed as a legitimate political strategy, one wonders: is it accidental or intentional? Will the PML-N continue to resist and pursue the case? Or will it take advantage of political opposition to gradually soften its stance and spit out what it doesn’t have the stomach to swallow?