Nothing could be more amusing than Ch Shujaat Hussain asking Mian Nawaz Sharif to apologise to the nation for appointing General Musharraf as army chief by letting him supersede many senior generals. The demand coming from the chronic mumbler of our world of politics was a spontaneous reaction to Mian Nawaz's observation at the PML-N's CWC meeting that he would not mind taking the Chaudhrys of Gujrat back to the party if they sought forgiveness for helping the dictator perpetuate his rule in the past. It took the Gujrati operators nearly a decade to understand that General Musharraf was the worst thing that had happened to Pakistan and had Mian Nawaz not committed the blunder of making him the COAS the country would not have sunk deeper into the quagmire from where it now finds difficult to emerge. Flashback October 12 1999. Soon after Mian Nawaz's dismissal in a military coup and the subsequent arrest of the Sharif brothers in the alleged plane hijacking case, the Chaudhrys realised that Musharraf was going to be there for a long haul. It was then that they cleverly manipulated to carve out the King's Party from the PML-N and played second fiddle to the country's most repressive dictatorship. The House of Gujrat had the distinction of switching loyalties like a chameleon. The Chaudhrys wasted no time in deserting their party leadership when it was enduring the hardships of a military rule. Not just that they campaigned really hard to convince their party colleagues that since the Sharifs had no future in politics there was no point in being loyal to them. Musharraf turned out to be a saviour for them who could salvage their long cherished desire to govern Punjab a decade-and-a-half years after their first revolt in the 1980s. For Ch Pervaiz Elahi his elevation to the coveted position of the Punjab Chief Minister was a dream come true. It was a payback time. It was the time to reward the dreaded cops on whom the Chaudhrys of Gujrat had relied heavily in the past to settle their score with their political opponents. More than half of the DPOs in the Punjab were those who had served in Gujrat at one time or the other. Police officers were given postings on the basis of their loyalty to the House of Gujrat rather than their professional competence. Bright and the upright officers were left to sulk in the confines of the Central Police Office. The corrupt to the core cops were the Chaudhrys' most effective tool to intimidate the political opponents who refused to accept the pressure brought to bear upon them for switching over to the government. Those who agreed to change political loyalties were rewarded at the same time with Cabinet slots or other lucrative positions in the power set-up. The five years of the Jat Raj broke all previous records of horse-trading in the Punjab with Ch Pervaiz going the extra mile to serve his patron saint. The Punjab Assembly cannot get rid of the blemish of repeatedly passing resolutions in support of the military rule. And one does not have to tax one's memory to recall how many times the quislings pledged to elect Musharraf as president in uniform in a run-up to the general elections in 2008. Ch Shujaat cannot make people forget his cousin Pervaiz's sycophantic utterances. It was a sort of mutual back-scratching: Musharraf continuing to protect Chaudhrys against the wrath of their detractors who were annoyed with their leadership for not taking them into confidence while taking important decisions, and the latter doing everything they possibly could to keep the country from returning to civilian rule. The House of Gujrat is gradually turning into a comic opera. Now virtually lost in the pages of history, the Chaudhrys cannot help making funny utterances in a bid to dissociate themselves from the military misrule of the past nine years. But that would not stop their detractors from pushing them into oblivion. Mian Nawaz has paid enough price for the blunder he had committed by appointing Musharraf as the army chief. Ten years down the line, he need not make any apology to the nation. He stands vindicated.