ISLAMABAD - On the directives of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) chief Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, the local leadership has intensified a country-wide membership drive to restructure the party with a focus on areas with a strong following.

Sources in the party said that party Gen (retd) Musharraf will return ahead of the next general elections to lead the party. Till that time, APML Secretary General Dr Amjad would supervise the membership drive and party’s organisation matters at district and tehsil levels.

Some party insiders said that efforts to forge an alliance with smaller parties, as well as party’s reorganisation drive, would go side by side, as the party chief believed that without bringing like-minded political forces on one platform “the dream of bringing real change on the political horizon would remain a dream”.

In the recent past, the APML secretary general revamped the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the party. According to a senior party official, more changes in the party’s provincial hierarchy in the other three provinces was also on the cards.

Musharraf and his close aides and emissaries have recently met with key political figures from Karachi and rural Sindh with a proposal to forge alliances to turn the tables against the parties of status quo.

Musharraf has been working to bring the splinter groups of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement under his wings, while he was also trying to win the support of nationalist and other Sindh-centric parties to grab seats in the next general elections.

Some splinter groups of the MQM, which are still clinging to Altaf Hussain and taking direction from London, are considering the proposal to have some adjustment with the APML to confront the PPP and the MQM Pakistan and Pak Sar Zameen Party in the port city of Karachi.

Political observers closely watching these developments say that the APML chief was now focusing on Sindh particularly Karachi and his party has been focusing all its energies on the southern province.

In the given political situation, the province seems a relatively easy target.

They further said that if the APML chief manages to bring nationalist parties of Sindh on one platform and bring the MQM groups under his wings, he could transform it into a very powerful force.

Sources in the APML said that the party leadership was quite optimistic about entering into an alliance with Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) as the contact of Musharraf with the PML-F chief had concluded on a positive note.

The Sindh nationalist parties and smaller groups having strongholds in inner Sindh districts like Zulfiqar Mirza and Shirazi group of Thatta would likely be part of the future alliance to give the Pakistan People’s Party a tough time in Sindh.

The party sources said that Musharraf would return ahead of the next elections and decision in this regard would be made by the party leadership in the coming days.

A senior party leader said that the return plan of Musharraf would greatly depend on the formation of the alliance and if the party leadership manages to bring the nationalist parties and the MQM splinter groups on the same page as part of the future political strategy, Musharraf would return in the next couple of months.