ISLAMABAD -  All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) Chief Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf has stepped up his efforts to bring splinter groups of Muttahida Qaumi Movement under his wings, while also trying to win over the support of the nationalist and other Sindh-centric parties to form a formidable force to challenge status quo in the province.

Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front informed The Nation that Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his close political aides and emissaries were meeting key political figures who matter in Karachi and rural Sindh with the proposal of a political alliance to turn the tables on the parties of status quo.

The leadership of both the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan and Pak Ser Zameen Party leaders were overtly denying any linkage with Pervez Musharraf.

But, these parties along with some splinter groups of the MQM are still clinging with Altaf Hussain and taking direction from London were considering the proposal to have some adjustment with the APML if not merger into the APML or some other nomenclature to confront Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Sindh.

Political observers closely watching these developments said that actually the APML chief was now focusing on Sindh, particularly Karachi, and that was the reason instead of paying attention on other provinces his party has focused all its energies in the southern province.

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

They further said that in case the APML chief managed to land the nationalist parties of Sindh on one platform and bring the MQM groups under his wings, he would really 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 Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf with the PML-F chief had concluded on a positive note.

Similarly, though the PML-Q was not having any stronghold in Sindh they would likely join any alliance formed by these parties for the next general elections.

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

The party sources further informed that Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf would be back in the country before the next general elections and decision in this connection would be made by the party leadership in the coming days.

A senior party leader of the APML said that the return plan of Musharraf would greatly depend on the formation of the alliance and if the party leadership managed to bring the nationalist parties and the MQM splinter groups on the same page regarding some future political strategy then Gen (retd) Musharraf would return in the next couple of months.

Abrar Saeed