FORMER President Musharraf had been itching to return to Pakistan. Not long ago he expressed the desire for the Q-League elections to be postponed till the end of November when the two year mandatory ban on his participation in active politics would be lifted allowing him to lead the divided party as its consensus president. One wonders how he would react to the Supreme Court call to defend his November 3 actions in the court in person or through a counsel. The former President has been keen to return to the center stage of national politics to fulfil the self-assumed mission of leading the nation to a bright future. It remains to be seen if he returns to the country to defend his actions which he has always maintained were taken in the interest of the country. His failure to do so would support the accusations by his opponents that he lacks both courage and honesty. The situation where Gen (retd) Musharraf finds himself would test his mettle. Within one year of his departure from the Presidency from where he acted as the lord of all that he surveyed, his fortunes have undergone a reversal. Despite his political ambitions, he is gradually learning what happens to military dictators once they are out of power. The Chaudhrys of Gujrat who had vowed to get him elected ten times in uniform have now washed their hands off him, holding him responsible for their electoral discomfiture. Even the like-minded group, who were accused of working on his behalf by the Q- League, are unwilling to own him publicly. He is the only military ruler in the country's history who has been asked by the Supreme Court to defend his actions which many consider to have been taken in violation of the constitution. Attorney General Latif Khosa has told the court he had no right to impose emergency and the government is not in a position to defend his illegal acts. As has been the fate of the numerous pro-US despots before him, he too has been abandoned by Washington to his fate. President Obama's special envoy for Pakistan Richard Holbrook has said that as far as Washington is concerned Gen (retd) Musharraf is a part of history and it is for courts in Pakistan to judge him. He has amassed enough wealth to live comfortably abroad. It remains to be seen though if it would suffice to hire the expensive team of lawyers that once fought his cases at government expense. In the past numerous political leaders have defended themselves in cases they believed had been cooked up. No such cases presently exist against the former President. He is only required to defend actions that he took on and after November 3. Courageous leaders, willing to go to jail for their convictions, are widely respected in this country. Gen (retd) Musharraf could benefit politically by accepting the challenge thrown to him.