KARACHI - Belying prophesies of not coming home and ignoring all threats to his life, former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf landed in Karachi on Sunday.

Ending his self-exile of more than four years, Musharraf gave a new turn to the political situation in the country with his return.

The former military ruler has been accused of being involved in the murders of Nawab Akbar Bugti and Benazir Bhutto. Charges have been also levelled against him for ordering the Lal Masjid military operation and violating the Constitution.

Political analysts say that it is a test case for the PML-N which was jarring against Musharraf and demanding his trial under article 6 of the Constitution.

The PML-N and the Pakistan People's Party criticised Musharraf in the past and passed a unanimous resolution in the Senate last year against him. But surprisingly, since his return, both the parties did not raise any demand of actions against him.

On the other hand, Balochistan Situation has created a stir among political circles as Baloch separatists and radical nationalists are pressurising Sardar Akhtar Mengal, former Balochistan chief minister and chief of Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) who returned to Pakistan on Monday, to boycott elections.

Akhtar Mengal’s voice is considered a saner one in Balochistan. His return augurs well for some sort of reconciliation with those fighting in Balochistan for "independence". 

His decision to contest general elections could help change the future political course of Balochistan, which is fast slipping into a situation that only a democratic and saner voice of the province can reverse.

The situation in the urban centres of Sindh is not much different than that in Balochistan. Rejection of delimitation of constituencies by the MQM and the unexpected support to the move by ANP and PPP for their own reasons, have added anxiety to it.  

Some political circles fear that the situation of Balochistan will cast its ominous shadow on other parts of the country.

The founder of Tehreek Minhajul Quran, Tahir ul Qadri, has already announced that his party will stage sit-ins on the polling day.

Amid this entire hubbub, Musharaf returned with the slogan of saving Pakistan.

Analysts are saying that follies of political forces will pave the way for non-political forces to play their role. They said that it was the failure of political parties and the parliamentary committee to come to a consensus on the name of caretaker prime minister and the matter was finally sent to the Election Commission for decision.

The head count at the Karachi airport on March 24 late morning was not as big as the supporters of former general had wished.

However, he has strong support in the business community and in the corporate world which believed that economic conditions had improved during his regime.

They said that business and commercial activities were badly hampered due to law and order that worsened during last five years, besides energy crisis was pushing the economy toward disaster and political parties have no economic agenda. Large number of industrial units in the metropolis either were closed or shifted to neighbouring countries.

The question agitating the minds of political pundits is whether there is a likelihood of a change in the political order.

What role the retired general is seeking and will he be given the role that he wants to play in future?

Speculations are on the rise that he may be given some role but it cannot be predicted what role it will be. This is evident from assurances some foreign factors have sought for him. Internal forces seem to have given those assurances. This leads one to believe that Musharraf may get a role between now and the elections of new assemblies.

Political analysts believe that Musharraf’s backing by the internal and external forces is aimed at pressurising major political parties to remain on a certain agreed path on some “strategic issues” or give him a seat in the next parliament and let him to wait for a changed scenario when General Kayani and Zardari will exit after completion of their tenures.

Analysts believed that due to worsening law and order situation and some other reasons raised by a few political parties about polls, the elections could be postponed.

The delay in elections can suit Musharraf as he has been against both major parties and an anti-political proponent by origin.

He is a suitable option for security establishment as he knows how to deal with security issues.

The cynics in the PPP believe that there is a plot afoot to reinstate him with the help of foreign powers.