THE dream flickers on.
From self-imposed exile to treat a suspicious back ailment that allowed him to escape a treason trial, retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has announced a remarkable political alliance.
Remarkable because several of the members of the purported alliance have expressed their surprise at their inclusion in the group.
Undeterred by such technicalities, Mr Musharraf appears willing to devote his time to save Pakistan from the depredations of the very politicians that he tried to save the country from nearly two decades ago.
The PPP and PML-N are horrible, the public is hoodwinked and only Mr Musharraf and his ramshackle alliance can now deliver the kind of miracle progress and advancement that the former dictator’s decade-long rule was unable to do.
Mr Musharraf also appears poised to return the country to his version of enlightened moderation, with his new alliance roping together the left and the right of the political spectrum. If only the people could understand that he knows what is best for them.
Pathos aside, the twilight of Mr Musharraf’s political career is a reminder of the distortions that continue to be injected into the political system by anti-democratic forces.
The new alliance is just the latest in a long line of peripheral political entities either cobbled together by or vying for the support of the establishment.
In virtually all such instances, the voter has proved too savvy to fall for the naked political manipulation.
On occasion, however, power has been flexed behind the scenes to ensure favourable outcomes — sometimes stealing whole elections and at other times rising to become a serious distraction for mainstream political forces.
It remains to be seen where Mr Musharraf’s latest desperate attempt to remain politically relevant falls. Will it become a comedic punchline or something more unsavoury and menacing?
However, shame alone should have prevented Mr Musharraf from trying yet again — his stint in power was a disaster for the country and the institution he once led.
Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2017