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Musharraf to Launch New Pakistan Political Party


Former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf speaks at Kensington Town Hall in London on 29 Sep 2010, prior to officially launching his own political party

Former Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf speaks at Kensington Town Hall in London on 29 Sep 2010, prior to officially launching his own political party

Pakistan's former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, has launched a new political party and says he will return to Pakistan for the next national election in 2013.

Mr. Musharraf made the announcement in London, where he has been living in self-imposed exile.

He says the new party is called the All Pakistan Muslim League.

Mr. Musharraf says Pakistan's current government is crippled by nepotism and corruption. And he says only the army can save the country.

VOA spoke to a Pakistan analyst from London's Chatham House, Farzana Shaikh, and asked her whether Mr. Musharraf has a chance of winning the next election.

"The short answer to that is no," she said.

She says most of Mr. Musharraf's support comes from the Pakistani expatriate community. She says that group does have economic power but not necessarily electoral influence.

She says within Pakistan Mr. Musharraf is unpopular, even within the army.

"He is seen both inside the army as well as elsewhere in Pakistan as a man who brought the army into disrepute, a man who implicated the army in damaging Pakistan's image abroad and in destroying its institutions at home," said Shaikh.

Mr. Musharraf took power in Pakistan in a military coup in 1999. He quit as president in 2008 and was replaced by current President Asif Ali Zardari.

But Mr. Zardari's government, Shaikh says, is unpopular. The current president has been criticized for his handling of torrential flooding in Pakistan that the U.N. says has affected 21 million people.

"Mr. Musharraf obviously will be joining the ranks of many who are absolutely dismayed by the performance of the current government in Pakistan -- a government which has shown itself to be quite incapable of rising to the challenges posed to the country by the recent flood in Pakistan," she said.

She says Mr. Musharraf would not be able to return to Pakistan in the near future. She says he faces treason charges and his personal security would be at risk. Islamists twice tried to kill him when he was in power.

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