Close aides of Musharraf privy to the developments regarding efforts to take onboard the ex-servicemen for broadening the APML base said on Wednesday that Musharraf after being deserted by several of the known political faces, has planned to build his support base with the backing of ex-servicemen of army, air force and navy by promising them to protect their interests after coming into power if they assemble under the umbrella of the APML.
They informed that Musharraf is in contact with several of his former colleagues, most of them served during his term and asked them to woo maximum number of the ex-servicemen starting from the rank of the officer to foot soldier for gathering at the platform of the APML in an effort to use their vote as a joint force of all the services to create their place among the political elite for protecting the interests of their community.
Close associates of Musharraf revealed that a data collection team comprising retired defence services officers’ has been assigned by the APML founder to collect the data of the ex-servicemen, which is still not available with the APML archives for asking the same to ponder upon ‘Musharraf’s Plan’ for using the ex-servicemen strength as a single political force from the APML platform.
They informed that there are 2.5 million ex-servicemen in the country at the moment according to the data collectors, who continue to increase. They further informed that ‘Pakistan First Forum’, headed by Musharraf has already been launched to gather the ex-servicemen at a single platform in the first phase, while the retired servicemen who agree with Musharraf’s ideas especially relating to the defence institutions will be invited later to join the APML.
They added that the forum has held three functions in Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore so far in which they gathered several retired Lieutenant Generals, Major Generals, Brigadiers, Air Vice Marshals, Admirals and scores of retired officers below these ranks. They claimed that many of them have already expressed their willingness to join the APML.
When contacted, Major General (r) Rashid Qureshi, close aide of Musharraf, he claimed that Ex-Servicemen Society founded by Lt Gen (r) Faiz Ali Chisti, which has 95,000 members, already expressed willingness to support Musharraf.
When asked about the ex-servicemen association members who demanded open trail of Musharraf for his alleged involvement in crimes of various nature, he maintained that ex-servicemen groups have been split into two groups of which a marginal faction opposes Musharraf, while a much bigger number of the ex-servicemen participated in the three Pakistan First Forum conferences.