CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The return of retired President and Gen. Pervez Musharraf to the homeland before May's general election has certainly been the "talk of the town" in Pakistan these days.
Musharraf, creator of the Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam political party (PML-Q), ended a four-year self-exile when he returned.
However, this time he's not dominating and powerful like during his more than 10 years of power, when the red carpet was always under his heavy boots and no one dared to challenge his decisions.
Even his former allies -- PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his cousin ex-chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervez Elahi -- remain distant, despite the fact that they worked together for more than a decade to safeguard their multiple self-interests.
The Chaundhrys of Gujrat helped Musharraf create the PML-Q party after the toppling of the government of Mian Nawaz Sharif in the 1999 military coup that put the general in power. Before that, the Chaudhry Brothers, as they are called, were aligned with Sharif.
The Chaudhry Brothers, in exchange for their switch in allegiances, received control of several local governments, but they were uneasy with the presence of Sharif, even though he was no longer in power and was lodged in the jail at Attock Fort with his brother.
Musharraf responded with pressure on Sharif and his allies, pushing for Sharif to leave the country. Sharif did not want to leave the helm of the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz (PLM-N) because he was aware that party assets, including main leaders, would be grabbed by Musharraf and his PML-Q party by hook or crook.
This fact was seen by this scribe, being an eyewitness reporter regarding coverage of the detained Sharif at Attock Fort jail from day one until their exile to Saudi Arabia. At one hearing, a Sharif family adviser met with him during a break in the proceedings and tried to convince him of the benefits of exile to Saudi Arabia. At that time, Sharif became very emotional.
Soon after the departure of the Sharif brothers for Saudi Arabia, the Chaudhrys took easy access to strengthen Musharraf's rule. They established their majority in parliament after winning the 2002 election.
But soon after the fall of Musharraf's regime after PML-Q's defeat in the 2008 general elections, the Chaudhrys started parting ways with the general, which deepened with the passage of each day.
Even though he started the PML-Q party, after his defeat, Musharraf was given no room in the party by the Chaudhrys, ultimately forcing Musharraf into his own exile.
Now, PLM-N is again on top and Nawaz Sharif is again in power. PML-Q still faces the post-effects of its decade-long association with Musharraf.