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Musharraf likely to leave Pakistan by Jan 31: US media
Publication Date : 09-01-2014
Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf will soon leave Pakistan for medical treatment abroad, the US media reported on Wednesday. In two separate reports, Los Angeles Times and CBSNEWS cited security and intelligence officials as telling their correspondents that Gen Musharraf might leave the country by the end of this month. The reports did not identify the sources.
“It is good for everybody, including Musharraf, that he would go out of the country,” a senior security official told LA Times in Islamabad.
CBSNEWS reported that members of Musharraf’s family and intelligence officials told its correspondents that the former president was expected to leave the country for medical treatment by the end of January.
Other sources said the military played a key role in persuading Musharraf to go, although he wanted to stay and do politics. They claimed that days before the May elections, the then interim government also attempted to send Musharraf out of the country.
A friendly country was willing to transport Musharraf to a destination in the Gulf from where he was to be moved to Britain, to be with his ailing mother. The plan failed because Musharraf refused to leave.
“Apparently, Musharraf has now agreed to leave and his former colleagues in the military (that is, retired generals) also helped convince him,” said one source.
Last Thursday, Musharraf was rushed to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi after he complained of chest pain en route to a court in Islamabad.
On Tuesday, a special court trying the former military ruler said it was examining a medical report to decide whether Musharraf could be excused from appearing in court while he remained hospitalised.
The treason charges, which carry the death penalty or life imprisonment, relate to events in 2007 when Musharraf imposed a state of emergency and several judges and protesters were detained.
The LA Times noted that Musharraf’s presence in Pakistan had become “a political headache” for the 6-month-old government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“By attempting for the first time to prosecute a former senior military figure, Sharif’s government has ignited tensions with an all-powerful army establishment that is loath to see a former leader humiliated in a civilian court,” the newspaper observed.
“Army leaders were said to be frustrated with Musharraf’s decision to return to Pakistan last year.”
The hospitalisation of a person who appeared to be in good health in media appearances also fuelled speculations that the military was determined not to let Musharraf stand trial, the Times noted.
“Analysts said that Musharraf’s departure for medical reasons increasingly seemed to be the only way to resolve the standoff between the government and the arm over his fate,” the newspaper concluded.