The United States has revealed, for the first time, that it wanted a “safe exit” for the former Pakistani military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, after he was forced to step down from the post of head of state last year.

Anne W Patterson, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, said Washington wanted a “safe exit” and a dignified retirement for the former President, the Daily Times newspaper reported on Sunday, quoting a private TV news channel.

The U.S. envoy underlined that Washington had wanted a peaceful transition to democracy.

The possibility of General Musharraf being tried for treason has arisen after the Supreme Court recently declared the emergency imposed by him in 2007 as unconstitutional and illegal. However, the U.S. envoy said the demands for General Musharraf’s trial for treason under Article 6 of Pakistan’s Constitution were the country’s internal matter.

“Now he [General Musharraf] has become a thing of the past and we have no position on him,” she was quoted as saying in the report by the Pakistani daily.

Last week, a row had erupted among political parties here after media reports quoted President Asif Ali Zardari as saying the former military ruler was given a “safe exit” after his resignation last year because of a negotiated settlement guaranteed by “international and local” stakeholders.

Succumbs

A top Taliban commander, who was captured after being injured seriously in a gun battle with security forces in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley, succumbed to his wounds on Sunday, said the military.

“Sher Mohammad Qasab, who had multiple bullet wounds, succumbed to his injuries on Sunday morning,” said the military in a statement.

A team of Army doctors was treating Qasab but “he could not survive.” Qasab, who was carrying a reward of Rs. 10 million on his head offered by the NWFP government, was a close aide of Maulana Fazlullah, chief of the Taliban in Swat.

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