South Asia

Saudi Minister’s visit sparks rumours

Supporters of Pakistan's former president and military ruler Pervez Musharraf stand outside a military hospital where Musharraf was admitted in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 3, 2014. Musharraf was rushed to a hospital on Thursday with a heart problem he experienced while on his way to a court hearing in the high treason case, police and lawyers said. Writing on banner reads "first Pakistan." (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)   | Photo Credit: B.K. Bangash

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tasnim Aslam on Friday described as fascinating news reports of a Saudi Arabia brokered deal to take the former President, General (retired) Pervez Musharraf out of the country. In response to questions at the weekly media briefing, she said that the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister was due here on Monday and his visit was planned last September when the Prime Minister met him in New York during the United Nations General Assembly session.

Even when the UAE President arrived on a private visit for hunting in Pakistan, she said she had read reports that he arrived on a special flight with the purpose of taking Gen. Musharraf along. Now this story is pegged to the visit of the Saudi Foreign Minister.

Ms. Aslam clarified that the visit was normal interaction between states. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan enjoyed a very close relationship and this would be the first high level visit after the new government in Pakistan assumed office.

To another question on whether Gen. Musharraf may be exiled to Saudi Arabia, she said she had no information and the Interior Ministry may be contacted.

Meanwhile lawyer for Gen. Musharraf, Mohammed Ali Saif told The Hindu that there were many rumours doing the rounds but the fact was that he was still in intensive cardiac care and no one was allowed to meet him. The doctors were not releasing his medical report yet and they were still carrying out tests and investigations. If the doctors say he has to be taken abroad for treatment then he will be, he added.

Gen. Musharraf was admitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology on Thursday as he developed a heart problem on the way to the special court which had summoned him for a trial on charges of high treason.

While the hospital has not issued any statement on his health, news reports said he was on blood thinning medicines and could need an angioplasty or a bypass. However this could not be independently confirmed. Meanwhile some political parties have criticised Gen. Musharraf for not facing trial and demanded that it be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

Bilawal Bhutto of the Pakistan People’s Party called him a coward but some others feel that he may have made a mistake coming back to the country.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed , chairperson of the Senate Defence Committee told The Hindu that the trial was an unnecessary distraction. It would not solve any of the problems including terrorism and the country should avoid politics of revenge.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 12:41:58 PM |

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