Musharraf has decided to quit: daily

May 29th, 2008 - 9:38 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 29 (IANS) Beleaguered Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has “made up his mind to call it a day” and he may do so in the very near future, a newspaper reported Thursday. Although the president’s official spokesman denied this, Musharraf “has no option left but to quit”, The News said, quoting highly placed sources.

Musharraf “has made up his mind to call it a day and he can make an announcement in this regard any time. His closest aides are of the view that after losing all hope of survival in power, the president has made up his mind to lead a retired life”, the newspaper added.

The president has already been asked by important officials not to think about any step that may further aggravate the already fragile political situation in the country, it said.

Musharraf has also consented to leave the Army House immediately “and he may move to the President House within 48 hours (by Friday evening) before calling it a day”, The News said.

Speculation about Musharraf’s impending departure increased after Pakistan’s Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, held an “extremely important meeting” with the president at the Army House in the adjacent garrison town of Rawalpindi late Wednesday.

“The meeting continued till after midnight lasting more than three-and-a-half hours,” The News said in a report headlined “Gen. Kayani looks Musharraf in the eye”.

In what was their longest one-on-one encounter, the meeting “was significant in view of the current political and security situation in the country”, the newspaper said.

It gained further importance as it took place after day-long consultations of the army chief with his important commanders.

In another sign of the changing times, Musharraf loyalist Brig. Aasim Bajwa has been replaced as commander of the 111 Brigade that is tasked with guarding the president, federal capital Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

The brigade has always played a major role in staging coups in the past.

Bajwa, who served Musharraf as his military secretary in his initial days and was considered the most loyal army officer of the president, was made commander of the 111 Brigade just before Musharraf stepped down as army chief in November.

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