Musharraf on verge of being flown out of Pakistan: report (Lead)

May 30th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 30 (IANS) Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is on the verge of quitting with a special aircraft being positioned to fly him out and Senate chair Muhammadmian Soomro being asked to cut short his foreign tour and return home, a newspaper report said Friday. Soomro, who was the caretaker prime minister in the run up to general elections this year, will be sworn in as interim president when Musharraf steps down.

But Musharraf, on his part, dismissed reports about his resignation, terming them a malicious campaign to create unrest in the country.

Quoting highly placed sources, The News said that a special wide-bodied Airbus A-310 aircraft has been parked at the Chaklala airbase in the garrison town of Rawalpindi adjacent to the national capital.

“It will take special passengers to a close neighbouring country. Packing at an important house in Rawalpindi is in full swing as the modalities have also been finalised for the exit of the significant family,” The News said.

Musharraf resides in the Army House in Rawalpindi.

Special security has also been put in place in both Islamabad and Rawalpindi “in view of significant impending developments. Special contingents have also been deployed at important installations as well as the Army House”, the newspaper said.

“The additional security arrangements have been made to ward off any untoward situation in the wake of the departure of the important family,” it added.

The final decision on Musharraf’s exit would, however, be taken after Soomro’s return.

Reacting to these developments, Musharraf said: “The rumour-mongers wish to create differences between me and the army.”

He was speaking at a dinner Thursday evening hosted in honour of the outgoing Punjab governor, Lt. Gen. (retd) Khalid Maqbool.

The Pakistani Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, had met Musharraf Wednesday evening and this had fuelled speculation that the president had been asked to vacate Army House and to step down.

Citing security concerns, Mushaaraf has continued to reside in Army House even after shedding his uniform last November.

Musharraf said the speculative reports caused the loss of billions as stocks plunged, creating panic in business circles.

“This trend must not continue as it was damaging for the country’s economy and a threat to foreign investment,” the president maintained.

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