Musharraf, Sharif may meet in Riyadh on Tuesday

November 19th, 2007 - 12:56 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Nov 19 (ANI): Speculation is rife that President General Pervez Musharraf will hold a meeting with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Riyadh on Tuesday, with the Saudis playing the mediators.

However, sources close to Sharif said that no meeting was scheduled so far, and even if there would be any meeting on the insistence of Saudi authorities, the only agenda would be to devise a strategy for Musharrafs unconditional exit from power.

The News quoted PML-N leaders as saying that the only thing they could talk about was how and when Musharraf would quit, and whether he would restore the ousted judiciary, revive the Constitution and put Pakistan back on the democratic rails.

The chances that such a meeting could take place looked more possible because Nawaz Sharif himself had stated minutes before Geo TV went off the air that he had refused to see General Musharraf in Saudi Arabia twice, the daily said.

Musharraf is expected to visit Riyadh or Jeddah in a couple of days.

Sources in the Pakistani High Commission in London told the paper on Saturday night that the Saudi authorities had pointed to the concerned Pakistani authorities towards the possibility of such a meeting reportedly on Tuesday.

Rumours are also making the rounds that Musharraf met another former premier Benazir Bhutto in Karachi on Sunday.

However, leaders close to Benazir, including Rehman Malik, Sherry Rehman and others, have denied any meeting between the PPP chief and the President. One important media high-up of the outgoing cabinet said if any meeting was to be held, it would have been on Saturday night and not on Sunday.

The Musharraf-Benazir meeting speculation surfaced at a time when US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte pushed hard for their patch-up during his visit to Pakistan. He had advised the two leaders not to show brinksmanship and not to resort to confrontation, something which was probably aimed more at the PPP leader than Musharraf.

A high-level official in Islamabad was quoted as saying that that the back-channel interactions between the interlocutors of the presidential camp and Benazir were very much alive and the two sides were in touch with each other off and on.
Though the official said that no meeting between Musharraf and Benazir was on the cards, the official did not even rule out further contacts with the other side soon, and expressed the hope that the PPP chief would act in a more realistic manner in the wake of her conversation with Negroponte. (ANI)

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