Save me, Musharraf urges Saudi Arabia

August 11th, 2008 - 3:16 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
By Muhammad Najeeb
Islamabad, Aug 11 (IANS) Disappointed by his American friends, President Pervez Musharraf, who faces impeachment by the ruling coalition, has sent an “SOS message” to the Saudi authorities, a source said Monday. “The message was sent through a senior Saudi diplomat based in Islamabad,” the source told IANS, adding the president has received a response that is “not very positive”.

The source said the Saudi authorities, however, are sending a senior government official to gain a first hand view of the situation arising out of the impeachment move.

The source, privy to the developments here, said that Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Ali Awadh Asseri would also be soon returning home after cutting short his private visit to his homeland.

Musharraf, when he seized power in October 1999 after overthrowing prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had sent him into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Later, when Sharif attempted to return to Pakistan last year, Musharraf persuaded the Saudi authorities to “take him back” and he was bundled off after spending over two hours at Islamabad airport. This invited criticism of Saudi authorities, which otherwise command respect among the majority of Pakistanis.

However, in November last year, Sharif with the help of Saudi authorities returned to Pakistan to lead his party in the February general elections. Since then, he has been campaigning against Musharraf and was instrumental in convincing his allies in the ruling coalition to impeach the president.

The source said that Saudis may prefer to stay away from the internal politics of Pakistan after the Sharif incident after which, for the first time in the country’s history, the media and civil society voiced concern over the Saudis’ role.

“What I know is that Musharraf may be offered permanent residence in Saudi Arabia if he resigns. The Saudis may manage amnesty for him, sparing him from further humiliation and high treason charges,” said the source.

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