‘Security nightmare if Musharraf remains in Pakistan’

August 16th, 2008 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, Aug 16 (IANS) Pakistani security agencies are in a tizzy over reports that President Pervez Musharraf would be permitted to remain in the country after he steps down, saying it would be virtually impossible to provide him foolproof cover. This is because all of the high-tech gadgets currently used to guard him would be withdrawn once he leaves office.

Thus, many of the country’s ethnic groups, for instance the Pakhtuns and the Balochis, who have sworn to avenge the injustice done to them “could easily dodge the police arrangements” made for Musharraf and attempt to assassinate him, The News said Saturday.

“The security bosses are extremely worried about Musharraf’s security if a decision about granting him permission to stay within the country is made once he steps down,” the newspaper added.

“He would become a ‘potential high risk’ after coming out of the fortified Presidential Palace and the security chaps are expressing their inability to provide him protection in that eventuality,” The News said.

The report was headlined “Musharraf security a high-risk job”.

“Those expected to be entrusted (with) his security are being advised by their near and dear ones to refuse to take such a responsibility,” the newspaper said.

Musharraf will not be entitled to military protection once he relinquishes the post of president. The absence of advanced jamming systems against remote controlled explosives and non-availability of bullet proof shielding would make him more vulnerable to any attempt on his life.

The satellite security system will also not be available to him to provide advance information about any untoward movement on the route he travels, the newspaper said.

The security of former presidents is the responsibility of the police and its special branch “and elements after Pervez Musharraf could easily dodge the police arrangements”, The News said.

In this context, it noted that Musharraf “has developed animosity with Pakhtun and Baloch ethnicities of the country. He would be on the hit list of various Sindhi groups because of the killing of Benazir Bhutto.

“The religious circles are also highly critical of Musharraf,” the newspaper said.

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