Many in Pakistan opposed to safe passage for Musharraf

August 18th, 2008 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 18 (IANS) A large number of politicians, lawyers and civil rights leaders are opposed to the idea of Pervez Musharraf being given safe passage out of the country after his resignation as president, though there are reports his bete noire Nawaz Sharif has agreed to it after a meeting with an envoy from Saudi Arabia.”Get ready for demonstrations and rallies to demand dictator’s trial,” reads an SMS circulated by leading lawyer Saifur Rehman. There are many other people who started congratulatory messages on mobile phones soon after Musharraf announced his resignation.

“I’ve heard that a plane is already in Islamabad to take Musharraf out of country… but he should not be allowed to leave Pakistan,” said Rukhsana Haleem, a political activist demanding his immediate arrest and trial by the anti-terrorist court.

Talking to IANS, she said that Musharraf was the man who handed over hundreds of Pakistanis to the United States to secure his own rule. “Now the people of Pakistan should tell him that because of his policies Pakistan faced so much trouble,” she argued.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said that no one is above the law. “Musharraf should be tried in the court for all his actions… If we allow him safe passage that would be unjust and a betrayal of the people of Pakistan,” He told IANS.

Soon after the announcement of the resignation, many political leaders gathered at the house of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the post-Musharraf issues. The PPP leads the country’s ruling coalition.

Sources said that the leaders including heads of the coalition parties were discussing the future of Musharraf who has apparently been guaranteed safe passage by the army.

Sources said that a senior official from the Saudi Arabian government was in Islamabad and had a meeting with Nawaz Sharif, who is opposing safe passage to Musharraf. The sources said that Sharif - who was jailed an exiled by Musharraf and spent almost six years in exile in Saudi Arabia as a royal guest - has finally agreed to the Saudi suggestion.

Under the formula, Musharraf would live in Saudi Arabia for the rest of his life and will not be allowed to leave the country. However, another source said that Musharraf would go to Saudi Arabia and would be in transit there and would go to some other country later.

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