Musharraf to remain in Pakistan: Spokesman

August 20th, 2008 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Aug 20 (IANS) Former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf will stay in Pakistan and has no immediate plans to leave the country, his spokesman said Wednesday.”There is no truth in media reports. Pervez Musharraf is not leaving the country and will stay on in Pakistan,” Rashid Qureshi said on ARY television.

This was first statement from Musharraf’s spokesman since the former president quit office Monday evening after staying in power for about nine years.

Qureshi rejected reports that the former president was planning to shift to another country.

Qureshi said that till the last moment, Musharraf had kept his decision to resign close to his chest. “Even before his speech I was not aware of his resignation… I am not sure at what time he took the decision,” he added.

He said that the former president, who had served the army for 44 years, is “giving time to his family which he couldn’t give in the last many many years.” He was also planning to play tennis on a regular basis.

Qureshi said Musharraf is currently residing in Rawalpindi’s Army House and may shift to his country villa in Islamabad after it is completed. He, however, was not sure when the construction would be completed.

Qureshi refuted reports about any deal with the government, adding: “I am not aware what forced Musharraf to resign… what I know is this was his own decision and in the larger interest of the nation and country.”

Qureshi, himself a retired major general, said that Musharraf may travel out of the country to meet relatives and friends or for academic purposes but will not leave the country.

Musharraf’s chattered accountant son Bilal, and his brother live in United States. He has several friends and relatives in several countries, including India, where he was born, and in Turkey where he spent his youth.

A close source to Musharraf said that US President George Bush had invited him in personal capacity and he may be chosen for a high profile job.

“Musharraf has refused to leave the country immediately but may be visiting United States in a month or so once he gets immunity from parliament and dust has settled,” the source said.

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