Come aboard, Washington think tank urges Musharraf

February 1st, 2009 - 10:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Pervez MusharrafIslamabad, Feb 1 (IANS) Former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has been offered a chair at a Washington think tank and he seems inclined to accept the offer, sources close to him said.Middle East Institute head Wendy Chamberlain, a former US ambassador to Pakistan, made the offer at a reception the think tank hosted for Musharraf over the weekend.

Chamberlain urged Musharraf to be the institute’s next scholar-in-residence on Pakistan, saying it was willing to create a special chair for the purpose.

“Sources close to Mr. Musharraf said the former president seems interested in the offer, which will give him the chance to write another book on his experience as the head of a country considered key to US security,” Dawn reported on its website.

Only a few Pakistanis were invited for the reception. Musharraf did not address the gathering but the guests spoke to him in small groups.

Besides Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador-at-Large Riffat Mahmood, US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, former State Department officials Robin Rafael and Daniel Markey, and scholars Steve Cohen and Marvin Weinbaum also attended the reception.

Asked to comment on his meeting with Musharraf, Haqqani said he shook hands with him, adding it was normal for diplomats to attend such events.

During his three-day stay in Washington, Musharraf, who has since left for home, also met former US vice-president Dick Cheney.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said he was not aware of Musharraf’s meetings with US officials and asked reporters to check with other departments, saying: “One place to start would be the Pentagon.”

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