Musharraf in Deep Crisis
Says US envoy’s meeting with Gen Ehsan not linked to CJ issue
By Rauf Klasra: The News, July 26, 2007
LONDON: General Rashid Qureshi, spokesman for the president, termed as speculation the reports that President General Pervez Musharaf was advised by his close military commanders to quit.
According to sources, Musharraf, during his six-day long discussions with his top military aides in Rawalpindi after the restoration of the chief justice, is said to have been advised that the best thing for him to do is to seek an “honourable exit”.
They said Musharraf did not react to these suggestions for the time being. He is expected to make a decision after his return from Saudi Arabia. He is likely to raise this issue with the Saudis to find a way out of the political “mess” without any loss of face, the sources said.
They said the absence of General Musharraf from public engagements since the historic judgment of the Supreme Court has raised questions in the minds of both politicians and mediapersons.
The silence of an otherwise articulate Musharraf has given currency to reports that all was not well at the presidency. His decision to visit the UAE and Saudi Arabia without any earlier announced schedule has given rise to the speculations in London that in his last ditch effort Musharraf was trying to seek help of his Saudi friends.
A source revealed that he had received reports from certain government quarters that General Musharraf was not expecting that the Supreme Court would restore the chief justice and with it his chances to get himself re-elected would be buried.
This judgment, he believed, has come as a major shock for Musharraf. It is said that during these six days of “isolation” at his Rawalpindi residence, Musharraf discussed with his top civilian and military aides and friends how to revive hopes of his re-election for next five years.
The sources said there was a consensus in the presidential camp that Musharraf was in such a situation that even the political support of Benazir Bhutto, or any other leader like Maulana Fazlur Rehman, could not bail him out.
He was told that now the ball was in the court of the chief justice of Pakistan. Sources said there was a strong perception among his friends and aides that even if the chief justice wanted to bail Musharraf out, he could not do so because of the high expectations people have developed after his restoration as the top judge.
Musharraf was now at the dead end of the tunnel, the sources said. Meanwhile, talking to The News from Pakistan, General Rashid Qureshi said he had no knowledge of any advice given to General Musharraf by his close military commanders to quit.
When asked about the reason behind the continuous silence of Musharraf since the restoration of the chief justice, General Qureshi said the president was performing his routine duties in a normal fashion.
Rashid referred to Musharraf’s meeting with the visiting foreign minister of Britain on Thursday. When asked whether the meeting of the US ambassador with General Ehsanul Haq had something to do with the existing crisis in Pakistan, he replied that ambassadors do call on the chairman joint chief of staff committee and it was not a big issue. But, he said, he did not know what might have been discussed between the US ambassador and General Ehsanul Haq.