Decision on Musharraf's plea to visit Saudi to be taken soo

Pakistan's government will decide in a day or two whether to allow former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to travel to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences to the royal family following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 26, 2015, 18:43 PM IST

Lahore: Pakistan's government will decide in a day or two whether to allow former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to travel to Saudi Arabia to offer condolences to the royal family following the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Musharraf, 71, had submitted an application to the Interior Ministry seeking permission to visit Saudi Arabia to console the Saudi royal family since he has cordial relations with them.

Musharraf, the retired general, has also told the government that he is ready to give an undertaking that he will return to Pakistan if it allows him to travel to Saudi Arabia.

The name of former military dictator is on exit control list (ECL) in connection with the treason trial he has been facing for imposing emergency in Pakistan in November 2007.

"Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reviewed the request of Musharraf and sought legal opinion from his team. The government is likely to decide the matter in a day or two," an official of the ruling PML-N party told PTI.

He said the government might allow Musharraf to visit Saudi Arabia after taking 'some persons from armed forces' into confidence.

"The government may throw the ball in the court of Supreme Court if it fails to make up its mind allowing him to go to Saudi Arabia. The government is also facing a dilemma in this case. It may not reflect well on the Nawaz government if it does not entertain Mr Musharraf's request related to Saudi royal family," the official said.

Musharraf had sought permission last year to travel abroad to see his ailing mother but his request was rejected.

"But this case is different and the government cannot say simply no to him," the official said.

Retired Major General Rashid Qureshi, spokesman for Musharraf, said the former army chief was a brave man and unlike some other politicians he did not need to leave the country on one pretext or the other.

"Mr Musharraf has cordial relations with the Saudi royals. He was the only Pakistani leader who was accorded with unprecedented welcome in Saudi Arabia," he said.

Rashid Qureshi said the government should show magnanimity and remove Musharraf's name from the ECL.

"The government should not hide behind any legal cover and allow Mr Musharraf to proceed to Saudi Arabia," he added. PTI MZ

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