Islamabad: Amid reports that former president Pervez Musharraf was unlikely to return to Pakistan any time soon, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said "gates were open for him" and there were no restrictions on his coming back to the country.
Malik`s comments came in wake of reports that Musharraf, currently in the UK, will embark on a 40-day visit to the US from September 14 and was unlikely to return soon to Pakistan where there is a clamour for putting him on trial.
There are no restrictions on Musharraf`s return to Pakistan and the "gates were open for him," Malik said, while dismissing speculation surrounding back-to-back visits by himself and Musharraf to Saudi Arabia.
Malik said he had not conveyed any message about the former military ruler to Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.
Malik said in an interview with The News daily that he had not held any discussions on Musharraf`s fate with the king and that Musharraf was free to return to Pakistan.
Following Malik`s visit to Saudi Arabia, close on the heels of one by Musharraf, speculation was rife that the Saudi royal family was lobbying strongly to prevent his possible trial in Pakistan on charges of treason.
Musharraf is living outside Pakistan since mid-April, when he went abroad to deliver a series of lectures.
Observers have said he is unlikely to return in the near future in the wake of a Supreme Court verdict declaring the emergency imposed by him in 2007 as illegal and unconstitutional.
Nawaz Sharif led PML-N is strongly demanding Musharraf`s trial on charges of treason.