Islamabad: Former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf is lobbying for his favourite General to become new army chief and has held a secret meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari on this, a media report said Tuesday.
Musharraf, according to the The News daily, has not given up hopes of making a political come back in Pakistan and wants his favourite General to help him achieve the ambitions.
The would-be successor to Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is "a confidant and loyal of Musharraf and he could manipulate the situation to defuse the popular demand for Musharraf`s trial and help the former dictator in his re-entry into power politics", the report added.
However, the paper did not say when the term of incumbent Gen Kayani comes to an end. Kayani was handpicked by Musharraf to succeed him after pressure built on him to give up uniform.
The paper said Zardari-Musharraf meeting took place outside New York during Pakistan President`s just concluded visit to the US to attend the UN General Assembly session.
The paper said that Zardari had a two-day "private stay" in New York after his official itinerary and it was during this he met Mushrraf secretly.
The daily quoted its sources as saying that Zardari was escorted out of Barclay Intercontinental Hotel in New York, where he stayed, and taken to a "neighbouring state
known for its natural beauty and rural quiet life" in a small plane.Zardari met Musharraf in this neighbouring state.
During their discussions, Musharraf raised "the name of a person whom he wants as successor to Chief of Army Staff Gen Kayani", the report said.
"American patrons" of Zardari and Musharraf arranged their secret meeting. However, The News also quoted sources close to Zardari as rejecting the report of the secret meeting with Musharraf. These sources said Zardari had "no interest" in meeting Musharraf.
Zardari`s detractors were spreading "such stories to defame him", the sources said. Zardari also met CIA and Pentagon officials during the last two days of his stay in New York, the report said.