Mush to meet Saudi King before returning to Pak

The Saudi royal family has often played the role of an arbitrator in Pakistan`s domestic politics.

Islamabad: Ahead of his planned return to
Pakistan later this month, former President Pervez Musharraf
is expected to meet Saudi King Abdullah to discuss getting
"foolproof guarantees" from Pakistani civilian and military
leaders that he will not be arrested after his homecoming.

68-year-old Musharraf, currently living in self-exile in
Britain and Dubai, intends to return to Pakistan on January

He is expected to meet the Saudi King on January 22 to
discuss getting "foolproof" guarantees from Pakistan President
Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that
he will not be arrested on his return or prosecuted for any of
the crimes he has been charged with, The News daily reported
today quoting its sources.

The former President has made contacts with senior
officials in the US to discuss the issue.

American-Pakistani businessman Raza Bokhari, one of
Musharraf`s close associates, is expected to meet US
Ambassador Cameron Munter in Islamabad to ensure that the
former military ruler is not arrested or prosecuted, the
report said.

The Saudi royal family has often played the role of an
arbitrator in Pakistan`s domestic politics.

It played a key role in facilitating a deal whereby
former premier Nawaz Sharif was allowed to leave Pakistan
after he was deposed in a military coup led by Musharraf in

Saudi royals have also helped in settling disputes
between top Pakistani leaders.

Musharraf is expected to announce the exact date for his
homecoming only after he gets assurances from international
players that he will not be arrested or prosecuted on the
return, the report said.

Musharraf`s spokesman Chaudhry Fawad said he was not aware
of his possible meeting with King Abdullah but could confirm
that the former army chief was going to Saudi Arabia on
January 19 or 20 to perform `Umra`.

Fawad said he was unaware of any planned meeting between
Bokhari and the US envoy but admitted that some world
capitals, which are worried about the worsening situation in
Pakistan, want Musharraf to come back and play his role as a

Musharraf plans to return to Pakistan on January 31,
Fawad said.

The former President has been accused of wrongdoing in a
slew of civil and criminal cases that were filed across
Pakistan after he stepped down in 2008.

An anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi has issued an
arrest warrant for Musharraf for failing to cooperate with
investigators probing the assassination of former Premier
Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf has also been named in cases related to Baloch
leader Akbar Bugti`s killing and the imposition of an
emergency in 2007.

It is in this regard that Musharraf wants guarantees from
Washington and Riyadh that he will not be touched or jailed on
his return, the report said.

A source close to Musharraf told the daily that he
intends to get a "clear message conveyed to President Zardari
and army chief Gen Kayani" from the US and Saudi Arabia that
he should be allowed to pursue his political goals.

The source said comprehensive lobbying for Musharraf`s
return has already been done in Washington and the meeting
between Bokhari and the US envoy is a follow-up of this

According to Musharraf`s All Pakistan Muslim League
(APML) party, the former President plans to return from
self-exile with a large group of Pakistani-Americans and
journalists from Pakistan and the West.

APML leaders have been talking of preparing the party`s
leadership for an "interim set-up."

The party has decided to spend Rs 117 million for a
"Welcome Pervez Musharraf" publicity campaign while Rs 6.29
million will be spent on transport and other arrangements for
a public meeting to be held on his arrival.


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