Islamabad: The Pakistan government is
under "unprecedented pressure" from the rulers of the United
Arab Emirates to pave the way for a "safe, secure and
honourable homecoming" of former President Pervez Musharraf, a
media report said Wednesday.
The rulers of UAE, who have considerable influence
among all the main political parties of Pakistan, are said to
have asked Islamabad to initiate steps to "build a favourable
political image" for Musharraf and to ensure that he will not
be harassed by court cases and the police on his return, The
Express Tribune daily quoted its sources as saying.
According to an understanding reached between the UAE
and Pakistan several months ago, it was decided that the
Pakistan government would facilitate Musharraf`s return as
soon as the two-year bar on his participation in politics
ends, the sources said.
Official sources told the newspaper that the pressure
had forced President Asif Ali Zardari to curtail his visits to
Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The "extraordinary interest" of UAE`s rulers in
Musharraf`s political future came to light when UAE`s Foreign
Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed al Nahyan made a covert
visit to Islamabad within three days of the Federal
Investigation Agency`s announcement that the former President
had been included in the investigation into former premier Benazir Bhutto`s assassination.
He spent only 30 minutes with Zardari before heading
back to the UAE but immediately after his visit, Interior
Minister Rehman Malik told the media that the government did
not intend to question Musharraf in connection with the probe.
Malik also said on November 27 that the government had
not made any decision to include Musharraf in the probe.
Earlier, an FIA team had prepared a 32-point
questionnaire that was meant to be sent to Musharraf,
currently living in self-exile in Britain.
Top Pakistani politicians like Zardari and PML-N chief
Nawaz Sharif have close links with the UAE`s rulers and have
lived in Dubai for long periods when they left Pakistan and
went into self-exile in the past decade.
Musharraf too has close links with the ruling family
and often holds meetings with his supporters in Dubai.