Former dictator Pervez Musharraf has said he never sought aid from former army chief Raheel Sharif to leave Pakistan, making a U-turn from earlier remarks that the general helped him by preventing the government from pressuring courts.
In an interview to a TV channel on Monday, Musharraf said he never contacted Sharif and that he was not approached on the issue by any authority. He specified that Sharif, who retired last month, never discussed his cases and that he never sent any request to the former army chief.
Musharraf said TV channels were manipulating his previous statement based on "general assumptions".
A week earlier, Musharraf created a flutter by saying that Sharif had helped him leave Pakistan by keeping the government from pressuring courts.
Musharraf, 70, had been barred from leaving the country as he was facing several high-profile cases, including for murder and high treason. He was indicted for treason last year for imposing emergency rule in 2007. In March, Musharraf left for Dubai, where he resumed his political activities.
He told a TV talk show last week: "Well he (Sharif) did help me and I am absolutely clear and grateful. I have been his boss and I have been the army chief before him...he helped out, because the cases are politicised, they put me on the (Exit Control List), they turned it into a political issue."
Asked by the host to explain how the former army chief helped him, Musharraf said by "influencing the courts".
His statement backfired and caused an uproar in Pakistan, embarrassing the military high command and infuriating the top judiciary. To make amends, Musharraf blamed the media for misquoting him on Monday.
The media, however, continued to air Musharraf's earlier interview in which he had said, “The courts work under pressure and give verdicts accordingly. The former army chief helped reduce that pressure.”
He was able to leave Pakistan when the interior ministry issued a notification to remove his name from the ECL. The notification followed an order from the Supreme Court to lift the ban on his foreign travel.
Apart from cases related to the murder of politicians Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti and cleric Abdul Rasheed, Musharraf is facing cases for arresting judges and limiting their powers. Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had said in March that Musharraf had committed to facing all cases against him and "promised to return in four to six weeks".