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Musharraf plans to join active politics after November 30: aide

Amid the demand for the trial of Pervez Musharraf for treason by the opposition PML-N, the former president will participate in Pakistan's politics after November 30 when a two-year constitutional bar on him holding public office ends, one of his close aides has said.

world Updated: Sep 07, 2009 14:17 IST

Amid the demand for the trial of Pervez Musharraf for treason by the opposition PML-N, the former president will participate in Pakistan's politics after November 30 when a two-year constitutional bar on him holding public office ends, one of his close aides has said.

"Musharraf would unite various factions of the PML-Q and participate in politics from that platform," Chaudhry Shahbaz, a PML-Q leader and a former federal minister, told reporters here yesterday. Shahbaz met Musharraf in Saudi Arabia last week for consultations.

He said the two-year constitutional restriction that prevents Musharraf from participating in politics would end on November 30, after which "he would announce his future strategy".

Pakistani laws bar Musharraf, 66 from joining active politics for two years from the date on which he stepped down as army chief. The former military ruler has been living outside Pakistan since mid-April.

Musharraf's legal problems have been compounded since the Supreme Court declared in July that the emergency imposed by him in 2007 was unconstitutional and illegal. The ruling has raised the possibility of his trial on charges of treason.

It is believed Musharraf visited Saudi Arabia to lobby the royal family to use its influence with opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who has been insisting on the former military ruler's trial. Sharif is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia later this week.

Shahbaz, who held several meetings with Musharraf in London and Jeddah, said any possible trial of the former President could open a Pandora's box.

Asked about differences between Musharraf and senior PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Shahbaz said, "Sometimes, even brothers can develop differences. But these differences can be settled."

Asked if any mutual friends are trying to resolve differences between the two sides, he said an effort could be launched. "It would not be an uphill task," he said. He said He described Musharraf as a "visionary leader whose services are required by the nation."

Meanwhile, Musharraf has told a TV news channel that his recent meeting with King Abdullah was successful. "I was accorded full protocol during my visit to Saudi Arabia to meet King Abdullah. I deem him my elder brother and can contact him whenever I want," he said.

Musharraf said he discussed the political situation in Pakistan with the Saudi king, who had concerns about the situation in the country.

Reports also said Musharraf had established contacts with leaders of various parties, including the ruling Pakistan People's Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is a partner in the central coalition.