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Musharraf says no intention to return to politics

world Updated: Nov 01, 2008 16:00 IST
Musharraf says no intention to return to politics

Former President Pervez Musharraf has ruled out possibility of his return to politics, saying he would only be available to provide guidance to the country without assuming any political role.

The issue of Musharraf re-entering politics came up during a meeting on Friday between the former military ruler and top leaders of the opposition PML-Q, the party he cobbled up after assuming power in a coup in 1999.

PML-Q chief and former premier Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, his cousin Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and other party leaders met Musharraf at the Army House in Rawalpindi to discuss cracks within the party and to seek his guidance, media reports said.

Sections of the PML-Q have been demanding the ouster of the Chaudhry cousins and the holding of party polls. They asked Musharraf to play his "due role" in national affairs, but he turned down their request.

Musharraf told the PML-Q leaders he was ready to provide guidance to the nation without assuming any political role, the media reports said. He also said he currently had no intention to return to politics because he and his family did not think it was the right time to do so.

Musharraf reportedly said he was "perturbed" by the political and economic crises facing Pakistan and asked PML-Q leadership to play its role in steering the country out of the current situation. PML-Q should maintain unity to face challenges instead of indulging in confrontation, he said.

Some reports suggested that a section of the PML-Q wants the Chaudhry cousins to be replaced by Musharraf. Another section wants the party to join the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan People's Party while yet another wants the PML-Q to be merged with former premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party.

PML-Q spokesman and former minister Tariq Azeem described Friday's meeting with Musharraf as a "social gathering". He added: "It was more social than political."

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