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'Sulking' Musharraf retreats into a mental bunker

world Updated: Feb 24, 2008 16:19 IST

PTI
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President Pervez Musharraf is "sulking" after the strong performance of opposition parties in Pakistan's general election and has retreated into a mental bunker, a media report said on Sunday.

"The spectacular rout of his PML-Q party at the polls has shorn the retired commando of his political base, leaving him isolated and exposed," a report in The Guardian said.

Quoting a senior PML-Q official, it said, "He's been sulking...He's retreated into a mental bunker, which is not healthy. He thinks everyone is out to get him and only listens to a small circle. It's a dangerous mindset to be in at this point in time. He could decide to hit back.

"Musharraf's bad mood stems from the prospect of Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister from Punjab he ousted in a 1999 coup and banished to Saudi Arabia a year later, returning to power."

Sharif, who's PML-N emerged the second biggest party in parliament, has vowed to oust Musharraf at the earliest. "The nation has given its verdict. The sooner he accepts it the better," Sharif said at a press conference in which he and PPP's Asif Ali Zardari unveiled plans to form a coalition.

"In some ways life has changed little for Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf since Monday's election. The retired general still trots out for afternoon tennis, aides say, and enjoys a game of bridge a few times a week. In the evenings he
pulls on a cigar and, although he can not admit it, nurses a glass of whisky," the report said.

Musharraf, who has "a knack for survival", has at least one loyal friend left. Shortly after the electoral drubbing, US President George Bush called him while on a trip to Africa to pay warm tribute to him.