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US wanted safe exit for Musharraf: US envoy

The United States has revealed, for the first time, that it wanted a "safe exit" for former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf after he was forced to step down from the post of head of state last year.

world Updated: Sep 20, 2009 20:15 IST

The United States has revealed, for the first time, that it wanted a "safe exit" for former Pakistan military ruler Pervez Musharraf after he was forced to step down from the post of head of state last year.

Anne W Patterson, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, said that Washington wanted a "safe exit" and a dignified retirement for the former president, the Daily Times newspaper reported on Sunday, quoting a private TV news channel.

The US envoy underlined that Washington had wanted a peaceful transition to democracy.

The possibility of Musharraf being tried for treason has arisen after the Supreme Court recently declared the emergency imposed by him in 2007 as unconstitutional and illegal. However, the US envoy said the demands for Musharraf’s trial for treason under Article 6 of Pakistan’s constitution were the country’s internal matter.

"Now he [Musharraf] has become a thing of the past and we have no position on him," she was quoted as saying in the report by the Pakistani daily.

Last week, a row had erupted among political parties here after media reports quoted President Asif Ali Zardari as saying that former military ruler was given a "safe exit" after his resignation last year because of a negotiated settlement guaranteed by "international and local" stakeholders.

All "international and local powers" having stakes in the region were "guarantors" of Musharraf's negotiated resignation, Zardari was quoted as saying last week.

He tacitly conceded that Musharraf could not be tried for treason as is being demanded by some opposition parties, especially the PML-N of former Premier Nawaz Sharif.

However, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has distanced himself from any deal to provide a "safe exit" to Musharraf.

Last week, Gilani said he was neither aware of nor part of any deal for giving Musharraf safe passage after he quit as President last year.

Musharraf has been living outside Pakistan since mid-April, when he went abroad to deliver a series of lectures. The Saudi royal family has reportedly been involved in efforts to pressure PML-N chief Sharif not to insist on Musharraf's trial.