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Mush denies reports of leaving Pakistan

Pervez Musharraf has denied reports that he would leave his "first love" Pakistan and settle in another country, saying his resignation did not reflect a "defeat".

world Updated: Aug 20, 2008 12:57 IST

Amid intense speculation about his future after stepping down, former President Pervez Musharraf has denied reports that he would leave his "first love" Pakistan and settle in another country, saying his resignation did not reflect a "defeat".

"My resignation as President does not reflect my defeat as I resigned in the interest of Pakistan and its people," Musharraf was quoted by Geo News channel as saying to several delegations that met him on Tuesday.

Musharraf, who quit on Monday to avert his impeachment by the Pakistan People's Party-led ruling coalition, told the delegations that he did not intend to leave Pakistan as it was his "first love".

He said he would soon issue a white paper on the economy as he had promised in his last address to the nation on Monday. The channel reported that he would meet some politicians on Wednesday.

Musharraf described as "baseless" the media reports that said he would move to the US, where his son runs a well-established business, after travelling to Saudi Arabia in the near future to perform Umra, a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The delegations met Musharraf at the President's camp office or lodge, the name given to the former army chief's residence in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Musharraf did not vacate the army chief's residence even after doffing his military uniform late last year. Observers believe Musharraf's resignation was the result of a deal that assured "safe passage" for him in return for a promise that he would not restore the judges he had deposed during last year's emergency or repeal the National Reconciliation Ordinance, the controversial law that dropped graft charges against slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, her widower Asif Ali Zardari and other leaders of the party.

PML-Q leaders had reportedly advised Musharraf to reinstate the deposed judges and revoke the NRO before resigning but he did not act on their suggestions. However, Law Minister Farooq Naek has said that there was no deal with Musharraf, who had "resigned of his own will".

Meanwhile, the government has decided to provide security in accordance with protocol to Musharraf.

"We have received a request from the former President regarding security and we will provide him the best possible security according to the standard operating procedure," Rehman Malik, who functions as Interior Minister, said.

Malik said Musharraf had demanded that one of his close aides, Colonel Ilyas, should be made in-charge of his security. "The former President will be provided the kind of security he is demanding," he said.

The interior ministry had said last night that Musharrraf would be provided the security cover of a VVIP as he was facing serious threats. It also said there were no restrictions on Musharraf travelling abroad.