Islamabad: A week after an interview that made headlines, former Pakistan President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf said on Monday he never sent a “request” to ex-army chief General Raheel Sharif to help him leave the country by keeping the government from pressuring the courts.
“No one approached me, not did I approach anyone… Raheel Sharif did not discuss anything with me, nor did I send him any request,” Musharraf told Channel 92, adding it was all “conjecture” and that his statement to Dunya News was being “distorted” by media outlets.
Musharraf was referring to a talk show on Dunya News last week where he had said: “Well he (Raheel Sharif) did help me and I am absolutely clear and grateful. I have been his boss and I have been the army chief before him… He helped out, because the cases are politicised, they put me on the ECL, they turned it into a political issue.”
Asked about the military’s influence on domestic politics, he said: “All institutions in Pakistan work together with each other… I’ve served in the army for over 40 years.”
“There is a sense of solidarity between the army and me, and it will always remain like that,” the former president added, saying he stands by the statement he made on Dunya News.
Referring to a minister’s statement about Musharraf’s return, he said he has no knowledge of any such timeline wherein he was asked to return within four to six weeks of his departure.
“There is nothing of the sort in the court’s judgement,” Musharraf added.
Asked to explain by the host last week how the recently retired army chief helped him, Musharraf had responded saying by “influencing the courts”.
Musharraf had left the country for Dubai in March earlier this year hours after the interior ministry issued a notification to remove his name from the exit control list (ECL).
The government notification followed the Supreme Court’s order to lift the ban on his foreign travel.
But the order from the top court had come with the rider that the federal government or the three-judge special court trying the retired general for treason was free to make decisions to regulate his custody or restrict his movement.
Apart from murder cases of Benazir Bhutto, Nawab Akbar Bugti and Ghazi Abdul Rasheed, the retired general is facing treason charges for imposing emergency rule in November 2007, arresting judges and limiting their powers. His name was kept on the Exit Control List for more than 20 months.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan had said in March that Musharraf had committed to facing all cases against him in court and had “promised to return in four to six weeks”.