Saturday, April 5, 2008

Musharraf's survival strategy: remain low-key

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has no plans to quit despite the formation of hostile government and will play a low-key role as part of a strategy framed a long time ago, a presidential aide has said. The "perceived isolation" of Musharraf and his sidelining after the swearing-in of the new government had not happened in a "haphazard way but is the result of a well thought out strategy", the aide claimed.

"It was decided a long time ago that Musharraf would take a backseat after the 2008 general election and he has done so as per the plan," the unnamed aide told The News daily. "Everything was executed as per the script," the aide claimed, adding that Musharraf's moves were part of the plan for the "phased restoration of democracy".

"There is no shock for the president in the new milieu except for the defeat of the (PML-Q)," he said. The Pakistan People's Party and PML-N have formed a coalition government with the backing of two smaller parties and independent lawmakers following the defeat of pro-Musharraf PML (Q)in the February 18 polls.

He categorically said Musharraf had no plans to step down. Everything went as per the strategy, though considerable disruption was caused by the "judicial crisis" following the sacking of 60 members of the superior judiciary during last year's emergency, the aide said.

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