KARACHI: The former US President George W Bush had asked King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the ruler of Dubai Prince Muhammad to provide USD 4 million to allow for former president Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s departure from Pakistan in 2008 as part of the overall transition deal.
This is mentioned by Shuja Nawaz in his most recent book, The Battle For Pakistan. Nawaz is a famous author and a distinguished fellow at the Washington-based think tank, Atlantic Council.
This also helped the former president to avoid impeachment that was threatened by the PPP led by Zardari. The international efforts for the transition were led by Britain and the US starting way back in 2006 to allow for Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to return from the exile and installation of Asif Ali Zardari as the president following President Pervez Musharraf’s departure from Islamabad.
The-then Asst Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher, and UK DG Political Affairs at Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mark Lyall Grant, led the process.
The US Secy of State Condoleeza Rice was also actively involved. Musharraf was represented, in different phases, by former ISI chief and COAS Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, ISI’s Maj Gen Ehtesham Zamir, Musharraf’s Chief of Staff Lt Gen Hamid Javed and DG ISI, Lt Gen Nadeem Taj.
Regional actors, the UAE and KSA, also pedaled their influence. Boucher, the American emissary, would often brief senior Abu Dhabi, Saudi officials and Mark Lyall Grant. They all worked together to negotiate a deal with Pakistan’s political forces lettingthe former president go abroad without being held accountable for his extra constitutional actions.
The fate of the former president was decided at a meeting held at Camp David. President George W Bush had invited Crown Prince Muhammad, currently the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to the meeting. Citing officers close to Gen (retd) Musharraf and the Dubai ruler, the Camp David consultations finalised the finer details of the changeover in Pakistan. During the conversation, Bush was reported to have referred to Musharraf as a ‘protocol president’ that is someone who enjoys the perks of his position and herein laid the meat. President Bush told Prince Muhammad that the Pakistan’s president needs “ to be encouraged to depart Pakistan with a promise of protocol and property.”
Soon afterwards, the Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al Saud was approached who readily provided a reported two million dollars and the ruler of Abu Dhabi approved a similar amount, according to the book. The amount was reportedly deposited in Musharraf’s accounts in Dubai and London and used by him to purchase property in both the cities.
The former president had confirmed several times that King Abdullah had given him a big amount of money by opening an account in London that allowed him to purchase property in Dubai, but he had never openly talked about the ruler of Dubai being the other source of money.