LAHORE: Former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf has denied that he left the country after striking a deal with the PML-N government, says PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Husain.

“I spoke to Gen Musharraf and asked him about the deal rumours, he categorically denied that his leaving the country (for Dubai) was the result of any deal (with the PML-N government).

He also did not seek pardon,” Chaudhry Shujaat told a news conference at his residence on Monday.

He said that the former army chief had also told him that he would return to Pakistan after his treatment.

“When doctors allow me, I will return to Pakistan,” Shujaat quoted Gen Musharraf as saying.

He said the former president had also invited him and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to Dubai.

“We will decide (to meet him in Dubai) after consulting party leaders,” he said.

Ahmad Raza Kasuri, a former leader of the All Pakistan Muslim League, had claimed earlier that travel restrictions on the former military ruler had been lifted as a result of an ‘off-shore deal’ struck with the Nawaz government.

Chaudhry Shujaat also said that taking the issue of Gen Pervez Musharraf’s travel abroad would be a waste of time and money.

“The joint session should be convened on the galloping price hike, unemployment and lawlessness in the country. After the verdict of the Supreme Court, the government was left with no other option but to allow Gen Musharraf to proceed abroad for treatment,” he said.

In reply to a question about efforts to form a grand alliance against the government, Chaudhry Shujaat said: “The opposition’s grand alliance will be formed only when the number of candidates for the slot of prime minister is reduced.”

He predicted that former president Asif Ali Zardari would also return.

Talking about Mustafa Kamal’s sudden entry to the political arena, the PML-Q president said: “Mustafa Kamal should pinpoint terrorist elements in the MQM. The entire MQM is not a terrorist party. Had it been so it would not have won seats in Karachi.” He also suggested to Mr Kamal to name his party as “MQM-Pakistan”.

He said that people like Mustafa Kamal might also emerge in the N-League. He said that the National Accountability Bureau should be allowed to work without any political interference and the government should not threaten it.

About women protection law, he said it might cause a high divorce rate.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2016