Musharraf working for establishment of global think-tank

By Muhammad Najeeb, IANS,

Islamabad : Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf wants to set up an international think-tank to “make the world a peaceful place” and is visiting Britain to gather support for his plan, his close aide said Monday.

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The aide told IANS that Musharraf will also be visiting the US, Canada, Belgium and some other Western countries to get support for his think-thank, which is likely to become functional by the middle of next year.

The think tank is the brainchild of Musharraf and Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US and Britain. To be headquartered in either the US or Britain, the group’s mission will be to “make the world a peaceful place”.

The aide, without naming anyone, said some former presidents and prime ministers would be included in the board headed by Musharraf.

Asked if Musharraf would join politics, the aide said the former army general had no plans to contest elections in the future but he was ready to help out the country in his personal capacity.

“Musharraf does not need any office to plead for Pakistan. Few know he is visiting Britain to plead Pakistan’s case on issues like terrorism and economic crisis,” said the aide.

Talking about Musharraf’s palatial farm house in Islamabad, his friend said the land was gifted to Musharraf and “several” Pakistanis were offering him bigger houses even though he was now out of power.

Talking about where Musharraf would be living in future, the aide said his permanent home will be in Pakistan but he would frequently visit Britain and the US to meet his family and friends, and to give lectures at different platforms.

“After establishing the think-tank he may spend most of his time out of Pakistan, but his permanent residence will always be in Pakistan,” said the source.

According to media reports, Musharraf is staying with his friend and former army brigadier Muhammad Niaz in London. he is expected to return to Islamabad on Dec 1 and leave for the US after Dec 10.

However, his aide refused to divulge his travel plans, saying that he “wants to avoid the media for the time being”.