On Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told Fox’s Chris Wallace that U.S. asylum for former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was “not on the table.” However, she refused to explicitly rule the option out, insisting that he had been a “good ally.” Watch it:
But now that Musharraf has officially stepped down, the Bush administration appears to be increasingly receptive to opening America’s doors to the former military leader. State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters that Musharraf “has a right to live wherever he wants.” AFP reports:
“We haven’t been asked to provide him with any asylum or place of residence,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said amid speculations that the former staunch US “war on terror” ally who quit Monday might stay abroad, including in the United States.
“If he chooses to take up residence somewhere, I mean if he were to request that, we would obviously look at it, but it’s not an issue that we’ve been approached with,” Wood explained.
This willingness to grant Musharraf asylum may be coming from the top ranks of the White House. Nearly nearly three weeks after Musharraf declared emergency rule last November, President Bush continued to insist that the Pakistani president had “advanced democracy in Pakistan.” According to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, Bush was the “last holdout” of support for Musharraf in the Bush administration, outlasting both Rice and Vice President Cheney.
Shuja Nawaz, a former Pakistani journalist and International Development Agency official, told PBS on Monday that “a possible immediate destination [for Musharraf] may be Dubai, and then eventually may be New Mexico in the United States.”