Pervez Musharraf's trial; Saudi Foreign Minister arrives in Pakistan

MusharrafFormer military ruler Pervez Musharraf. (Reuters)

Amid speculation that embattled former dictator Pervez Musharraf might leave the country for medical treatment, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal arrived here Monday night on an official visit for talks with the Pakistani leadership.

He was received at Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi by Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the premier on Foreign Affairs.

Though many observers believe the two-day visit is somehow connected to Musharraf, who was admitted to a military hospital with heart problems last week, the government has made it clear the trip has nothing to do with the former President.

Pakistan's Foreign Office spokesperson had on Friday said that the cases against 70-year-old Musharraf, including his treason trial for imposing emergency in 2007, are a "domestic issue".

It was Saudi intervention that allowed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to get a safe exit out of Pakistan after he was deposed in the 1999 coup staged by Musharraf.

Many in the country believe the Saudi Foreign Minister's visit will clear the way for Musharraf's safe exit.

However, the Pakistan government has insisted that only the courts can decide Musharraf's fate.

Besides bilateral matters, the Saudi minister will discuss the regional situation, particularly the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces, with the Pakistani leadership.

Both sides are also expected to review the suspended Taliban-US dialogue in Afghanistan.

According to the Foreign Office spokesperson, Pakistan is working on a policy to strengthen relations with Islamic countries and the Saudi minister's visit is part of this effort.

Meanwhile Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir Hussain said the two countries enjoy excellent relations and the Saudi Foreign Minister's visit will further cement and deepen these ties.

In an interview to state-run Radio Pakistan, he expressed confidence that the visit will have a positive impact on already strong relations and help argument cooperation.

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