However, the government is jittery, given his recent public statements, especially the latest one in which he accused Indian intelligence agencies of fomenting unrest in Baluchistan.
It’s learnt that the invitation to Musharraf has gone out from the Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) — an international outfit involving influential business leaders. It also has an India chapter which has taken up the responsibility of organising the visit. While the request came some months ago, Indian authorities are being very careful before granting political clearance.
A bunch of Musharraf’s “political supporters,” in anticipation of the visit, applied for visas at the Indian mission in Islamabad. New Delhi was under the impression that this would be a private visit where he would only attend closed-door meetings of the YPO. The idea that he would be accompanied by political supporters and that his proposed itinerary included a tour of all the four metros raised questions. Officials here are wary that he could use the visit to make controversial statements that could affect the already delicate India-Pakistan balance.
Musharraf hasn’t exactly helped, too. In an interaction at the Council of Foreign Relations earlier this month, he said: “If I am allowed to be very, very frank, India’s role is to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan.”
Having decided to contest the next general elections in Pakistan, Musharraf is possibly keen to raise the anti-India pitch. Just on Friday, he said Pakistan had “solid evidence” of Indian involvement in Baluchistan and that even a dossier existed on this. In a recent interview, he disclosed that Pakistan indeed trained militants to fight in Kashmir but justified it as the right policy.
In the light of all this, Indian authorities continue to be nervous. It’s learnt that the matter is under consideration of the Home Ministry which has to agree if the visit has to take place.
If it materialises, this will be Musharraf’s first visit after he quit as Pakistan President. While he makes political statements against Nawaz Sharif for agreeing to discuss Kashmir with India, it was during his time that backchannel negotiations reached the closest to some kind of an acceptable settlement. Delhi debates an invite to Musharraf. PranabDhalSamanta Posted online: Sun Nov 28 2010, 08:54 hrs
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