Foreign friends busy to ensure 'safe passage'

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Islamabad, Aug.12 : The main guarantors of the Musharraf-Benazir deal have reportedly stepped up their efforts to ensure 'safe passage' for Musharraf.

Mark Lyall Grant, former British High Commissioner in Pakistan and currently Director General, Political Directorate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, reached Islamabad Monday evening to have a first hand knowledge of the grave political crisis and to meet the President and top leaders of Pakistan's ruling alliance.

Grant played a key role in the much talked about power-sharing agreement between the President and late Benazir Bhutto, will stay in Pakistani capital for a couple of days and try to resolve the Musharraf-ruling alliance row in an amicable way.

Aidan Liddle, spokesperson of British High Commission, confirmed the arrival of the former British envoy to Pakistan.

When asked as to what was the purpose of the senior British diplomat's visit at this critical juncture, he said that Grant was here to take stock of the current political situation and during his stay he would meet the leaders across the political divide.

However, a diplomatic source said that Grant would call on the President and also the ruling alliance's leaders including Asif Ali Zardari, to discuss the matters related to the President's impeachment and a safe passage for the former strongman of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson also reportedly called on President Pervez Musharraf here on Monday. Media reports suggested that the meeting between the President and the US envoy too was a part of efforts of world powers' efforts to defuse the current political crisis amicably.

The President's spokesman, Maj Gen (R) Rashid Qureshi, however, denied that any meeting had taken place between the President and the US Ambassador at all.

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