Liveried soldiers, Pak commandos guarding Musharraf in London

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London, Sep.10 (ANI): Liveried soldiers and Pakistani commandos are guarding former president Pervez Musharraf in his flat near London's Edgware Road.

According to The Guardian, shisha bars and kebab joints of London's Arabic quarter surround the one-million-pound flat.

The area is also home to Tony Blair, who owns a large house in the nearby Connaught Square.

The former president pays for his protection detail from Scotland Yard, the report adds.

He is said to dine regularly at the Dorchester hotel and hosts regular music evenings at his apartment. He regularly plays golf and often plays bridge with his confidante, Brigadier Niaz Ahmed, a retired arms dealer.

The report also says Musharraf pays 450 pounds to hire an official VIP lounge every time he flies from or to Heathrow airport. Musharraf also travels in a bulletproof vehicle, it adds.

The report about the extravagant security comes as Lord Nazir Ahmed, a critic in the House of Lords, tabled a parliamentary question about the cost of these security arrangements in July.

The government replied that it was the 'established Home Office policy not to comment on protective security arrangements and their related costs'.

Nazir said 'our old age pensioners don't get security, so how can we pay for an old general who wants to enjoy himself in London?'

The Pakistan-born peer said he was collecting evidence for a possible war crimes prosecution through Bindmans solicitors, who pursued the retired Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet through the British courts in the late 1990s.

It is claimed that Musharraf is on a visitor's visa and it has been reported that he intends to take up permanent residence in the Middle East or in the United States, where his son Bilal lives, the report said.

Lord Ahmed of Rotherham has objected strongly to British Government's decision to provide a security cover to Musharraf.

Lord Ahmed, in his letter to the Home Secretary, has said asked the government to discontinue Musharraf's police protection as he believed his presence would stoke unrest within the Muslim community in the country.

"I think the Government needs to review Musharraf's security. There are people within Britain who could do with those extra police officers rather than a man who can afford private body guards. I also believe that if he remains in this country then he is a threat to peace and public order," The Times quoted Lord Ahmed, as saying.

He urged the authorities to stop spending money on protection by Scotland Yard for the exiled leader.

"It is evident from various newspaper reports that the British Pakistani and Kashmiri community is deeply disturbed and divided by Musharraf's controversial campaign and the security provided by the Home Office for this purpose," Lord Ahmed's letter stated.

"I would strongly urge the Government to distance themselves from Musharraf and his political ambitions here as I firmly believe that any perceived promotion or assistance of his activities here may have an adverse impact on community cohesion within the United Kingdom," it added.

However, he is yet to receive a reply of the letter.

Earlier, in a letter to Lord Ahmed, a borough councilor, Pervez Choudhry had informed that people, especially of the Muslim community are not happy with the Labour Party's decision to allow Musharraf to stay in London.

"The people of Slough and in particular the Pakistani community are extremely upset and angry that local Labour Party officials took it upon themselves to invite General Musharraf to Slough," Choudhry wrote.

Musharraf had visited Slough for the Pakistan Independence Day Celebrations.

"They used this day to furtively invite this man whose hands are drenched in the blood of innocent men, women and children in Pakistan. This is seen as a slap on the face of British Pakistanis and total disregard for democratic values in Britain," Choudhry further added. (ANI)

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