Zardari promised Kayani he would grant pardon, immunity to Musharraf: WikiLeaks

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Islamabad, Dec 4(ANI): Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani had convinced Pervez Musharraf to resign as president, assuring that his successor, Asif Ali Zardari was going to provide him immunity, a diplomatic cable unveiled by the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks has revealed.

"After an August 20 meeting with visiting S/CT Coordinator Dell Dailey, Kayani asked Ambassador to stay behind and discuss his concerns that Zardari was delayingusharraf's immunity bill," said the leaked cable, classified as 'confidential' by the then US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson.

The cable went on to say: "Kayani said he took Zardari's commitments to now ex-President Musharraf as the most important argument in persuading him to resign. Zardari made very specific commitments to Kayani. Now, for Zardari to delay, it makes him (Kayani) look bad within his own institution "and I have to bring the Army along with me"."

According to the leaked document, Kayani also noted that the delay did nothing for Zardari's reputation for trustworthiness, and said if this issue "gets conflated with the judges and with Zardari's own desires to be President, it will become too complicated to pass."

"Gilani said the PPP was going to provide immunity for ex-President Musharraf, but timing was important. They were afraid that putting forward immunity legislation would lose them votes for Asif Zardari's presidential campaign," the cable revealed.

When pressed by Patterson on this issue, who pointed out that Musharraf would never have agreed to resign without the promise of immunity, Gilani assured the US envoy that "he and the party did not want vengeance," and regarding immunity, "many will say that we have done a deal with America, but still I understand that we have to do it."

On August 23, 2008 Zardari told Patterson that he was committed to indemnity for Musharraf.

"Zardari noted that he already had firmly committed to the U.S., the UK, and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Kayani that indemnity for Musharraf would be forthcoming. Ambassador urged him to do it quickly," said the cable.

"Zardari said flatly that to do it before he was elected President would lose him votes, but he would do both the legislation and a presidential pardon as soon as he was elected," it added. (ANI)

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