By Tariq Butt
ISLAMABAD: The interaction of two federal ministers with President Pervez Musharraf, in his just-concluded China visit, remained “ceremonial, official and formal”.
“At no point of time, the president and we discussed anything politically hot including his relationship with the Gilani government,” one minister told The News. “We had no chat with Musharraf on any key domestic matter, including his own stay in the presidency. Musharraf also did not initiate any such conversation,” he said on condition of anonymity.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmud Qureshi and Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar went to China with the president, his first-ever foreign visit in months. They accompanied the president only after Premier Gilani asked them to do so.
“At every place Musharraf introduced us to our hosts as ministers of the Pakistan People’s Party that is leading the new government in Pakistan after the polls,” the minister said. “Since we held no discussion whatsoever with the president on political issues, there is no question of carrying his message for any high-profile politician in Pakistan.”
He added that if at all Musharraf wanted to give any message to the government, he could easily do so in Pakistan. The prime minister also keeps meeting him when necessary. The minister was excited over the tremendous success of the visit that he said took place amid Chinese fears and apprehensions that Beijing had expressed before the elections. “What I gathered during different high-level meetings was that China was pleased and satisfied that the entire electoral process passed peacefully and a new government had come in place smoothly,” the minister said. Source: The News, 18/4/2008