Authorities in Saudi Arabia backed Pervez Musharraf's rule in Pakistan, leaked US diplomatic cables suggest. The kingdom also reportedly worked with the former army general to have Nawaz Sharif arrested if he returned from exile.
We can either support Musharraf and stability, or we can allow bin Laden to get the bomb,, Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US Adel Al-Jubeir told Charge d'Affaires Michael Gfoeller at a lunch in November 2007.
The then Pakistani President visited Saudi Arabia in 2007 and meet King Abdullah after completing Umra in Mecca. Al-Jubeir told the US diplomats that Musharraf had not come to the Kingdom to meet exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but carefully avoided ruling out such meeting.
The US diplomats claimed that during the meeting the Saudi Ambassador boldly asserted that, We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants. Al-Jubeir is a senior royal advisor who has worked for King Abdullah almost a decade.
He (Al-Jubeir) asserted that the Saudi government had offered Sharif a pledge of protection and asylum in the Kingdom after his ouster by Musharraf in return for a promise that he would refrain from political activity for ten years, Gfoeller said in the cable.
The US diplomat also reported to Washington that the Saudi ambassador maintained that Sharif instead of sticking to his promise began attempting to test the limits of this promise five or six years in his exile.
Sharif broke his promise by conducting political activity while in the Kingdom, al-Jubeir reportedly charged.
Jubeir also supposedly told the the US officials that when the Saudi Government had permitted Sharif to travel to London, he first promised the Saudis not to engage in political activity or return to Pakistan, but he then flew to Pakistan from London in a direct violation of his commitment.
Expressing 'disappointment' with Sharif, the Saudi Government 'worked directly with Musharraf to have Sharif arrested on his return to Pakistan and immediately deported to the Kingdom, according to the ambassador.
In the document, US officials claimed that Al-Jubeir stated the terms of Sharif's asylum agreement that the Kingdom would seek to control Sharif's movements in the future, even suggesting that he would be kept in a state only a little less severe than house arrest.
Al-Jubeir added that he sees neither Sharif nor former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as a viable replacement for Musharraf. 'With all his flaws,' he said of Musharraf, 'he is the only person that you or we have to work with now,' Gfoeller reported back to Washington.