US withdraws Mushs security, protocol

Islamabad: The US administration has withdrawn the security and protocol given to former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf after a UN commission report blamed him for not providing adequate protection to slain former premier Benazir Bhutto.

But in contrast, Britain and the UAE have beefed up his security in light of threats following the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The US administration withdrew 67-year-old Musharraf`s security and protocol after a UN commission`s report on former premier Benazir Bhutto`s assassination blamed the military ruler for failing to provide her adequate security.

Musharraf is treated like an ordinary citizen who has to join queues at the immigration counter in airports and undergo a thorough body search at the departure lounge, The News daily quoted diplomatic sources in Washington as saying.

"Musharraf, in the past, would have his immigration process expedited after landing at US airports," said a diplomatic source at the Pakistani embassy in Washington.

Instead of waiting in line, the American protocol staff would do this on Musharraf`s behalf.

"It has been stopped now," the source said.

When Musharraf departs from the US, he stands in line, takes off his shoes and belt, has his hands up for a thorough search and only then is cleared for check-in, said a source.

On the other hand, Britain and the UAE have increased his security cover.

The reason for enhancing Musharraf`s security in these two countries is the threats he has been receiving after the killing of bin Laden, according to his spokesman Chaudhry Fawad.