The White House has said the return of Pervez Musharraf, the former dictator of Pakistan, is an "internal matter" of the country, even as a top United States diplomat in Islamabad said that the event is unlikely to have much impact on the results of the May 11 general polls.
"I don't see this as a terribly large or significant event. I could be surprised, but I don't see this as terribly consequential," the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Richard Olson told a Washington audience on Monday while responding to questions on the return of the former Pakistani general, who ruled the country for a decade.
Musharraf returned to Pakistan on Sunday after a four-year self-imposed exile, during which he spent most of his time in England and Dubai and speaking tour in the United States.
"On the question of Musharraf, … it's up to the Pakistanis to address the question. He may have some legal issues to address, and that's for him to address with the judiciary. But my Pakistani friends tell me he doesn't have a great deal of political support," Olson said in response to a question.
On Musharraf, Olson said, the United States does not have a position, a stand taken consistently by the Obama administration. "We've seen the news that he's returned. It's really up to the people of Pakistan to decide who their representatives should be, and so we really refer you to the Government of Pakistan," the US state department spokesperson, Patrick Ventrell, told reporters at a news conference when asked about his return to Pakistan.
"When it comes to Pakistani politics, we'll leave it to the people of Pakistan to make decisions about their political leadership," the White House Deputy Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters.