Chief of his own faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif, has claimed that former president Pervez Musharraf was sent abroad under a mutual understanding between the former military ruler and the PPP-led government. He has also alleged that the federal law minister has been “roaming with cash-filled briefcases...trying to create a group of lawyers against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.”
Addressing a public meeting in Sialkot on Saturday, Sharif said Musharraf was responsible for the sacking of the judiciary, killing of Baloch politician Nawab Akbar Bugti and the Lal Masjid operation. And he must be tried for all these “crimes.”
Citing the dismissal of top US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal, Sharif said if a serving general could be sacked in the US, whycan a former general not be put on trial in Pakistan.
The PML-N chief said despite his repeated reminders after the 2008 general elections, PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Zardari did not implement the Charter of Democracy (CoD) he had signed with slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto. He added that the CoD was designed to strengthen democracy in Pakistan.
Sharif said President Zardari wanted to protect Pervez Musharraf and therefore the former military ruler was given a guard of honour and safe exit later on.
The PML-N chief claimed that his nomination papers were rejected for the 2008 general elections in an attempt to thwart the formation of a PML-N government at the centre. He also said that his party did not want to join the federal cabinet and that its ministers were forced by President Zardari to take oath of office from Musharraf.
Sharif said his party did not surrender to dictators and instead faced difficult times with courage and determination for the sake of democracy. “The government tried to stop our long march for the reinstatement of sacked judges by imposing governor’s rule in Punjab...but the judges were destined to be reinstated,” he said.
Sharif alleged that Law Minister Babar Awan was lobbying against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. “He has been misusing taxpayers’ money to buy loyalties of black sheep in the lawyers’ community,” Sharif alleged.
The PML-N chief dispelled the impression that his party was playing the role of friendly opposition in parliament. “Had the PML-N been a friendly opposition, it would have not staged a long march against the PPP-led government,” he added. Sharif said his party was pursuing a national agenda and would continue to do so for greater good of the people.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2010.