I will return home before Benazir, says Nawaz Sharif
* PML-N chief says he will welcome PPP chairwoman at Lahore airport
* Denies personal clashes with Gen Musharraf
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: Former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has pledged to return to Pakistan before Benazir Bhutto to contest the upcoming general elections. He said he would never accept “General Musharraf in or without uniform”.
In an interview with Geo television aired on Thursday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief said he would never strike a deal with the military generals who intruded the “elected democratic” governments.
“Who broke Pakistan in 1971 and did not accept Mujeebur Rehman’s victory in the elections?” Sharif questioned. “Do you want me to become a helping hand for the generals who are responsible for Pakistan’s present situation. People are crying out for basic needs despite Musharraf’s seven-point agenda.” Sharif said. “A country breaks when the constitution breaks.” he opined.
The former prime minister ruled out a possibility of any deal with the government. He said the generals hanged one prime minister who started the nuclear programme. “The other prime minister who tested nuclear weapons was arrested and exiled. “I am the only prime minister who tried to break the role of establishment,” he said, adding that his relations with most generals were not friendly because he was not ready to accept them as “super prime ministers”. The PML-N chief said he wanted to unite all opposition parties on one platform against the military regime. He denied having any personal clash with General Musharraf, saying that “toppling an elected government was not personal but a national issue”. “I could have strike a deal with the government when my father died but I did not,” Sharif said.
About the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) talks with the government, he said, “I hope Ms Bhutto will not strike a deal with Musharraf”. He said he would never accept “fugitives” in his party. He said his party was abiding by the conditions of the Charter of Democracy and pledged to stick to it in the future as well. The former premier said President Musharraf had offered premiership to Shabaz Sharif. “Shabaz, being a loyal brother, rejected the president’s offer,” he said. Replying to a query, he said his meetings with Benazir Bhutto were conducted in a “democratic manner”.
He said whenever a prime minister visited general headquarters, the army general removed his cap from head to avoid saluting the prime minister. About APC, he said any further APC would be considered after the final verdict on the ongoing judicial crisis. He said he would welcome and have a lunch with Benazir Bhutto at the Lahore airport. To a question, he expressed deep respects for Benazir Bhutto for conveying her viewpoint in a very straightforward manner. He said he puts his viewpoint in front of every leader he meets.
Sharif declared the suspension of the chief justice of Pakistan unlawful and unconstitutional.