Shahbaz beating ‘June path’ to Pakistan’s politics
By Mubasher Bukhari
LAHORE: The government, through some men in uniform, is said to have struck a deal with Shahbaz Sharif, sources informed Daily Times on Monday, as a result of which he might return to Pakistan in June.
Sources said talks with the PPPP are also underway and ‘government men’ are “negotiating with Asif Ali Zardari”. Sources said the government and the Sharifs have been negotiating for some time but a meeting between Shahbaz Sharif and a uniformed big shot in a New York hotel a couple of weeks ago proved the decisive factor.
“The man in uniform sought Shahbaz’s cooperation for President Musharraf’s address to a joint session of parliament, the resolution of the LFO issue and Pakistan-India talks, in return reportedly offering him ‘safe passage’ to Pakistan, chairmanship of the greater Muslim League and a major slot in a future government,” said the sources.
They said, “when Shahbaz raised the point about the return of the rest of the Sharif family from Saudi Arabia, he was flatly told that there was no room for Nawaz Sharif in national politics.”
Sources claimed that Shahbaz agreed, after which the man told the president about the breakthrough. The day after the meeting, there were banners in Lahore heralding Shahbaz’s return.
Sources say the president feels none of the available leaders in Pakistan can help the regime out of the political crisis, therefore he wants some of the exiled leaders back.
They added Shahbaz realized (after spending several months in the US) that the president had done well in the war on terror and so it was pointless to wait to see him go.
Sources say Shahbaz’s entire family is still in Pakistan, despite the government’s claims on several occasions that they would fly back to Saudi Arabia ‘soon’.
Sources also say that on the other hand, some uniformed men are frequent visitors to Mr Zardari at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science (PIMS) in Islamabad, purportedly offering to let him stay in Pakistan after his release.
Sources close to Mr Zardari say he might be out in August to lead his party from instead of being released and sent into exile.