ARD will welcome Shahbaz
* Fahim says Musharraf should act against corruption
LAHORE: The Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) has decided to accord a red-carpet welcome to Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the exiled president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), as soon as he returns to Pakistan, ARD Chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim said on Sunday.
Mr Fahim told reporters after the ARD meeting here that the leaders and workers of the all ARD parties would receive Mr Sharif at the Lahore airport, “We welcome Mr Sharif home. Living in Pakistan is his basic civic right. The ARD workers will ensure his safe return from the airport to his residence,” he added.
But the ARD leaders were unaware about Mr Sharif’s announcement for his return on May 9 until they were briefed.
He said that the ARD had accepted Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali’s offer to hold mid-term elections and was ready for it, provided the government held the polls under the Human Rights Commission.
He said that the country was facing serious political instability. “The PML-Quaid-e-Azam vice president has issued a statement against Mr Jamali and written to President General Pervez Musharraf against the prime minister which supported the ARD’s claim,” Mr Fahim said.
He said President Musharraf had promised to eradicate corruption from Pakistan but corrupt people were still sitting around him. He said that the president should act against corruption in the government, otherwise he would be considered corrupt himself.
He said that the merger of different parties into the PML on President Musharraf’s directions showed that the government was cobbling together an alliance on the pattern of Islami the Jamhoori Ittehad to counter the ARD. “It also indicates that Gen Musharraf wants to hold fresh elections because he does not trust the present government,” the ARD chairman said.
To a question about anti-Benazir Bhutto statements issued by PML-N leaders Khwaja Saad Rafiq and Zulfiqar Khosa, he said that it was part of disinformation being spread by the government.
Ms Tehmina Daultana told journalists that the government would commit contempt of court if it deported Mr Sharif.