Benazir won’t return to contest 2007 elections: Sheikh Rashid
* Says Musharraf is his leader, not Nawaz Sharif
ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said on Thursday that Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) Chairperson Benazir Bhutto would not return to Pakistan in 2007 to contest the general elections.
Giving an interview to a private television channel, he said Benazir had to face legal proceedings and there was a case pending against her in a Swiss court.
He also said she had no role in politics. Sheikh Rashid made it clear that Benazir would not be given amnesty and that references against the corrupt would remain. Her case was the only one that had gone to a court outside Pakistan, he said, adding, “The whole world is keeping an eye on her Swiss case.”
The information minister admitted to the contact between the government and Benazir. However, he gave no details, but said it would be in Pakistan’s interest if the deal went through.
Sheikh Rashid also acknowledged that Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband, had shown political maturity and that he (Asif) was more balanced in Pakistani politics. “If he chooses the right path, it will be appreciated,” he added. About Nawaz Sharif, he said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader had wanted to go abroad. “But I can’t say anything about Shahbaz Sharif or his contact with President Pervez Musharraf,” he said.
About the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Sheikh Rashid said the religious alliance would regret not cooperating with the government. He said, “The situation at the moment is in our control, but when it won’t be, the MMA will regret it.” He also said, “The PPPP is a secular party while the PML is not. The PML is an Islamic ideological party.”
He also said his leader was President Pervez Musharraf and not Nawaz Sharif. He alleged that the Sharif family had deceived him and tried to defeat him in the elections.
Sheikh Rashid also confessed that if he had not joined President Musharraf, he would have been out of politics. He also talked about Balochistan, saying if the ordinary Baloch got their rights, Baloch chieftains would lose their power automatically. agencies