KARACHI: Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani revealed on Friday that the PPP had held several rounds of talks with the establishment over Pervez Musharraf’s exit, and the former military ruler had resigned after an “agreement” between the government, opposition and the establishment.
Addressing a press conference, Gilani said he, along with then president Asif Ali Zardari, held talks with the establishment. He said that it was not possible to have Musharraf resign without the consent of establishment, and confirmed that the PML-N was also involved in the dialogue process. The former premier said the PML-N should not have lodged a case against Musharraf, as it was decided that he would not be impeached if he resigned himself. “How could a strong general resign without any agreement!” he remarked.
Gilani said the PPP and PML-N leadership had decided to go for impeachment of the former military ruler, however, negotiations were held between the civilian leadership and establishment in which it was decided that if Musharraf resigns from the Presidency he would be given a safe passage. Responding to a query regarding whether the PML-N was taken onboard by the then PPP government on giving safe passage to Musharraf, Gilani said that all political forces were taken on board. He said PML-N’s decision to frame charges of treason against Musharraf was not justified, and the matter should be left to the courts to decide.
Gilani claimed that during the negotiations, the former army strongman had been guaranteed a safe passage in exchange for his resignation from the president’s office. He said that the PML-N’s stance on and treatment of Musharraf was not appropriate and reiterated that the PPP had adhered to the reconciliation policy of former premier Benazir Bhutto, adding that it would not side with those seeking to undermine democracy. He said there was no chance of any positive change in the country in the coming months.
The former PM also said that the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government had not focused on launching an operation in North Waziristan during its tenure because former army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani wanted the decision to be his alone. His statement on the matter comes days after former ISPR DG Gen (r) Athar Abbas disclosed that General Kayani was reluctant to launch a military operation in North Waziristan.
Gilani said that he sees no danger to democracy in the near future from the protest calls of cleric Tahirul Qadri and Imran Khan. “There is no danger to democracy in the country,” he said, adding that Imran and Qadri had the democratic right to stage rallies and protests; however, the PPP would not support any unconstitutional step. He said that the PPP was not on the side of the PML-N but was playing the role of a responsible opposition.
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