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Asif Zardari wanted me to endorse Musharraf 2007 martial law: Nawaz Sharif

24 May, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif Wednesday said that former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari wanted him to ‘endorse’ former military dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf’s 2007 ‘martial law’.

“Zardari, along with a prominent political personality, approached me and suggested that the 2007 martial law imposed by Musharraf towards the end of his tenure should be legalised through the parliament to reach a compromise with him,” Nawaz told a press conference here at the Punjab House as well as while recording his statement before the accountability court in the Avenfield properties case. “He explained to me that such compromises are imperative for stability, but I told him that for the last 65 years, we have been making such compromises, and that time for such compromises is over now,” he said.

“It is not easy to bring a dictator to justice … no law can place a dictator in handcuffs,” Nawaz lamented, adding that challenges and pressure mounted on him after his government initiated treason case against Musharraf. “I want to bring on record why the Avenfield reference was filed against me. The purpose of the case against me was to get me out of the PM House and stop treason case against Musharraf,” he claimed.

Upholding his earlier statement that the Avenfield reference was filed against him as a reciprocal punishment for taking legal action against Musharraf despite being warned not to do so, Nawaz said, “I was sent messages that the treason case against Musharraf would create problems for me.”

“In March 2014, along with two of my colleagues, I went to Bani Gala and met with Imran Khan. It was quite a pleasant encounter. He never mentioned the issue of rigging, neither did he gesture towards a political alliance being formed to stage protests,” Nawaz said. “However, while swift progress was made in the Musharraf treason case here, Imran and Dr Tahirul Qadri met in London. After the meeting, chants and slogans of rigging emerged on the streets,” he said. “They planned a mass rally in Islamabad. Starting from August 14, 2014, the sit-in lasted for four months. The two were allied on the basis that the prime minister should resign. The question arises how did they come to this conclusion? Who set them up? Who united them? Who fed them the demand of the prime minister’s resignation?” he questioned.

“The sole purpose of the 2014 sit-ins was to pressurise me. PTV, parliament, PM House, President House, none of them were safe from the plans of the elements causing unrest. Those who were making those plans thought I would be pressurised,” he said, referring to the sit-in by PTI and PAT outside the Parliament House, adding that the events of the sit-in are in front of the people.

Nawaz said that at the time of the sit-in, ruffians roamed the streets of the federal capital. “I have seen days when the gates of the Prime Minister’s House were hijacked by ruffians, and announcements were made to drag the prime minister out with a rope around his neck,” he said.

The former prime minister said that once the proceedings started against Musharraf, he had gauged that it would be hard to get the former military ruler convicted. “All the weapons are made for politicians,” he remarked. “When Musharraf left for the court in 2014, he directly went to the hospital as it was pre-decided. He pretended to be sick and avoided the case hearings,” Nawaz said, adding the judges failed to send Musharraf behind bars for even one hour.

Nawaz, while recording his statement over the last five of the 128 questions asked by the accountability court, said that an intelligence agency officer had conveyed to him that he should resign or he would be sent on an ‘extended leave’. “The purpose of the message was to question how dare I initiate an inquiry against Musharraf,” he said.

“Baseless cases have been filed against me following Panama Papers,” the former premier said. “I have never been allowed to complete a constitutional term. I have said this before and will say it again that decisions should be taken by the people,” he said. This is the conclusion of my actual crime, he added. The PML-N chief termed the incident of party leader Daniyal Aziz being slapped by PTI’s Naeemul Haq as a shameful act. “This is PTI’s culture and Imran is to blame for it,” he said, adding that similar behaviour is also exhibited in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly. “PTI members always engage in scuffles, and one by one they’re getting unmasked.”

The ousted premier said that PTI had given a plan once before also, and questioned whether they implemented the plan. “Besides looking for the umpire’s finger and staging sit-ins, what else have they done?” he questioned. “Where are the 300 dams that PTI promised? Where are the trees? Where is the 50,000 MW of electricity?” he further asked. “KP is currently worse than southern Punjab, according to the UNDP report,” he added.

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