ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan rejected on Sunday criticism by the PPP of the government’s decision to let former president retired Gen Pervez Musharraf leave the country.

He said in a statement that the PPP leadership had adopted ‘dual standards’ in the Musharraf case, adding that the government had allowed the former president to proceed abroad in light of the Supreme Court’s decision.

The minister said the PPP, which was making a hue and cry on the issue, had done nothing against Mr Musharraf despite the fact that he was nominated as an accused in the Benazir Bhutto assassination case.

“Gen Musharraf had gone abroad four times during the PPP regime (2008 to 2013), but the then government did nothing to stop him and his name was not put on the Exit Control List,” he pointed out.

He said that in 2009 an investigation team had hinted at the involvement of Mr Musharraf in the Benazir case but even then the PPP government did not take any action against him.

“Even after inclusion of Musharraf’s name in the FIR in 2011, no legal action was taken against him and he was free to move outside the country,” the minister said.

“After the 2008 general elections, the PML-N was the only party which opposed Mr Musharraf, otherwise PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had convinced almost all political parties to grant clemency to the retired general,” he added.

The minister said during its five-year rule the PPP neither remembered Ms Bhutto’s assassination case nor the 2007 emergency rather it wanted to continue the `PCO judiciary’ that had backed the emergency rule.

He said Mr Zardari always tried to persuade the PML-N chief and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to forgive Mr Musharraf, but today the PPP had forgotten its own stance on the matter. “I believe the reaction shown by the PPP is a bid to restore its crippling image, but the people of the country are well aware of facts.”

The minister said that PML-N had opposed decisions of a special court and the Sindh High Court which allowed Mr Musharraf to proceed abroad, but the Supreme Court was the highest appellate court and the government took the decision to remove his name from the ECL in the light of the apex court’s decision.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2016

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