Benazir, Musharraf did not want Nawaz to return from exile, says Shaukat Aziz

Published June 9, 2016
Former PM Shaukat Aziz with former US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher. ─AFP/File
Former PM Shaukat Aziz with former US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher. ─AFP/File

KARACHI: Former prime minister Shaukat Aziz claimed that former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto did not want Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan before 2008 general elections.

Aziz, who held the prime minister's office from 2004 to 2007, was talking in a Geo TV's programme about the claims made in his recently published book.

Shaukat Aziz's book, "From banking to the thorny world of politics", was launched earlier this month. The book is co-authored by Sunday Times journalist Anna Mikhailova.

"The then US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Richard Boucher told me that both Musharraf and Benazir wanted Nawaz to stay abroad to avoid competition," said Aziz.

He too found ‘some merit’ in such a proposition, he added.

Aziz claimed that after the October 1999 coup, the then US President Bill Clinton asked Musharraf to remain cautious, adding that both Saudi Arabia and US prevented the then government from any step which could threaten anyone’s life.

But the final agreement took place after Musharraf came to know through Lebanese business tycoon and the former Lebanese PM Rafiq-Al-Hariri that Saudis are angry over Nawaz Sharif’s treatment by the government after his ouster from power, he added.

During the show, Aziz stood by his claim in the book that US wanted Benazir to become the prime minister and wanted Musharraf to remain president.

When asked as to what Musharraf wanted himself, Aziz said "only Musharraf can answer this question" but "his research" says that the former military ruler was ready for such a settlement as things were already heading towards it.

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