ISLAMABAD: Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s claim in an interview that the Nawaz Sharif-led government was pressuring courts in cases against him and that former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif came to his rescue drew a strong criticism from legal and political circles on Tuesday, with calls that state institutions must come clean on the subject.

The Prime Minister Office remained tight-lipped about Gen Musharraf’s claim that the army influenced the government and helped him in going abroad, though it issued a brief statement denying one of the many allegations levelled by the former dictator during the interview with a private news channel on Monday.

“Well, he [Gen Raheel] did help me and I am absolutely clear and grateful. I have been his boss and I have been the army chief before him… he helped out, because the cases are politicised, they put me on the ECL [exit control list], they turned it into a political issue,” Gen Musharraf said.

He said that the army chief had “a role to play in releasing the pressure behind the scenes”, and added that Gen Raheel removed the pressure “the government was putting on the courts”.

“Once he [Gen Sharif] got the government to relieve the pressure that they were exerting, the courts gave their judgement and allowed me to go abroad for treatment,” he told Dunya News TV.

While government representatives regretted that Gen Musharraf did not realise the implication of his statement, legal experts believed that his statement implied that there was an understanding between him and the state institutions.

“Unfortunately Musharraf crossed limits by making such claims against a former COAS. Musharraf should not have talked in a blatant way even if [Gen] Raheel had played a role in this regard,” Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch told Geo TV.

Read more: Musharraf crossed all limits by making claims against former COAS Raheel Sharif: Qadir Baloch

Former Supreme Court Bar Association president Kamran Murtaza also told the same news channel that when Gen Musharraf was allowed to go abroad it seemed that “certain institutions were backing him and the issue was being managed by them. I believe that he [Musharraf] was let go to safeguard the government”.

SCBA President Rashid A. Razvi said Gen Musharraf’s statement depicted that there was an understanding between him, the government and the judiciary.

The current and former bar presidents as well as the federal minister demanded that the apex court must take a prompt action.

Dr Musadik Malik, special assistant to the prime minister, said that Gen Musharraf should have made such a revelation when Gen Raheel was the army chief.

In the same interview, Gen Musharraf said that the differences between him and PM Nawaz Sharif began in the late 90s when the latter asked him to sack two serving senior army officers, but he refused to comply.

This was the only point in the whole interview which was denied by a spokesperson for the Prime Minister Office on Tuesday in a statement.

He categorically denied the comments made by Gen Musharraf that the differences between him and the PM started when “the prime minister told him to remove two serving major generals under his command”.

He said that the allegations made by Gen Musharraf were utterly baseless, malicious, untrue and concocted. “No such issue was discussed between the two,” he added.

The statement was also silent on Gen Musharraf’s another allegation that PM Sharif also asked him to “court martial” senior journalist Najam Sethi.

Gen Musharraf was allowed to go abroad in March this year after his name was removed from the ECL. The government claimed that he was allowed to leave because of the court orders. He is facing several cases, including treason and murder, and has been declared a proclaimed offender by courts.

Published in Dawn December 21st, 2016



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