ISLAMABAD, Sept 8: The Chief of Saudi intelligence, Prince Muqrin bin Abdul Aziz, and Lebanese politician Saad Al-Hariri urged former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday not to return to Pakistan and abide by his agreement with King Abdullah which bound him to stay out of Pakistan for 10 years.The appeal was made at a joint news conference they addressed after meeting President Gen Pervez Musharraf for two and a half hours at his camp office in Rawalpindi. Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Awadh Al-Asseri was present during the meeting.Both Mr Hariri and Prince Muqrin expressed the hope that Mr Sharif would honour his agreement negotiated by him and guaranteed by the Saudi royal family.Mr Hariri said he had played a key role in securing Mr Sharif’s release from jail in 2000 in exchange for his exile in Saudi Arabia as a guest of the royal family. He expressed the hope that Mr Sharif would honour his commitment and stay out of the country.

Prince Muqrin, who is a brother of King Abdullah, said the agreement was for the stability of Pakistan. He said the Saudi leaders had brokered the agreement to help Mr Sharif to get out of jail.

“My country believes in security, political stability, progress and prosperity of Pakistan,” said the Saudi leader.

Asked about the Supreme Court ruling that Mr Sharif had the right to come home, the Saudi intelligence chief said: “Which comes first, the agreement or the Supreme Court ruling? We fully respect the Supreme Court and law of every land but you still have an agreement.”

He said King Abdullah hoped that for the sake of Pakistan’s national interests, all parties to the agreement would honour and adhere to the terms of the agreement.

(Reuters news agency quoted Prince Muqrin as saying that Saudi Arabia would welcome Mr Sharif if President Musharraf deported him: “Saudi Arabia is for all our brothers and sisters all over the Muslim world.”)

Mr Hariri said he had held talks with Mr Sharif a couple of days ago to persuade Mr Sharif to honour the commitment he had made with the Saudi leadership in 2000.

Prince Muqrin and Mr Hariri waived a copy of the agreement which according to them bound the former prime minister and his brother to avoid coming to Pakistan unless their 10-year exile period was over.

According to sources, the two foreign

leaders tried unsuccessfully to meet Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry. However, a spokesman for the apex court, when contacted, said that there was no meeting scheduled with the chief justice.

“They did not contact the chief justice and, therefore, there was no question of any such meeting,” he said.

The sources said that President Musharraf, during the meeting, apprised the two leaders of the prevailing political situation and said that Mr Sharif’s return at this critical juncture would ‘destablise’ the country.

The president, the sources said, was of the view that all political leaders currently outside Pakistan should return home after the general election.

The president, the sources said, also informed the guests about the measures the president had taken to improve the overall political climate in the country.