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Plot against Sharifs’ candidature alleged

May 27, 2008

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LAHORE, May 26: The PML-N has come out with a tape that it claims contains conversation between PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and an unidentified man about a plan involving PCO judges for rejection of nomination papers of Mian Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif and other leaders contesting the by-polls scheduled for June 26.

The tape was played at a press conference here on Monday by PML-N information secretary Ahsan Iqbal and Pervaiz Rasheed.

The unidentified man informs the PML-Q leader that a prominent personality has asked a court to get the nomination papers of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif rejected and that he has been assured that it will be done.

Chaudhry Pervaiz immediately denied the allegation saying the said tape was fake and fabricated, prepared with the use of modern technology to malign him. He said that he would file a defamation suit. He accused Ahsan Iqbal of using the doctored tape to level baseless allegations against him.

He said everybody had the legal right to file objections to get the papers of one’s rival rejected and that there was a set procedure for the purpose.

Mr Ahsan Iqbal said the tape had been dropped by someone at the party’s Model Town office early on Monday morning.

When asked who could have taped the conversation when the PML-N was in power in the Punjab and it was an ally of the federal government, he said it could be the work of someone in the office of the Chaudhrys.

(The tape also includes the voice of supposedly a telephone operator who has been allegedly asked by Chaudhry Pervaiz to dial a number.)

Mr Iqbal said both the presidency and the PML-Q were afraid of facing the Sharifs in the electoral arena and were plotting to deprive them of their right to contest polls.

Terming it a ploy to destabilise democracy in the country, he said such conspiracies would continue to be hatched as long as Pervez Musharraf remained in the presidency.

Answering a question, he said the PML-N would rejoin the federal government only after the PPP implemented the Murree Declaration. He said the party had not yet received PPP’s constitutional package and that it had not taken any final position on the issue of reducing the tenure of the Chief Justice.

He said that Federal Law Minister Farooq Naek had told him that the finalised package would be sent to the allies in a couple of days.

He told a questioner that the party maintained its reservations on the appointment of Salman Taseer as governor and wondered how a minister in the Musharraf regime could serve the PPP.

He said that had PPP secretary general Jehangir Badr been appointed as the governor he himself would have garlanded him.