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Nawaz refuses to play into the hands of puppeteers

December 30, 2010

Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif. — File photo

LAHORE: PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif has said he will not support any move against the government at the behest of ‘invisible hands’ and will not become part of any ‘puppet show’.

Addressing the 104th foundation day of the Muslim League on Thursday, he called for setting up a committee of senior leaders to resolve the Balochistan issue.

“We won’t become part of any puppet show as we’ve buried the dirty politics forever,” he said.

Criticising what he called managing of national affairs by the establishment, he said he felt sorry for prime ministers who were booted out either by martial law administrators or by presidents.

He said the game of removing elected governments had been going on for a long time and army dictators had ruled the country for three decades in its life of over 60 years.

Referring to a perception that the PML-N was indirectly supporting the PPP government, he said he wanted democracy to survive but that did not mean he would stand by a corrupt set-up.

“The people who have been part of the government for the past three years despite all its corrupt practices and embezzlement are in fact supporting it… those who raise revolutionary slogans without leaving the corridors of power.”

The PML-N chief regretted that Balochistan was burning but the problem did not appear to be on the priority list of the government which, he alleged, had handed over the restive province to forces which had made the situation worse.

He called for a committee of national figures and senior parliamentarians to resolve all issues facing Balochistan.

Mr Sharif, who had been ousted from power by the army in October 1999, warned that the country would plunge into a deeper crisis if those who violated the Constitution and imposed martial laws were not held accountable.

Referring to former army ruler Pervez Musharraf, he said: “He who had held the Constitution in abeyance, attacked the Red Mosque and imprisoned the judges was given a guard of honour instead of being tried for his crimes.”

The PML-N chief, who had signed the Charter of Democracy with the late PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto, said that her spouse, President Asif Zardari, had backed out of three written agreements with his party, compelling it to part ways with the coalition government.

He said there was corruption everywhere in the government and corrupt people were being appointed at important posts and verdicts of the judiciary were being ignored.

The former prime minister said those who were talking of revolution had stamped the 17th Amendment (indemnifying all actions of Gen Musharraf) and later undid it through the 18th Amendment.

Amidst shouts of ‘shame’ by the audience, he said slogans should also be raised against those who had voted for the 17th Amendment.

Referring to former Punjab chief minister Pervaiz Elahi’s past assertions to get Gen (retd) Musharraf elected as the head of the state 10 times, he said such people could not be Leaguers, rather they were a blot on the Muslim League.

The PML-N chief said Mr Elahi, Gen (retd) Musharraf and others were criticising him, but he would not respond because stones were thrown on trees which bore fruit.