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Asghar Khan case: PPP trying to find an escape, says PML-N

December 07, 2012

LAHORE, Dec 6: While the Pakistan People’s Party has announced dropping probe through the Federal Investigation Agency against the politicians including Nawaz Sharif who allegedly received money from ISI during 1990 elections, the PML-N says the federal government’s decision is not because of any ‘deal or understanding’ between them rather the former is keen to use it (allegation) to gain political mileage in the 2013 polls.

In the face of reported understanding between the PPP and PML-N over the issue, PPP central Punjab president Manzoor Wattoo said on Thursday: “The Supreme Court had ordered the government to launch investigation through FIA against Nawaz Sharif in the Asghar Khan case but we have refused because we want to get rid of politics of mudslinging”.

Another PPP stalwart has come up with a suggestion for the apex court, saying: “The Supreme Court may order setting up a judicial commission like it did in the Arsalan-Riaz case,” President Zardari’s Coordinator in Punjab Navid Chaudhry said.

Talking to Dawn, he said: “The PPP does not want ‘some else’ to take benefit of the probe against the Sharifs and other politicians.

The PPP is happy to see itself vindicated as it has been established today that its mandate in 1990 was stolen. We have filed the Bhutto reference in the court on the very same reason – correction of history. We are not interested in any kind of witch-hunting,” he said.

Navid Chaudhry further said the PPP believed that it was better to bury the hatchet and move forward. “Now the ball is in the court of masses and they will decide in the coming elections who is right and who is wrong,” he added.

Soon after the verdict in the Asdghar Khan case Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf had told a hurriedly called press conference in Islamabad that the apex court’s verdict would be implemented in letter and spirit and the FIA as per court’s direction would launch the probe.

The PML-N reacted strongly to it and refused to accept any investigation by “Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s controlled FIA.” However succumbing to media pressure, Nawaz Sharif showed his willingness to the FIA probe.

But in a sudden change of hearts, first Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira spoke in favour of elder Sharif saying those “wanting to keep Mr Sharif out of politics are living in a fool’s paradise”, followed by Religious Minister Khurshid Shah’s comments that the government did not want the FIA Director General to “drag Mr Sharif”. And finally Mr Wattoo’s assertion that his government is ready to ‘disobey’ the apex court to ‘save Mr Sharif’.

PML-N Senator Pervaiz Rashid however denies any ‘understanding or deal’ with the PPP over the matter. He rather sees it a PPP’s another smart move in order to get further political mileage in coming elections. “As the PPP knows that the probe will give a clean chit to Mr Sharif at the end of the day it has decided to drop it,” Mr Rashid said, adding had there been anything in such allegations Gen Musharraf would have gone after that. Besides, the senator said the PPP also wanted to save some ‘other’ culprits in the case and was finding an escape in Mr Sharif’s shelter. “We demand the PPP government to implement the apex court’s verdict in the Asghar Khan case so that the people know the reality,” he said.