–Deposed PM says high treason case against Musharraf cannot be withdrawn, trial likely to conclude in six months
–Says PTI chief Imran Khan curses parliament yet he’s enjoying parliamentary benefits
ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday stated that the trial against former dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf cannot be stopped and will reach a logical conclusion within six months, as he called for summoning a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) to discuss the contents of a new book jointly penned by former ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani and former RAW chief AS Dulat.
Talking to journalists outside the accountability court, Nawaz said, “It may happen today or in six months but Musharraf’s trial will reach its logical conclusion.”
“Musharraf knows that the trial against him is an open and shut case, which is why he is not coming to Pakistan. This is a serious treason case, such cases cannot be taken back,” he added.
Reiterating that he is being targetted for initiating the treason case against the former military ruler, Nawaz added that Musharraf also disrespected the parliament. “He demonstrated his power on May 12 and now he’s sitting in a foreign country like a coward.”
“A three-time premier attends hearings while a dictator walks free,” the former premier lamented.
The treason case against the former military ruler was instituted on charges of subverting the constitution by imposing ‘emergency rule’ on November 3, 2007. On April 7, Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar proposed fresh composition of the special bench, led by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Yawar Ali, but the federal government is yet to issue a formal notification.
The CJP also proposed the name of a Sindh High Court (SHC) judge, Justice Nazar Akbar and Justice Tahira Safdar of the Balochistan High Court (BHC). The top judge suggested the new composition after Chief justice of the Peshawar High Court Yahya Afridi recused himself from hearing the case on March 29.
Justice Yawar Ali is set to retire on October 22 this year and it remains to be seen if the proceedings could conclude before his retirement. Sources said that the notification would be issued after the federal cabinet’s approval. The summary has been sent, but it had not yet made to the cabinet’s agenda, they maintained.
NSC MOOT ON SPY CHRONICLES:
Nawaz also appeared to draw a parallel between his own recent statement on the Mumbai attack case and the contents of the new book jointly penned by ex-ISI chief Lt Gen Durrani and former RAW chief Dulat, and called for the NSC to re-convene on the matter as it had in his (Sharif’s) case.
Durrani and Dulat’s “The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace” released in India on Wednesday, has served as an ice-breaker of sorts between the two warring neighbours while also spurring criticism of Indian state repression in held Kashmir.
However, Nawaz believes that the former DG ISI, through this book, has made public some “serious information” and that it is now necessary to call an emergency NSC meeting to discuss the matter.
“A national commission should be formed to oversee such issues and investigate them,” he said, adding that if given a chance to form government again, they would initiate such a commission.
It is pertinent to mention here that Nawaz, in an interview to a local English daily earlier this month, had said: “should we allow them [non-state actors] to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai?” — remarks that were perceived across the border as an open admission that the state of Pakistan was involved in the infamous 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Indian media’s inflammatory reportage was soon picked up in Pakistan, leading to criticism and condemnation of Nawaz Sharif’s stance. To address the ‘situation’ arising from the media furore, an NSC meeting was called over the matter during which Nawaz’s comments were deemed “incorrect and misleading”.
On Friday, Nawaz also suggested the formation of a national commission to ascertain and investigate events such as the toppling of the PML-N government in Balochistan, the election of the Senate chairman and horse trading in Senate elections.
The beleaguered PML-N leader said that people are witnessing how “certain plotters are controlling the media and encroaching upon its freedom”.
“They are putting pressure on TV channels and interrupting the circulation of newspapers and also managing the transmission through cable operators,” he said, referring to curbs placed on two major media organisations in the country.
Nawaz said such tactics are tantamount to denying freedom of expression and vowed that that the PML-N will form a powerful commission to address these core issues if it comes to power again.
IMRAN CURSED PARLIAMENT:
The former PM also lashed out his political opponent Imran Khan during the informal conversation with reporters.
Nawaz said Imran curses the parliament but enjoys parliamentary benefits. “If this is not called an insult to the Parliament, it’s called settling at the same spot where you spat.”
“Imran himself will present his justification for using such harsh words against the parliament,” he added.
Nawaz also questioned the delay in finalising a candidate for the caretaker setup and said the matter will be taken up by the parliament if the incumbent government and the opposition fail to reach a consensus.
He said that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is an asset for the party and the country, adding that he respects and cares greatly for the premier.
“The way he’s handled the country in the last 10 months is commendable. There are, at times, two to three different powers at play, and this is not how a country should be.”
He added, however, that a year ago people praised the country’s development, now the currency exchange rates have fallen, the stock market collapsed and the GDP anticipated could not be achieved.