Sharif won’t be allowed to return before polls: Musharraf


Islamabad : Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said that the country’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who was sent into exile twice, will not be allowed to stage a comeback before the forthcoming national elections, media reported Friday.

Support TwoCircles

Musharraf gave the assurance to his political allies at a dinner Thursday night only hours after the European parliament asked Pakistan to permit all exiled leaders to return prior to the polls scheduled for January, The News reported.

Emphasising that his loyal lawmakers should to concentrate on their election campaigns, the president said: “I am with you and it is my heartiest desire that you win elections and form the government.”

Sharif was deposed by Musharraf in a bloodless coup in October 1999 and sent to Saudi Arabia the next year under a conditional agreement. After a few years of inactivity, the former premier made an abortive attempt in September to re-enter Pakistan.

The European parliament, through a resolution, also condemned the forced departure of Sharif last month that also went against the ruling of Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

It called on Islamabad to ensure transparency in the elections and allow equal media exposure to all the aspirants.

Engulfed by acts of violence and terrorism, Pakistan is caught in a political whirlpool with opposition forces struggling hard to gain public support to block the re-election of Musharraf’s supporters.

Last week Benazir Bhutto, another former prime minister, landed in the port city of Karachi ending more than eight years of self-imposed exile after a controversial arrangement with the government of Musharraf.

Bhutto’s return was marred by the suicide bombing of her convoy, that killed at least 140 people.