US supporting dictator in Pakistan, Sharif charges


Paris : The administration of US President George W. Bush is betraying the Pakistani people by backing a dictator in the person of President Pervez Musharraf, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said in an interview published on the website of the French daily Le Figaro.

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“The Pakistani people are disgusted and disappointed to see Bush support one man against 160 million of its citizens,” the head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told the newspaper. “I always worked well with the US when I was prime minister. But today I am disappointed.”

Asked if he objected to the way Washington conducted its anti-terrorist campaign in Pakistan, Sharif said: “No. I am disappointed because the Bush administration is siding with a dictator in spite of the will of the Pakistani people.”

Sharif, 58, was Pakistani prime minister from Nov 1, 1990, to July 18, 1993, and from Feb 17, 1997 to Oct 12, 1999. His second term ended when Musharraf overthrew the government in a dramatic coup.

In the interview published Friday, Sharif told Le Figaro that only if Musharraf stepped down could democratic elections be guaranteed on Feb 18.

“If he resigns, everything will be resolved,” he said. “We want a government of national unity to organise the elections, because no one can trust the interim government set up by Musharraf. We demand that he goes.”