Musharraf must go: Nawaz Sharif

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Nirupama Subramanian

“He should be tried for treason”

I can forgive him for everything that he did to me…

But this nation won’t forgive him for what he has done to it

ISLAMABAD: The former Pakistan Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, who took his country into the world’s nuclear club, marked the 10th anniversary of the tests and his association with what most Pakistanis see as their country’s biggest achievement, with a call for a “revolution” against President Pervez Musharraf.

In a speech to workers of his Pakistan Muslim League (N) in Lahore on Wednesday, Mr. Sharif said his senior partner in the ruling coalition, Pakistan People’s Party leader Asif Ali Zardari, was in agreement with him that the retired General Musharraf should go.

Increasing the pressure on Mr. Zardari to act, the PML(N) leader said General Musharraf, who ousted him in a coup when he was Army chief in October 1999, should not be given a “safe exit,” and must be tried for treason.

“I can forgive him for everything that he did to me, to my parents, my mother, my wife, but this nation will not forgive him for what he has done to it,” he said in a speech full of anger and emotion. “I am determined not to give him a safe exit.”

To cries of “Musharraf ko fansi do” [Hang Musharraf], Mr. Sharif said, “Musharraf and his cronies” refused to accept the February 18 election results that had gone against them, and “continue to drive the nation to destruction.”

“An obstacle”

Mr. Zardari, who described General Musharraf as an “obstacle” between the people and democracy, has said he does not want a confrontation with him. Last week, announcing parts of a package of changes to the Constitution aimed at cutting back the powers of the presidency, the PPP leader said the intention was “to walk him away rather than impeach him away.”

Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif met on Tuesday to discuss the package, which needs two-thirds support in Parliament.

In return for supporting the amendments, the PML(N) leader wants Mr. Zardari to restore through a resolution of Parliament the judges sacked by General Musharraf last year, instead of making the reinstatement part of the constitutional amendments package.

Mr. Sharif said he had told Mr. Zardari that if the judges were not restored, he would join the lawyers’ agitiation for reinstatement of the judiciary.

Earlier in the day, rumours swept through Pakistan that General Musharraf had resigned, prompting his spokesman to tell Dawn News television that “nothing of the sort” was happening.

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