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Musharraf ensured PML-Q defeat in 2008 polls: Shujaat

    LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid president Chaudhry Shujaat Huss­ain says retired Gen Pervez Mush­arraf and his friend Tariq Aziz made a plan to ensure PML-Q’s defeat in the 2008 elections because he [Musharraf]had struck a deal with the Pakistan Peoples Party.

    Mr Hussain reveals this in his autobiography titled Sach tou yeh hai (Truth is this) which was launched here on Tuesday.

    Talking about the ‘conspiracy to stop the PML-Q from returning to power’, he writes in his 328-page memoir: “When I asked former US deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage during a meeting in Lahore after the 2008 elections why you were part of the conspiracy to ensure our [PML-Q] defeat in the polls, he said, ‘It was not I but your two good friends — Gen Musharraf and [former security adviser] Tariq Aziz — who along with [then US secretary of state] Condoleezza Rice made that happen.”

    Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Wasim Sajjad, S.M. Zafar, Khalid Ranjha and Mushahid Hussain Sayed were also present at the meeting, Mr Hussain states.

    He claims that the 2008 elections were fixed. “A few days before the 2008 elections, three US senators — Joe Biden, John Kerry and Charles Hagel — met Pervaiz Elahi in Lahore and flatly told him that though he had done a great job in the health and education sectors, they would not accept the result of the election if his party won.”

    In his memoir, PML-Q leader talks about betrayals by Nawaz Sharif; says he was pressurised to get Zardari booked in drugs case

    Mr Hussain writes that Mr Elahi told him that a conspiracy had been hatched against the PML-Q and that had been confirmed by the US senators. “Gen Musharrf telephoned me on polling day saying my party would get 40 to 45 seats [of the National Assembly] and that I should accept the result. I told him how he could say so as counting had not yet started. We had information that to give credibility to the election a plan had been finalised to ensure defeat of some 30 big names of the PML-Q, including myself. Later when I inquired from Gen Musharraf about this, he had no straight answer.”

    Similarly, he says the PML-Q was in a position to form government in Balochistan and it had finalised the candidate for the office of chief minister, but Gen Musharraf stopped it saying he wanted to provide ‘comfort level’ to PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari.

    Mr Hussain also reveals that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had pressurised him to book Mr Zardari in a narcotics case when the former was federal interior minister. In 2011, Mr Zardari had confirmed this by saying: “Had Chaudhry Shujaat got me booked in narcotics case, I would not have become president of Pakistan.”

    The PML-Q chief talks about betrayals by Nawaz Sharif on a number of occasions. Mentioning Mr Sharif’s first visit to his residence, he writes: “Young Nawaz Sharif first came to see my father Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi during an election campaign. Nawaz said his father wanted to give funds for the election campaign. Pervaiz Elahi told him that Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi did not need any funds. Upon this, Nawaz left.”

    In the book, Mr Hussain talks about his family’s political struggle, Ayub and Bhutto regimes, 1977 elections, Gen Zia’s era, the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, Benazir Bhutto’s governments, Nawaz Sharif government’s second tenure, Musharraf’s takeover and Pervaiz Elahi’s government in Punjab.

    Facts, not opinions

    Speaking at the book launching ceremony, Mr Hussain said his book did not contain opinions but only the facts of the given period. “I have written my memoirs without any prejudice and have stated facts. I have tried my best that no one is hurt. After going through this book people will make their own opinion.”

    Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo praised the PML-Q leader for always giving respect to the people of Balochistan. “No matter in which party my colleagues and I are, we have a great respect for Shujaat sahib. Together we have to eliminate hatred (in Balochistan),” the chief minister said.

    Criticising the former prime minister, Mr Bizenjo said: “The PML-N had been in disarray in Balochistan only because Nawaz Sharif never gave respect to the party’s lawmakers from the province. He should see his shortcomings instead of finding faults in others.

    “Mr Sharif does not give respect to people, especially when he is in power. Mr Sharif should give respect to the Senate chairman from Balochistan. His slogan of ‘Give respect to the ballot’ seems to apply only to himself. If the vote is given to him or his party candidate then it is fine, but if it is given to someone else then that vote does not have any respect for him.”

    Referring to the taunts of PML-N leaders about 500 or so votes he had secured in the election, Mr Bizenjo said election in his constituency was held in such circumstances that the voters received death threats for going to polling stations.

    Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid said Mr Sharif was desperately looking for an NRO, but “I want to tell him that every day is not Sunday”.

    Published in Dawn, April 11th, 2018

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