Feb 21, 2009

Nawaz claims being kept ignorant of Kargil war

LAHORE: PML-N Quaid Mian Nawaz Sharif had disclosed he was kept ignorant of Kargil war adding he took the blame of Kargil episode on his shoulders only for the prestige of the army. Sharif made these comments while addressing a PML-N general council meeting here Saturday. He alleged all efforts were made to execute him.
'Dialogues on the issue of Kashmir were going on successfully,' he said adding Musharraf had launched the military offensive in Kargil and it was not brought to his knowledge.
'Vajpayee broke this news on the telephone and then I took notice of it. When I asked Musharraf about it the facts were unveiled. Musharraf asked me to contact Clinton to stop the war. I telephoned Clinton and sought time for a meeting and all this I took on my shoulders to save the dignity of the army,' he revealed.
He went on to say that 'Musharraf kept me in the dark as to what happened in the corps commanders meeting and later told one of his generals that he kept the proceedings of meeting secret from the prime minister. Its recording was still with me. Upon it I sent the message his retirement to him and he arrested my man.'
'Musharraf sent his head corps commander who aimed his rifles on us. Our telephone connections were snapped. We were arrested and taken to some unknown destination. A TV was kept there. We switched on the TV and it was airing news that the Nawaz Sharif government had been dismissed. Three generals including General Mehmood, General Orakzai and General Ehsan came up to me at midnight and forced me to sign my resignation papers. I refused to do so saying death was acceptable to me but I would not sign. General Mehmood implored me and then again I refused. I knew it well what treatment they would mete out to me. I had already seen what fate a prime minister had met earlier. I remained stuck to my principle'.
Giving further details of his detention he said, 'I was kept in a closed room for 15 days. Later I was taken to a safe house and was interrogated there. Later we were taken to Karachi where Ghaus Ali Shah was already there. I pay Tribute to Ghaus Ali Shah, Javed Hashmi, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Ishaq Dar and others who rendered unprecedented sacrifices. Tears raced down from the eyes of policeman who handcuffed me. Our army was doing all this.'
He said that 'a team of generals tried their best to seek execution for me. But I salute Justice Rehmat Jaffri who awarded a punishment for term of 70 years and did not award capital punishment despite being under pressure. High Court was approached for my execution. Later Musharraf extended offer to me for a meeting saying Nawaz Sharif should resign being head of PML-N and hand over its chairmanship to Mian Shahbaz Sharif. But we refused to do so. We never betrayed the soil of Pakistan nor would we do so in future. It was the peak of callousness that we were not allowed to lower the body of our father into his grave.' He continued 'Benazir Bhutto Shaheed met me and we worked out charter of democracy for two years and signed it. Soon after returning to Pakistan I first of all held a joint press conference with Benazir Bhutto. I went upto Larkana after the shahadat of Benazir. Our talks started with Asif Zardari. He is not ready to abide by the charter of democracy nor for the restoration of the judiciary and annulment of 17th amendment. But he wants the steps taken by Musharraf to be indemnified so that he may not be punished. I told Zardari if we did so, the nation would hate us.'
'No one would be a bigger traitor than us if we pardon the person who sabotaged the constitution and betrayed the country. We quit ministries and I appreciate those who refused to accept ministries saying they don't want ministries at the cost of principles and ideology. I am first of all Muslim then Pakistani and I am ready to render every sacrifice for the sake of country. If Zardari's personal agenda is a hurdle on the way to the agenda of Pakistan then I will give preference to the agenda of Pakistan. I don't want Zardari to quit his presidency nor I have fixed my eyes on any seat. We will not compromise on principles', he remarked.

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