Mrs Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of the exiled prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, revealed facts about the deal that took place in 2000. She said that Musharraf was uneasy due to her coming into the active politics and quoted Saad Hariri to explain his (Musharraf) disgust for her.
“Take this woman first and then the other members of the Sharif family, she is pain in the neck for us,” Kulsoom recalled Hariri’s words as was conveyed to him by Musharraf when Sharif family was asked to pack up for Jeddah.
She said Musharraf had to make this observation when she refused to accompany other family members in exile as she was busy in political activities and was not bound to leave in accordance with any agreement. “I neither signed any agreement nor I was in some verbal commitment with any authority to leave,” she said.
While narrating the facts about first deportation of the Sharifs, Kulsoom said Hariri was not the first foreign friend came up with a package offering pardon in return for abstaining from political activities for a specific period of time. She said that some respected personalities from Qatar and the UAE had first approached the Sharif family. She said these foreign personalities were, however, clearly told that there would be no question of compromise with Musharraf who had abrogated the constitution.
According to her, these honourable personalities did not interfere upon their own to facilitate in brokering a deal but on the request of Musharraf who wanted Sharif family out of scene for a smooth sailing in politics. “Musharraf and his companions thought that if the punishments against Sharifs implemented, they (Sharifs) will become heroes and immortal and the awakened nation of the 21st century will not forgive them,” she observed.
Musharraf’s government, she said, changed strategy after Sharifs’ refusal to any compromise with him. They approached Nawaz’s father Mian Muhammad Sharif who was very old and sick in those days. “Military dictators thought that an old father would be frightened by the threat of hanging his sons,” she said. According to her, even Mian Sharif refused the possibility of any such compromise.
“It was when Hariri came at scene as the representative of the Saudi royal family. Our relations with the royal family were always very pleasant. Hariri was unknown to us by that time,” she said. Initially Hariri also failed in his efforts when refused any compromise in his initial meetings with Nawaz in Attock fort, she added.
It was only when Musharraf ran out of patience and conveyed threatening message of hanging Nawaz, Mian Sharif started considering the exile option and consulted Riaz Batalvi advocate and Majeed Nizami who gave him a go-ahead if the situation was so worse, she admitted.
“Mian Sharif asked me,” Kulsoom elaborated, “to convey the message to both Nawaz and Shahbaz that it was his (father) order that they should accept the offer of honourable foreigners and leave the country for the time being.”
She alleged that while doing all this the rulers set aside the sensitivity of strategic relations with these brotherly countries. “Musharraf had deliberately indulged the friendly countries in a purely internal political issue for his vested interests,” she said.
She said that she was present in all meetings of these foreigners with Mian Sharif and Nawaz Sharif. “After order of Mian Sharif, I and Saad Hariri went to Attock fort. Nawaz again categorically rejected all offers. At that moment I conveyed the message of Mian Sharif to Nawaz. On hearing the orders of Mian Sharif, Nawaz became quiet and said that he was ready to accept the decision of his father,” she added.
She said Shahbaz Sharif, however, rejected everything and categorically refused to leave Pakistan at any cost.
Like Shahbaz, Kulsoom said, she was also forced to leave the country against her wishes. She said, however, she kept quiet on the issue in honour of the respected foreign personalities involved in the case. She said the agreement was for five years and signature on a ten years paper were done on the guarantee of ‘the most honourable personality’, which was conveyed to Sharif family through Hariri.
She said that according to the agreement, the Sharif family was free to go to some other country from Saudi Arabia except Pakistan. She said, however, Saudi authorities did not allow them to move to any other country. They always said that wait for two or three months.
“We were even not allowed to go to London for the bypass of Mian Sharif for which facility was not available in Jeddah,” she said. Mian Sharif had died because of the unavailability of medical facilities, which was a violation of the agreement, she added.
Kulsoom said that another blatant violation of the deal was that the agreement document should have to be in the possession of Prince Abdullah (now King Abdullah) and no other person or party could have its copy. She said the government of Pakistan had, however, managed to get a copy through the personal secretary and pilot of Saad Hariri, Capt Shujaat Azeem, who is younger brother of Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem. She said it was a sheer violation the agreement and blatant disrespect to ‘the most respectable personality’.
About the Sharifs’ participation in politics during the exile, she said: “The Saudi authorities, never objected to our political activities in London, as we were not bound to do so according to the agreement. Musharraf started making mercy requests to respectable personalities of the brotherly countries to stop us from coming to Pakistan. Shujaat Azeem met us in Germany few months’ back and made the same request. Nawaz clearly told him that we have spent more than seven years despite five years and now no one can request us not to go to Pakistan.”
She said: “When Hariri came to London with the same request, he was reminded the verbal agreement that he made on behalf of ‘the most respectable personality’. He admitted that but said he is under compulsions in the changed international scenario. His request that Nawaz Sharif should not go to Pakistan was turned down.”
Kulsoom said that those people in Pakistan who were criticising them for not disclosing the agreement for the last seven years should read its last paragraph.
She said: “We were strictly bound to not to utter or discuss a single word even within ourselves.” She said that they remained quiet to fulfil their the promise. “However, the day a Saudi prince himself showed a copy of the agreement at a press conference in Islamabad on September 8, we no more remained bound to our promise. Nawaz Sharif told the actual reality to the whole world on the same day,” she added.
Courtesy: The News