Lahore: Former premier Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said the law of the land will decide what action should be taken against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf when he returns to Pakistan from self-exile on March 24.
The law of the land will prevail in the case of Musharraf, Sharif told a news conference at his residence here when he was asked by reporters about the former dictator`s plans to return to the country to contest the upcoming general election on May 11.
"The law, Constitution and courts are there. If there is anything illegal or unconstitutional, they will take notice," said Sharif, whose government was ousted in a coup led by Musharraf in October 1999.
"If anyone has gone against the spirit of the Constitution and the law, the law of the land will prevail," he said.
Sharif said he believed no one should be forced to go into exile or to leave the country.
"No one should be arrested and jailed, or go into exile, or be sentenced to hang or forced to flee (Pakistan). This is our country and the Quran says no one should be forced out of his home," he said.
The PML-N chief`s remarks were in marked contrast to his earlier demands for action against Musharraf for ousting his government and for imposing an emergency in late 2007.
An anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of five men charged with involvement in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto has declared Musharraf a fugitive for refusing to cooperate with investigators.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Musharraf by several courts in connection with civil and criminal cases, including the killing of Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti in a 2006 military operation.
Musharraf left Pakistan in early 2009, months after he was forced to step down as President.
He has announced that he intends to return to the country on March 24 to lead his All Pakistan Muslim League party in the polls to be held in May.
Responding to a question, Sharif said the PML-N wants impartial caretaker set-ups at the centre and in the provinces.
If the PML-N and the Pakistan People`s Party are unable to forge consensus on a caretaker premier, the matter should be sent to the Election Commission according to existing rules, he said.
"Let the Election Commission appoint the better candidate," he said. Without naming retired judge Nasir Aslam Zahid, one of the two candidates proposed by the PML-N, Sharif said, "Everyone knows who is number 1 (out of the four candidates for the post of caretaker premier) and he should be appointed."
The PML-N will not make any compromise on this "Number 1" candidate, he added. The completion of the five-year constitutional tenure by the elected parliament was a "big achievement of the democratic system", he said.
This was the first time in Pakistan`s history that a government elected by the people was departing so that a new government could come to power through the same democratic process, he said.
All the problems and challenges being faced by the country are the product of dictatorships and martial law is no way to resolve problems, Sharif said.