Musharraf primarily wanted to "secure his office": Sherpao

Former military ruler Pervez Musharraf primarily wanted to "secure his office" and was even willing to align with the PPP and Awami National Party after the 2008 elections, a former interior minister has said.

Last Updated: Oct 03, 2010, 17:13 PM IST

Lahore: Former military ruler Pervez
Musharraf primarily wanted to "secure his office" and was even
willing to align with the PPP and Awami National Party after
the 2008 elections, a former interior minister has said.

Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, the chief of PPP-Sherpao,
who formed his own party after developing differences with
ex-premier Benzair Bhutto in the 1990s, said Musharraf
continued to "deceive" his political allies till the last
moment by saying that Bhutto would not return to Pakistan from
self-exile before the 2008 elections.

Sherpao, who held different portfolios in the
Musharraf regime, said the former President primarily wanted
to "secure his office" and was even willing to align with the
PPP and Awami National Party after the 2008 elections.

Musharraf consulted only his most trusted aides "Tariq
Aziz, Lt Gen (retired) Hamid Javed and company" while striking
a deal with slain former premier Benazir Bhutto in 2007, say
former allies of the dictator.

"Musharraf did not even bother to take all of us on
board regarding his plans to strike a deal with Benazir.
There is no truth in it reports that Musharraf had
consulted his political allies to finalise the deal with the
Pakistan Peoples` Party.

Rather, he gave little importance to his political
allies," said Sherpao, a former interior minister.

"It was Tariq Aziz, the former National Security
Adviser, and company whom Musharraf trusted most and consulted
regarding his moves," he said.

As part of the secret understanding with Bhutto,
Musharraf promulgated the National Reconciliation Ordinance, a
graft amnesty that benefited thousands including Bhutto`s
widower Asif Ali Zardari, while the PPP did not boycott the
2007 presidential election.

While launching his new All Pakistan Muslim League
party on Friday, Musharraf told a gathering in London that he
had committed a mistake by issuing the NRO.

Bhutto wanted an amendment in the constitution to
become Prime Minister for the third time or the closure of
cases against her, Zardari and her party leaders, he said.

"My allies had permitted me to issue the NRO,"
Musharraf said. Salim Saifullah, chief of a dissident group in
the PML-Q, said he had opposed the promulgation of the NRO
when Musharraf consulted him.

"I had even opposed Musharraf`s November 3 and May 12
steps (to impose emergency and act against the Supreme Court
Chief Justice). Even a person having little political vision
could not have gone in for such steps," he said.

Saifullah, who too was a minister in the Musharraf
regime, said the former military ruler had a very "limited
circle" that he banked on for advice.

PTI