Sharif playing into hands of military: Zardari aide

Asif Ali Zardari has alleged that the PML-N chief is playing into the hands of the military establishment to strangle democracy.

Lahore: Smelling a conspiracy in Nawaz
Sharif`s move to ask the Supreme Court to probe the memogate
scandal, a close aide of ailing President Asif Ali Zardari has
alleged that the PML-N chief is playing into the hands of the
military establishment to strangle democracy.

"I second the apprehension of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza
Gilani that the democratic set-up is under threat following
the memogate scandal," former Law Minister Babar Awan said.

He was referring to a secret memo that sought American
help to stave off a possible military coup in Pakistan in May
after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

Awan warned the main opposition PML-N`s leadership that
it would not be just the PPP-led government which would be
sent home in the current turmoil, but the whole democratic
system would be packed up if politicians failed to protect it.

On Sharif`s move to "bypass" Parliament and involve the
Supreme Court in investigating the memogate scandal, Awan said
it was regrettable that the former Premier had not learnt a
lesson from his past dealings with the military.

"Nawaz Sharif was instrumental in toppling Benazir
Bhutto`s government twice and preferred to run away from
Pakistan after making a deal with a dictator (Pervez
Musharraf)," Awan said.

It was now clear why Sharif did not want to go to
Parliament, he added.

"A rope has been provided to Sharif (to strangle the
democratically-elected government)," Awan said, highlighting
the PML-N`s role in the memo case.

"The PPP will check any attack on Parliament with the
help of the people, and the government will complete its
remaining term of 15 months," he asserted.

The secret memo was delivered to former US military chief
Admiral Mike Mullen a week after the US operation that killed
bin Laden in Abbottabad.

Pakistan`s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, was
forced to resign over the controversy though he said he had
played no role in drafting or delivering the memo.

The scandal has pitched the military and the civilian
government against each other.

Matters took a turn for the worse after Zardari abruptly
left for Dubai on December 6 to seek treatment for a heart

Asked about Zardari`s return to Pakistan, Awan said the
President`s doctors alone could set a date for this.

However, Punjab Governor Latif Khosa, who too is a close
aide of the President, said Zardari would return home this

"President Zardari is coming back this month," Khosa told

Like Awan, the Governor too said Sharif should have
strengthened Parliament instead of filing a petition regarding
the memo in the apex court.

"The world is laughing at us because of the memo
scandal," he said.


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