India wanted to emulate Pak eco reforms in my tenure: Sharif

Lahore: Opposition PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday said Pakistan was ahead of India in defence technology and economic reforms during his tenure as premier.

"Our nuclear deterrence was much better than that of India at that time," he told a group of journalists at an 'iftar' dinner he hosted here this evening.

Late Indian Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had wanted to emulate the economic policies of the erstwhile PML-N government because of their vibrant nature, Sharif claimed.

"During my tenure as prime minister in the 1990s, India was way behind Pakistan on the economic front. So much so that Indian Prime Minister Narasimha Rao asked me if he could send a team of economic experts to Pakistan to understand the mechanism that put Pakistan on the road to progress," he added.

Amidst speculation that the Saudi royal family may be involved in efforts to stymie the trial of former President Pervez Musharraf on charges of treason, Sharif said Saudi Arabia should not be dragged into Pakistan politics.

"I do not know about the official protocol given to former President Pervez Musharraf but we should not involve Saudi Arabia in our politics," he said in response to a question.

Sharif's suggestion took some by surprise as he and his family had been given granted immunity by Musharraf on the intervention of the Saudi royal family after a military coup in 1999.

He said Musharraf must be tried for treason and the controversial 17th amendment of the constitution which gives the President sweeping powers should be repealed. If the government has any agreement with Mushrraf, it could not be imposed on the nation, he said.

Criticising the Pakistan People's Party-led government, Sharif said its failure was turning out to be the failure of democracy in the country.

Sharif also suggested that the President, Prime Minister, Chief Ministers and Governors should have no role in appointing judges of superior courts. "They must be appointed after a public hearing," he said.

Bureau Report