KARACHI - Former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Friday claimed that the current government was violating a ‘deal’ under which Pervez Musharraf tendered his resignation from the president’s office in exchange for a safe passage.
Addressing a press conference at his party’s Media Cell, PPP vice chairman disclosed that talks with the establishment had led to resignation of Musharraf as president, under which he was given honourable exit. He said PML-N was part of the agreement and now it should honour its commitment to giving safe exit to former military ruler.
Gilani said the Pakistan Peoples Party government did not launch an operation in North Waziristan during its tenure because then army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani insisted that any decision in this regard would be taken by the army. His statement on the matter comes days after Major-Gen (r) Athar Abbas disclosed that General Kayani was reluctant to launch military operation in North Waziristan.
Giving details of PPP’s deal with the establishment on Musharraf, Gilani said it wasn't possible to take resignation from a powerful military president without the assistance of establishment. He said that after decision of impeachment of then President Pervez Musharraf by the PPP and PML-N in the parliament in 2008, the establishment held talks with him, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and other political forces on the issue.
“After talks with the establishment, Musharraf had resigned under a commitment of safe exit to him”, Gilani said, adding that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was part of the process of talks and the deal on this matter. The former PM stressed he was not in favour of letting Musharraf go now but was only disclosing commitments which had been made.
“It was decided to give Musharraf a safe passage without any hurdles. The PML-N leadership had also endorsed this idea… Now, the PML N government has started opening new cases against Musharraf, which I think is not good omen.” All those who were part of the negotiations… should abide by the agreement, Gilani maintained.
Responding to several questions regarding current political scenario, Yousuf Raza Gilani said Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri had the right to protest, but no decision should be taken on streets in presence of the parliament. "I cannot support any move by him [Imran Khan] which is in contradiction to the constitution," he said.
The PPP leader reiterated that his party had adhered to the reconciliation policy of assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto, adding it would not become party to those seeking to undermine democracy in the present scenario. He further said that the progress, development and strengthening of the Pakistan is lies in the democracy.
Gilani said that PPP his party was not supporting PML-N government but strengthening democracy, adding that if parliament is strong than all other institutions would be stable. He said the PPP had endeavoured to strengthen the parliament, adding only then would the country's institutions be strengthened. He said the PPP had restored the constitution to its original form.
He said that political forces, including the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, should avoid hatching conspiracies to derail the democratic dispensation. “Let us join hands to strengthen democracy,” he said, adding that “PPP has difference with the PML-N government on a number of issues but it supports democracy and will let the government to complete its five-year term.”
Gilani also reiterated that the long lasting demand of the people of South Punjab for separate province would meet one day. Responding to a question, he said as prime minister he himself had suggested reducing government's tenure to four years as people generally don't tolerate rulers more than that period.
Regarding operation in North Waziristan, Gilani said PPP government had not focused on launching an operation there during its tenure because former army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani wanted the decision to be his alone. Since June 15, the military has been engaged in a major offensive against militants in North Waziristan. The move followed failed negotiations between the PML-N government and the Taliban.
“After the Swat operation, I had held meetings to state the action in North Waziristan, but the then army chief General Kayani wanted to take this decision on his own.” Gen Kayani told him to leave the Waziristan operation at the disposal of the army, which, he said, would itself determine the date and time for any action. “This was the reason we did not insist and asked forces to make the decision on its own.”
Gilani said there was an operation during his tenure in Malakand as well, but the IDPs were sent back to their homes in 90 days. PPP leader said that the political parties and locals should help (internally displaced persons) IDPs of North Waziristan in the best possible way.