ISLAMABAD - Nationalist allies of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) feel let down by allegedly being ignored by the government in giving safe exit to the former military dictator General (retired) Pervez Musharraf.
Nationalist forces like Balochistan National Party Mengal (BNP-M), National Party (NP), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and Awami National Party (ANP) have been irked by the government’s move to facilitate the former dictator who was on trial for treason, to leave the country.
They have been irked by the unilateral decision of the federal government of removing the name of Musharraf from the exit control list (ECL) without taking the democratic forces into confidence. “We have stood by the current government in hard times. All democratic forces gave courage to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to face the sit-in unleashed by some forces. But we are hurt when the government unilaterally embarks on vital issues without seeking our formal or informal opinion,” Senator Usman Kakar, who represents PkMAP in the upper house, said.
He said it would not be wrong to say that the government has helped the former dictator escape from the treason trial. The government on March 17 had announced to remove the name of Musharraf from the ECL allowing him to travel abroad for medical treatment.
Soon after announcing the decision, the ruling PML-N faced scathing criticism from all and sundry for letting the dictator go who had toppled the regime of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999.
President BNP-M Sardar Akhtar Mengal while addressing a gathering on March 20 said the law should be equal for all saying a dictator who abrogated the constitution and killed political leaders extra-judicially have been set free while those who peacefully fought for their rights were either killed or titled as ‘traitors’.
“Martial Laws were imposed, prime minister were killed and democratic governments were overthrown by dictators,” Mr Mengal said in a tweet posted Thursday.
Similarly, National Party headed by Senator Hasil Bizinjo is also perturbed over allowing Musharraf to fly abroad. “Allowing Musharaf to leave will be an unjust decision for the people of Balochistan and rest of the country,” the NP said in a statement immediately after Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan announced removing the name of the former dictator from the ECL.
Leadership of the nationalist parties said they have been shocked by the unexpected decision to get the military dictator scot-free. And they are more perturbed that the government did not take them in confidence at all.
At present, the nationalist forces put weight behind the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in bashing the government over its alleged unilateral decision without taking the parliament in confidence. President ANP and former chief minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti in a statement accused Premier Sharif of undermining the public mandate by facilitating a man who abrogated the constitution. “He (prime minister) opted for PM House and let Musharraf go abroad,” he said. Shahi Syed, ANP’s Senator, told The Nation on phone yesterday that the ruling PML-N has constantly ignored taking the parliament into confidence after his political allies and democratic parties successfully failed the intents of a political party (PTI) that wanted to topple the current regime. “At present, all the political forces have come to the conclusion that the ruling party has no respect for its allies or members of the parliament. The only time when PML-N needs our help is when it itself is in crisis,” the Senator remarked.