Interior minister says law will take its course upon ex-PM’s return.
ISLAMABAD - Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti on Tuesday had to retract his remarks regarding the arrest of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif upon his return to the country following a backlash from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The caretaker interior minister said his statement about Nawaz had been politicized and taken out of context after the PML-N leaders reacted strongly to the comments passed by him during a TV show.
Bugti said that the Ministry of Interior had nothing to do with the arrest of Nawaz and courts would look into the matter. “The caretaker government has no political agenda,” he said, adding that it was welcoming that Nawaz was making a comeback into politics. He also said that law would take its course upon the return of the ex-premier to the country.
A day earlier, the interior minister in an interview to a private TV channel had said that the caretaker government would arrest Nawaz upon his return if he failed to procure bail from courts.
“As you know, the airport is a sensitive area and a mob would not be allowed there,” he said.
Former PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has announced that he would land in Lahore on October 21. He has been living in self-exile in London since November 2019.
The remarks of caretaker interior minister received serious criticism from the PML-N. In a statement on X, PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah termed Bugti’s comments as “exceeding his jurisdiction”.
“Before making such statements, look at the fate of former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad,” he said. “Where Nawaz Sharif has to go from the airport on October 21 will not be decided by the interior ministry,” Rana said, adding that it will be decided by the people.
The former interior minister said that Nawaz had already faced jails and police. “Don’t worry about Nawaz Sharif and focus on your work,” he advised Bugti.
Former information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb also said that it was neither the problem of the interior minister nor his decision as to where Nawaz Sharif would go from the airport. “This is Nawaz Sharif’s and the people’s decision,” she reiterated.
She said the interior minister should clear up the misunderstanding that he would remain in the present position “for life”.