Musharraf says Zardari will never restore Iftikhar

By Hamid Mir

ISLAMABAD: Former president Pervez Musharraf told visiting friends on Tuesday that PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari would never restore deposed chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry because if he was restored he would not spare Zardari.
According to one of the visitors, Musharraf told him: “You know some PML-Q leaders suggested to me to cancel the National Reconciliation Ordinance and restore the deposed judges before tendering resignation as they were sure that deposed chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry will become a big problem for Zardari.”

“I decided not to do that. I know Zardari will not restore Justice Iftikhar and Nawaz Sharif will fight him on this issue. Even if Iftikhar is restored he will not spare Zardari. Let the enemies fight with each other.”

August 19 was a unique day in the life of Musharraf. It was his first day without power after nine years. The day started with a breakfast with his family. He was relaxed because there was no hurry of going to office on time. He doesn’t have any office after 44 years but he has not given up. He was pretty sure that he would get one soon.

He still hopes that a situation will be created in the coming weeks when he will get a chance to play a political role. He wants to prove that he can play a role even without uniform.

His day started with courtesy calls from some old friends. He sought the views of everyone about his resignation, future of Pakistan after his departure from the office and especially about the next president of Pakistan. Most of his friends congratulated him on his “safe exit”.

One friend who retired from the Navy long ago reminded him that the first military president Gen Ayub Khan was forced to resign by the then-Army chief Gen Yahya Khan in 1969, Yahya was forced to quit by Gen Gul Hassan in 1971, the third military President Gen Zia was killed in a plane accident in 1988 but Musharraf was the only one who was given a guard of honour by the Army after his departure from the presidency.

Musharraf was happy on his “safe exit” but he shared his disappointment about some “ungrateful” people who left him in the last days of his presidency. One of them was the sitting Chief Justice, Abdul Hameed Dogar. He became chief justice on Nov 3, 2007 after the imposition of emergency by Musharraf. Dogar also validated the extra-constitutional acts of Musharraf after Nov 3. Musharraf contacted Dogar through a very prominent lawyer in the first week of August 2008. Musharraf wanted a stay order from the Supreme Court against the impeachment motion announced by the ruling coalition to oust him. Dogar regretted and disappointed Musharraf.

One friend suggested to Musharraf not to stay in Pakistan for a while. He mentioned a suicide bombing in Dera Ismail Khan. A concerned friend told Musharraf that extremists would try to harm him in Pakistan and he must take extraordinary precautionary measures.

Musharraf received a lot of telephone calls from his relatives and fans mostly from Europe and America. They expressed their solidarity with the former president and said Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari would start fighting with each other and Musharraf should stay in Pakistan just to watch the “Tamasha”.

One friend of Musharraf informed him that Zardari wanted to replace him with a woman as the new president of Pakistan. Musharraf laughed on this information and claimed “as long as Maulana Fazlur Rehman is part of the ruling coalition, no woman can become president of Pakistan.”

Musharraf watched different TV channels in the afternoon which were showing celebrations by the public on his departure. Musharraf smilingly commented “all these TV wallahs will be taught great lessons by Zardari and Nawaz Sharif soon,” saying in Urdu: “Inko Nani Yaad Aa Jaey Gi”.

Musharraf enjoyed songs by Rafi in the evening. He listened to his favourite song “Chal Urr Jaa Rey Panchi Key Aab Yeh Dais Hoa Begana”. After enjoying music he called a friend again in the evening and told him “I am here, I will not run away I am not a ‘Panchi’ who will fly away from Pakistan.”

Source: The news, 20/8/2008

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