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Text of Nawaz interview with Geo News-PART II

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ISLAMABAD: Following is the transcript of the second part of Nawaz Sharif interview with Geo News.

Hamid Mir (HM): The impression one gathers from what you have said is that “the worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship.” Still there are many critics in Pakistan who are all praise for dictatorship but democracy is not visible even in their own political party. An objection is being raised about your party that Punjab chief minister and leader of the opposition in the NA met the army chief without seeking permission from you or the party, and that no action has been taken against them.

Nawaz Sharif (NS): I was abroad those days. They tried to contact me on telephone however I was not available. When a contact with me was made, the meeting had already taken place.

Sohail Warriach (SW): They could have asked the party.

NS: But I expressed my reservations on the meeting publicly…. But the point is that it is not something unusual for a chief minister to meet the chief of army staff. Security situation in the country is so volatile that views can be exchanged on that. I have been meeting the prime minister with respect to security situation then an interaction of a chief minister with the army chief is not unusual. Nevertheless I had said that the impression of a clandestine meeting should not have been given. Had the meeting been held openly, there would have been no justification in criticizing it.

HM: Some people wrote and rumours were on the rife that the army chief wanted extension in his term of office, whereas he himself had not talked about it. You and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto each came to power twice but neither she nor you could complete even three years in office although the term of office in each case was five years. What do you think? Should the army chief get extension after his term of three years?

NS: I have read about this only in newspapers. Perhaps a known columnist has also touched the matter in his column. I am not sure whether Kayani Sahib also thinks in the same manner. He may not have been even aware of the fact that rumours are in the air about his extension. I think those who write about such matters must think of its implications.

HM: What is the principled stand?

NS: I don’t subscribe to that. There is a fixed term of the office, i.e. three years. If one can call it a day after completing the three-year term with dignity and honour, I think the way should be followed. This is to me is the principled stand.

SW: Great politicians always have a vision of the future. You are not in favour of mid-term elections. You neither are satisfied with the system nor with the performance nowadays. How do you see the future?

NS: This is what I have been debating in my mind these days.

HM: Is it the visionary world (of thought and dreams)?

NS: Not is in dreams but in my thoughts. I debate these things in my mind, in my heart and with my party. The point that bothers us is that the present system is not that we desired. This is the system of Musharraf, which is in vogue while he has left it. If there has been no change in the system, what is the fun of seeking votes from the people. When we talk of change, there is no practical action on the other side. Then you vouch for me that I very openly declare that I would not be part of any conspiracy. Yes, we would not be part of any conspiracy. But then my heart asks me: what are they doing for whom you are making such declarations. They are doing nothing at all to put the system back on the rails.

SW: So what result do you draw?

NS: The same as you have drawn. Hark, I have not so far supported mid-term elections and we do not want to support it anyway.

To be concluded

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