Monday, November 19, 2007

Musharraf Contacted Nawaz Sharif before Visit to Riyadh,

Former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif told AFP Monday that President Pervez Musharraf contacted him three times recently, but said he would not meet the military ruler when he comes to Saudi Arabia.
Sharif spoke from exile in Jeddah a day before Musharraf was due to visit Saudi Arabia for talks with King Abdullah on his first foreign trip since declaring a state of emergency in Pakistan on November 3.

"Thrice he tried to contact me, approach me in the past two months, saying that he wants to come here in Jeddah. I regretted it, I said no, it will not serve any purpose," Sharif told AFP by telephone.

Pakistani newspapers reported that a meeting between the arch-rivals was on the cards when Musharraf arrives in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, but Sharif said there were no such plans.

"We have stuck to this position for the last eight years, why would we change our stance now? Unless he rolls back what he did on November 3, reverses that, there is no point in meeting him," Sharif added.

Musharraf ousted Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999 and sent him into exile in Saudi Arabia and London the following year.

Sharif flew back to Pakistan on September 10 vowing to oust Musharraf but was deported to Jeddah hours later.

He has since been in talks with another ex-prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, on forming an alliance against Musharraf to force him to roll back the state of emergency ahead of elections expected in early January.

But any meeting with Musharraf was out of the question, Sharif said.

"How can we meet a man who has taken all these illegal actions? He must free the judiciary, restore the constitution and quit as army chief," he added.(AFP)

Beirut, 19 Nov 07, 20:37

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