Bhutto’s Rival Blames Death on Government

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A former prime minister of Pakistan came and laid a wreath Saturday on the grave of his former political rival.

But just before he did it, Nawaz Sharif blamed the military government of Pervez Musharraf for pulling Pakistan into the “grave crisis” that resulted in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. His words were terse, his eyes dry.

“His policies are responsible,” Mr. Sharif said in an interview on a specially chartered propeller plane that took him to Ms. Bhutto’s ancestral village. “Whether he is responsible or not, an independent commission will have to investigate. No commission can be independent if Musharraf is in charge of this government.”

Mr. Sharif’s antipathy to Mr. Musharraf runs deep. The former general ousted Mr. Sharif in a 1999 coup, which Mr. Sharif tried to prevent by blocking the landing of Mr. Musharraf’s plane in Karachi. Mr. Sharif was tried, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for that, though the sentence was later modified to exile in Saudi Arabia, from which he returned last month.

On Saturday, Mr. Sharif flew to an airstrip in Mohenjo-Daro, where South Asian civilization was born some 5,000 years ago, and from there to the ancestral village of Ms. Bhutto, Naudero, where senior leaders of both their parties met briefly to give their sympathies and discuss the way forward. Mr. Sharif has already said his party would boycott the polls, scheduled for Jan. 8.

He said on his way to Naudero that he hoped Ms. Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party would join the boycott. “With Musharraf, Pakistan doesn’t have a future,” he said in the interview.

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Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

Posted December 29, 2007 at 12:41 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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