* By-elections delay sought to accommodate Nawaz, not due to security concerns
JEDDAH: The government has decided not to take any action against former president Pervez Musharraf and has forwarded a clear message in this regard to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif, sources told the Online news agency on Sunday.
Quoting sources in the government, it claimed Nawaz had decided against returning to Pakistan due to this decision and because the deal struck between Nawaz and Musharraf, under the guarantee of Saudi Arabia, prevented the PML-N chief from contesting elections.
Quoting Saudi sources, it claimed that in a meeting with Saudi King Shah Abdullah during Ramzan, Nawaz was advised to honour his agreement with Musharraf if he wanted to maintain his friendship with the king, as Saudi Arabia had been a guarantor of the deal. Nawaz was also told that Musharraf had agreed to allow him and his family to leave Pakistan on the request of the Saudi government.
Under the agreement, sources said neither Nawaz nor Shahbaz Sharif could contest elections or participate in the country’s politics. They said the Saudi king had told Nawaz that he had accepted Shahbaz’s participation in the electoral process, as he was not central to the agreement. However, he added, Nawaz was honour-bound to abide by the agreement due to its focus on him.
Delays: Sources told Online President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had been informed of the situation. They claimed the Punjab government had sought the postponement of the by-elections to maintain the friendship between Nawaz and the Saudi king – not because of security concerns. However, Daily Times was unable to confirm these claims from PML-N sources.
Nawaz and his family reportedly signed the agreement in December 2000 and submitted a written apology to then president Rafique Tarar. The agreement, which was presented before the Supreme Court during proceedings into Nawaz’s eligibility case, bars both Nawaz and Shahbaz from contesting elections until December 2010. online (Daily Times)