Monday, September 10, 2007
Nawaz Deportation - Legal Consequences?
Nawaz Whisked to Jeddah Despardes.com; September 10, 2007
NEW YORK, SEP 10, 1:40 PM EST - Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived in the Saudi port city of Jeddah Monday hours after he was whisked from Islamabad airport in a chopper bound for Attock jail.
He was flown to Saudia, to complete remaining three years of his exile deal, said an official on condition of anonymity.
A diplomat based in Saudi Arabia said Saudi officials, whom he did not name, received Sharif at Jeddah's royal terminal, where the PIA plane carrying him landed. The diplomat gave the information on condition of anonymity, according to Agencies.
Sharif's convoy, sirens blaring, was seen racing away from the airport shortly after he landed. Nawaz Sharif maintains a house "Sharif Palace" and several businesses in Saudi Arabia.
He chose to be driven to his residence "Sharif Palace" instead of "Suroor Palace" - which was his official residence prior to moving to London.
The former prime minister who has been on exile since last seven years, was whisked to Jeddah in a special PIA plane which took off from Kamra air force base enroute to Quetta.
The government claims Sharif is yet to complete another three years of exile as per an agreement he reportedly signed with Saudi authorities.
The special PIA airplane which took off from Kamra Air Base enroute to Quetta was diverted to Jeddah, Sharif's family told several private TV channels.
The chopper which earlier flew from Islamabad with Sharif abroad was diverted to Kamra air base instead of Attock jail, reported AAJ TV.
While, the Bush administration said today the Sharif episode "was an internal matter" of Pakistan, the European Union urged Pakistan to respect its own supreme court ruling and allow former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to stay in the country.
Commenting on Sharif's forced departure to Saudia, Retired justice and Sharif's attorney Fakhruddin G Ibrahim told VOA News Urdu Service's Murtaza Solangi today that, "it was a highly illegal and foolish action.. I think they will repent it. I am surprised why the administration did it. Are they living in a Fairy land or in a Banana Republic?, hec questioned, adding "they will be really embarrassed. They have insulted and humiliated Supreme Court - the country's highest court."
Ibrahim said he planned to move the court Tuesday morning against government's action of forcibly bundling Sharif off to Jeddah, adding, "It seems the law of the jungle prevails in the country."
Voicing a similar opinion, former Supreme Court Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui told VOA Urdu Service's news anchor Solangi, "It is an open defiance of the Supreme Court order which allowed Sharif not only to come back to Pakistan but also to remain in the country....It is sad...no matter how much one feels sad, it is not enough. It is a matter of the judiciary's honor and authority."
Railway Minister Shaikh Rashid who is close to General Musharraf, said he had advised the government to let Sharif come back and remain in the country but the government decided the other way. He seemed upset according to Solangi.
Speaking on the forum, Defense Analyst Hasan Askari said, the incident would make Nawaz Sharif more popular in the long run, something, "the United States do not want because of his pro-Taliban leanings," Majid Nizami, The Nation's Chief Editor added.
According to Askari, the situation has become complex, uncertain, and the fear is that if such state of affairs continues, Musharraf's future and Pakistan politics may be decided in the streets, rather than through the ballot. (END)
Also see: Profile of Nawaz Sharif, Oxford Analytica (Subscription required)
at 4:39 PM