The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Blame it on Pervez ‘ego’

Islamabad, Sept. 10 (PTI): Former Premier Nawaz Sharif, who was deported shortly after his return to Pakistan, today said President Pervez Musharraf’s “ego and stubborness” was preventing him from staying in his own country.

“It is only Musharraf’s ego and stubborness that is standing in my way,” Sharif told ARY TV at the Islamabad airport lounge. Sharif was waiting at the lounge after he arrived from London, just before being deported to Jeddah. The 57-year-old Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader regretted that he and his supporters, who had accompanied him from London, were not allowed to make any phone calls from the airport lounge.

“This shows the sorry state of affairs in the country. Emigration should be allowed. I should get my vehicle and be allowed to start my journey,” he said. Sharif had planned to hit the road to reach Lahore after reaching Islamabad. Sharif said telephones were not working and that they were all jammed.

“Telephones in the plane were jammed. Phones in the lounge were jammed,” he said.

“The government as I told you earlier, doesn’t believe in any ethics,morality or law. I think the government only believes in (these) things. We were right here. You know what happened in the plane.

“We kept sitting in the plane for more than an hour and then things have never happened like that,” Sharif said.

“This is a very painful situation. Obviously there should be emigration and our people should have been here. There should have been vehicles so that we could proceed towards Lahore.There are no vehicles here and no people.

“Everywhere the government has put in barricades ,big trailers have been put on the bridges,” he said. Asked whether there were any pending cases against him, Sharif said he was not aware about it.

“I don’t know anything. No one has served me with an arrest warrant. No one has told me where will I be taken to. They treated me like this soon after my arrival,” he said.

“If my phone would have been working, I would have called my party leadership. I don’t know even where they are. Yesterday, it was in news that all leaders have been arrested. Qazi Hussain, Javed Hashmi — arrested. But we are sitting here, you also sit here.As the situation changes, you will get to know,” Sharif told the TV reporter.

Major clampdown

Authorities had imposed a major clampdown before Sharif flew in from London, detaining many leaders, spokesmen and activists of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party, stopping supporters from travelling to the capital and sealing off Islamabad airport.

All roads leading to the airport were sealed off.

Sharif’s party was unable to mobilise mass protests but small groups of supporters clashed with police as they tried to make their way past police barricades to get to the airport to greet their leader.

Five people were hurt in an exchange of fire at Attock Bridge on the outskirts of Rawalpindi. However, protesters later dispersed.

Sharif’s supporters said they would fight the government in the courts and politically.

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