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Commonwealth bids to see ousted Pakistan PM

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    Commonwealth bids to see ousted Pakistan PM

    ISLAMABAD, Oct 26 - Commonwealth ministers have asked Pakistan's military government for access to detained ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has not been seen in public since he was deposed in a coup two weeks ago, diplomats said on Tuesday.

    They said a team of Commonwealth officials wrote to the army-backed government led by General Pervez Musharraf seeking to talk to Sharif when it arrives in Islamabad later this week to scrutinise its democratic credentials.

    If approved it would be the first time anyone had seen Sharif since he was detained and held in "protective custody" pending an investigation of army appointments that precipitated the October 12 coup and a probe of his alleged corruption.

    The response of the army-backed government was not immediately known. An unnamed Foreign Ministry official was quoted in The News newspaper as saying the government had no objection to the visiting team seeing "any public figure."

    He told the newspaper that the government had not received anything "in black and white" from the Commonwealth, which suspended Pakistan's participation in a forthcoming summit in South Africa in response to the ending of democratic rule.

    The diplomats said a letter from the Commonwealth was sent to General Pervez Musharraf, chief executive and de facto army ruler, seeking permission to see Sharif, reported to be detained either in Lahore or close to Islamabad.

    Musharraf refused to be drawn in remarks published on Tuesday about the fate of Sharif, who is reported to be under investigation for corruption and tax evasion.

    Interviewed by London-based Arabic dailies in Saudi Arabia, where he is currently on his first official visit since seizing power, he was non-committal.

    "You will see later. Let time decide and Sharif himself will see what we will do". he told the Asharq al-Awsat daily.

    "Time will tell," he told al-Hayat.

    Sharif's brother, Shahbaz, the powerful ex-chief minister of Punjab province, was also detained, together with other key members of Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML).

    Most other serving government ministers have been freed from virtual house arrest but have adopted a low profile since the takeover, which has been broadly welcomed by Pakistan's main opposition parties and even some members of the PML.

    A team led by Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy is expected in Pakistan this week for talks with senior figures in the new leadership, including Musharraf.

    It will be the first high-ranking foreign team to visit Pakistan since the takeover and will carry the concern of Britain and other countries about Pakistan's return to rule by the army, which has been in power for half its 52-year life.

    Pakistan's donors have not called for the reinstatement of Sharif, whose chaotic 32-month second spell in power was marked by crisis after crisis.

    But they have voiced concern about the failure of Musharraf to set a target date for a return to democratic rule. He has said only that the military will stay until the economy is turned around and is no longer needed.

    Should the military government allow these so called defenders of democracy to see Nawaz?

    Maybe they will get his photograph.

    Military regime should seize all assets, bank accounts whatever of sharief, but should release him, otherwise there is a good chance of him becoming a hero and if he is dead, a martyr.


      Yeah, corrupts and inepts meeting another corrupt and inept. Nice company. LOL

      The rule of law must prevail.

      ZZ, the NSC team combined has a little more brain than you. I think you should agree with that. LOL

      Fata Morgana


        arey bhai, aisa koi combined dimaag nahin hain. jahan tak nawaz ka sawal hain, current emperor will decide everything and he will take his personal safety in account.

        OK folks, bye.. i will be in India for a month, may access intermittently.


          See ya later alligator