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    Sharif backers vow no street protests when verdict comes

    Sharif backers vow no street protests when
    verdict comes

    April 5, 2000
    Web posted at: 9:52 PM HKT (1352 GMT)

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Despite calls by the wife of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif to demonstrate if her husband is found guilty in a hijacking trial, supporters said Wednesday they won't take to the streets.

    A verdict is expected Thursday by
    Judge Rehmetullah Hussein Jaffri. Sharif
    could be sentenced to death if found guilty

    Sharif, his younger brother Shahbaz and five other men are charged with hijacking, terrorism, attempted murder and kidnapping. All seven have pleaded innocent.

    "We will not ask our party workers to break the law or stage violent protests should (Sharif) be convicted by the special court," said Raja Zafarul Haq, a spokesman for the ousted premier's Pakistan Muslim League. The party would,however, challenge a conviction in court, he said.

    Sharif's wife, Khulsoom Sharif, has asked her husband's supporters to demonstrate if he is found guilty.

    "One can understand her anxiety, but the party has no plans to confront the army
    and we are sure that Mrs. Nawaz Sharif will abide by the party decision," Haq said.

    Sharif and his six associates are accused of endangering the life of army chief
    Gen. Pervez Musharraf by refusing to give his airliner permission to land in the
    southern city of Karachi. The standoff occurred during an Oct. 12 coup in which the military seized power in Pakistan after Sharif dismissed Musharraf.

    The plane eventually landed, but with barely seven minutes of fuel remaining.
    "He's an innocent person. God willing he will be a free man tomorrow," Khulsoom Sharif told The Associated Press in an interview in southern Karachi before visiting her husband in jail. "I have full faith in God."

    During a five-hour visit to Pakistan on March 25 U.S. President Bill Clinton asked military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to spare Sharif's life. Musharraf said the decision was with the courts.

    Haq said a death sentence would hurt Pakistan's image abroad.
    "There is a perception abroad that the courts are not free and fair here," he said.
    "A death sentence will enforce this perception."
    Sharif would not be the first Pakistani prime minister to face a death sentence.

    In 1979 Pakistan hanged Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose government
    was toppled by the army two years earlier. Bhutto was convicted of plotting to kill a political enemy. Despite international pleas, the military dictator of the day,
    Gen. Zia-ul Haq, ordered his execution.

    "We are keeping our fingers crossed," said Sheikh Rashid, a former minister in
    Sharif's Cabinet. "We will decide our course of action once the verdict is announced."
    Sharif's lawyers have seven days to file an appeal with the Sindh High Court. A final appeal can be made before the Supreme Court, and Pakistan's president can commute a death sentence.

    Rashid said a prison term could work in Sharif's favor, building his popularity.
    "Going to prison is not bad for politicians," he said. "We only want that he is not
    given a death sentence."

    In Sharif's hometown of Lahore, the verdict dominated conversations.

    "Nawaz Sharif has committed many mistakes, but he should not be hanged," said Amjad Butt, 39, a shopkeeper in Gawalmandi, a poor neighborhood from where Sharif won five consecutive elections.
    Mohammed Asghar, 52, who sells juice at a roadside stand in Sharif's constituency said the former prime minister seldom visited constituents.

    "Even during worst crises, he would come to Lahore to play cricket and relax at his farm. Perhaps that was his mistake. But we don't want to see a rope around his neck," he said.

    Mufti Kafil, another resident of the area, advocated a life sentence.
    "He should be imprisoned for life so that he spends his remaining days pondering over his mistakes," said Kafil. "That would be the true justice for him."

    dil..dilseee..dil to akhir dil hai na

    Where are your own comments? Youre not allowed to post articles without your own comments or Qs.


      sabah sahiba adab ..this is news to me,but no problem...comment jo bhee decisison ho,pakistan ke huq ma ho.....allah hafiz

      dil..dilseee...dil to akhir dil hai na