Former prime minister Shaukat Aziz has said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US were trying to keep Nawaz Sharif out of danger during the Musharraf era. Talking to Shahzeb Khanzada in the Geo News programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Key Sath”, he said both the countries tried to take Nawaz out of the country.
He said the sole purpose of US President Bill Clinton’s visit to Pakistan was to save Nawaz from hanging. He said he was not present during Clinton’s meetings in Pakistan. He said Clinton was driven by humanitarian objectives and wanted that no personal vendetta be carried out against Nawaz.
He said he wanted to call Rafiq Hariry as an investor and then President Pervez Musharraf allowed it. He said had his advice been called on the Nawaz issue, he would have said that no harm be done to anyone’s life.
He said he talked informally to Nawaz in the Kingdom where the latter was in exile. He said Musharraf agreed to a government set-up in which he might be the president and Benazir Bhutto the prime minister. He said Richard Boucher had told him that both Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto did not want Nawaz back in the country.
He said the attack on Benazir Bhutto on October 18 was shocking to them. He said Musharraf had not held consultations with him on the November 3 emergency. He said Musharraf imposed emergency as an army chief and he doesn’t remember what he said in the press conference on November 4.
He said it is incorrect that he was unhappy with Chaudhry Iftikhar as he does not believe in complaints against others. He said the government filed an appeal against a Supreme Court verdict in the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) case which still is pending, adding that the government should pursue this appeal so that a decision was made on it.
He said only the masses could decide if he was a dummy prime minister or not. He said his time as a prime minister was model for others to follow. He said they would know when a drone flew off the Shamsi Air Base but they did not know where it was headed and whom it would target. He said drones used to fly from many other areas too.
He said inclusion of Pakistan in the nuclear deal between India and the US would have been very fruitful, but the US said the time was not good for Pakistan for this deal. He said Musharraf had consultation with all important people after 9/11, adding that it was a right decision to stand by the US at that time.
He said the reforms process should continue for economic progress, adding that there was a record increase in foreign exchange reserves during his time as the prime minister. He said at that time Pakistan’s reforms agenda was a model for the developing world.