Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday called former military dictator Pervez Musharraf a “big coward” and asked the country’s judiciary to bring him back from self-exile and make him accountable for his crimes. Musharraf is facing treason charges in Pakistan for imposing emergency rule in November 2007, arresting judges and limiting their powers. He could face the death penalty, if convicted.
Musharraf, 75, who came to power in a bloodless coup in 1999, has been living in Dubai since last year when he was allowed to leave Pakistan on the pretext of medical treatment. Sharif, 68, called Musharraf a “big coward” and said he should be brought to justice. “Musharraf is a big coward who is hiding abroad. If any courage is left in him he should return and face cases against him,” Sharif said, adding Musharraf had abrogated the Constitution and he must be punished for that.
“We will soon bring this traitor to justice,” Sharif pledged and demanded the judiciary to bring Musharraf back and make him accountable for his sins. “This coward man is making excuses of his bad health to extend his stay abroad. Time is not far away to bring such traitors to justice,” Sharif said.
Musharraf had toppled Sharif’s government in 1999. He remained in power till 2008. Sharif who returned to power in 2013 instituted a treason case against Musharraf who left the country in 2016 when the apex court allowed him to travel abroad on medical grounds.
Sharif’s comments came a day after Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto accused Musharraf of killing his mother Benazir Bhutto. Bilawal said his mother paid the price for fighting against the dictatorship and Musharraf got her killed. “Pervez Musharraf directly threatened my mother that the guarantee of her security upon her return to Pakistan depended on Bhutto’s cooperation with the government. I personally hold Pervez Musharraf responsible for the assassination of my mother,” he said.
Musharraf, however, dismissed Bilawal’s claim, saying some “rouge” elements in the establishment might have been involved in her killing. Benazir, the Pakistan Peoples Party chief and a two-time prime minister, was killed along with more than 20 people in a gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh during an election campaign rally on December 27, 2007. She was 54.