ISLAMABAD: PML (N) Chief Nawaz Sharif’s decision to boycott the upcoming general election soon after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on Thursday and then taking U-turn on his decision that his party would decide about contesting the elections after consultations with the PPP has been linked with Nawaz’s contacts with US administration. Political commentators said that the sudden change in Nawaz Sharif’s decision regarding boycott of the election or otherwise was a direct result of his increasing contacts with Washington.
After announcing boycott of the upcoming polls soon after Bhutto’s assassination on Thursday, New York Times reported that official of the US Embassy in Pakistan held meeting with Nawaz Sharif on the same day in a bid to renew the Washington contacts with the PML (N) Chief after the sudden death of Benazir Bhutto. The paper while disclosing the US contacts with Nawaz Sharif said that according to Windy Chamberlain of Booking Institute and political expert on Pakistan Affairs Ms Shaffer that Bush Administration has now eyed on Sharif, as the power sharing formula between Musharraf and PPP could not be materialized after the Bhutto’s assassination.
According to a senior official in Bush Administration, President Bush was so much confident that PPP will make an alliance with PLM (Q) after winning the elections but it could not be possible now after Bhutto’s sudden death. This compelled the US to increase contacts with the PML (N). Political commentators said that it was due to these increased contacts between Nawaz Sharif and Washington that the former said Saturday in a statement before leaving for Naodero that the PML (N) would decide about polls’ boycott after consultation with the PPP.
When the PML (N) Secretary Information Ahsan Iqbal was contacted to comment on the Nawaz’s meeting with US official, he said he was not aware of such meeting. He said that Nawaz Sharif announced to boycott the polls to express solidarity with the PPP. If the PPP itself participating in the elections then why should the PML (N) boycott the elections, he added. Nawaz, who return to Pakistan on US and Saudi Arab pressure, endorsed the APDM decision of boycotting the general election but later change its stance and announced to participate in the polls after the PPP’s decision that it would not boycott the polls and would contest election under protest. This U turn of the PML (N) Chief resulted in division of APDM and was also a sever blow to the campaign of lawyers and civil society against Musharraf government.-SANA