ISLAMABAD: The president of Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid), Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, yesterday blamed former Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz for his party’s electoral defeat. Talking to reporters at the party headquarters here yesterday, Shujaat said: “It was Shaukat Aziz who initiated privatization of Pakistan Steel Mills of Karachi that led to the government’s confrontation with deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. He sent a baseless reference to the president and prevailed upon him to sack the chief justice, which led to countrywide protests by the legal community.”
Shujaat also accused Shaukat Aziz of corruption and demanded action against the former premier. “If the PPP and PML (N) leadership could be made accountable why spare Shaukat Aziz?” the leader of the former ruling party said, referring to corruption cases against Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League chief Nawaz Sharif. He said Aziz was a nonpolitical person and a nonentity. “He was imposed on the country as prime minister. He plundered huge national wealth and is now enjoying life in London.”
Shujaat’s candid comments were interpreted as an indirect criticism of President Pervez Musharraf, who brought Aziz from abroad to head the Finance Ministry. He was later appointed prime minister. Meanwhile, Attorney General Malik Qayyum and the director general of Intelligence Bureau, retired Brig. Ijaz Shah, on Thursday sent in their resignations to Musharraf in a rapidly changing political scenario.
And the Awami National Party, which emerged as the single largest party in the North West Frontier Province after the election, yesterday nominated Haider Hoti Khan as the man who will head the government in the turbulent province. Awami National Party President Asfandyar Wali Khan has decided to join a PPP-led coalition government at the center. His main demand of renaming NWFP as Pakhtoonkhwa was accepted by the leaders of two leading coalition partners – the PPP and PML (N).
In a separate development, Election Commission Secretary Kanwar Dilshad on Thursday said provincial high courts had stayed the publication of general election results for 35 constituencies. “The results of these constituencies will not be announced till withdrawal of the stay orders,” he said while talking to Geo News.
He also said that the government notification of general election results would be issued after March 2. Since the Feb. 18 election, pressure has mounted on Musharraf. His opponents are now wooing Islamist politicians to bolster their drive to curb his power.”We believe that the problems are so big that as far as possible we should take along all political forces,” Farhatullah Babar, the spokesman of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto’s PPP, sais.