Richard Boucher tells Nawaz to lay off Pervez Musharraf

Lahore, July 2: PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif should avoid pressing for removal of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, and the latter should be given an opportunity to decide about quitting his office as “his stay in power had become irrelevant”, said US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Richard Boucher.

On an official visit to Islamabad, Boucher said that the US was willing to befriend the people of Pakistan rather than a single person only (read Musharraf).

According to sources, the purpose of the meeting between the two was to bring flexibility in Nawaz’s stance regarding the presidential office.

But, reiterating his stand, Nawaz told Boucher that Musharraf was a hindrance in the way of democracy and that his impeachment was therefore essential. He said all steps taken by Musharraf were “unconstitutional”, the Daily Times quoted the sources as saying. 

Senior PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that Nawaz urged the US diplomat not to support the President, as “democracy could not be strengthened with him in office”, added the paper. 

On the occasion, Nawaz told Boucher that he had kept the reinstatement of the sacked judges and Musharraf’s impeachment at the top of his party’s agenda. Boucher agreed that the sooner the issue of restoration of the sacked judges was resolved, the better it would be for Pakistan. 

Sources privy to the meeting quoted Boucher as saying that the US wanted to start a new era of development in Pakistan, and that the country’s prosperity and development could only be made possible after the eradication of terrorism, adding that the US was ready to provide all possible assistance to Pakistan in this regard.

The visiting US official also met Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and said that the US and Pakistan were partners in fighting terrorism. (ANI)