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Sharif-Musharraf battle reaches court

The former Pak PM's lawyers file a plea in SC, challenging his deportation to S Arabia, reports Kamal Siddiqi.

world Updated: Sep 12, 2007 02:33 IST
Kamal Siddiqi and Agencies

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s lawyers filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging his deportation to Saudi Arabia, and setting up another confrontation between President Pervez Musharraf and the judiciary.



<b1>The president, however, has denied a role in the deportation. His spokesman Maj-Gen (retired) Rashi Qureshi told

The News

, “Put this question to the government. The presidency has nothing to do with it.”



A suicide bomber added to the government’s troubles, killing 18 people in northwestern Pakistan.



A strike called on Tuesday by the All Parties Democratic Movement, an amalgam of right-wing and centrist political parties, to protest the deportation of Sharif was, by and large, ineffective.



In Islamabad, the petition was filed in the SC by Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader Khwaja Asif and Hamza Shahbaz, son of Nawaz’s younger brother Shahbaz Sharif. “We will fight this battle in the court of law,” Hamza Shahbaz said. “We are confident that we will win.”



Sharif returned to Pakistan on Monday after seven years in exile only to be put on a flight — by deception, his family alleged — and sent to Jeddah. The deportation was widely condemned in Pakistan. Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan said, “If you think that by sending Sharif to Saudi Arabia you can save your skin, you better stop fooling yourself.” But former PM Benazir Bhutto showed no sympathy. In an interview to

CNN-IBN

, she attacked Sharif saying he had sought the help of the Saudis and the Lebanese to get out of jail — in 2000.