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Political leaders give mixed reaction
By Our Staff Reporter

LAHORE, Dec 10: Leaders of different political parties in Lahore gave a mixed reaction to the departure of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family to Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Some questioned the justification of allowing convicted persons to settle abroad without recovering the looted national wealth from them. Others said that by doing so the government had helped the nation get rid of corrupt people.

Millat Party President Farooq Leghari termed the "provision of a chance to national culprits Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and their family members to flee the country" as highly regrettable. Benazir Bhutto, whom he described as "another criminal" was also allowed to escape abroad, he stated.

He said both the former prime ministers and their close relatives had been facing serious charges and had been convicted in various cases. It had also been proved that both the families had plundered national wealth which had taken the national economy to the brink of disaster and made the lives of the masses miserable.

He said not only the Millat Party but the entire nation would like to know about the circumstances which led to the "escape of Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and other culprits".

Every Pakistani, Mr Leghari said, had the right to know the details of the deal struck between the government and the Sharif family, and whether Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif had pleaded guilty and sought written pardon. And if this was true then this writing should be made public, he stressed.

# NASRULLAH:# Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan avoided a direct comment on the departure of Sharif family and said the question was irrelevant in view of the fact that Nawaz Sharif's party was still with the ARD and cooperating with it.

He said the ARD would not be affected by the departure of Nawaz Sharif because the party would remain a part of the alliance and would continue to support its programme.

Nawabzada Nasrullah said so far as the matter of Mr Sharif's departure abroad for seeking medical assistance was concerned, a common prisoner could also be admitted to a hospital and if his condition was serious, could be sent abroad for treatment.

The Nawabzada said both the nominated chairman and acting president of the PML were committed to their party and its cause and would therefore continue its policies with regard to the ARD.

"The PPP is cooperating with the ARD in the absence of its chairperson Benazir Bhutto and the same would be done by the existing leadership of the PML in the absence of Nawaz Sharif," he said.

He said that only time would tell about the impact of Nawaz Sharif's departure from the national political scenario. The question that under which circumstances he was forced to leave the country was related to Gen Pervez Musharraf. "So far as we are concerned we have never accepted the draconian Ehtesab ordinance and we consider it worse than TADA of India," he said.

# KASURI:# PML Vice-President Khurshid Kasuri said that after the departure of Mr Sharif as a result of an agreement, it was high time that the party took stock of the situation and decided about its future course of action.

He said the original 22-member central coordination committee should run the party and take collective decisions. He said although Javed Hashmi- new acting president - was a colleague, the unity of the party could be kept united only by empowering the committee.

FAISAL SALEH HAYAT:# PPP leader Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat said details of the agreement under which the Sharif family was sent into exile should be made public without delay.

The agreement, he said, had exposed the 13-month charade of the accountability process initiated by the military government and now everybody was speculating about its fate.

He pointed out that until recently the CE had been saying that accountability would be impartial and he would not like to strike any deal with anyone.

He said now the nation wanted to know why the government had taken a U-turn on the issue.

strike any deal with anyone.

He said now the nation wanted to know why the government had taken a U-turn on the issue.