11 May, 2021

'Sharif Led Us Up The Garden Path'

In an exclusive interview with Nighat Azeem, Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto—who shuttles between her homes in London and Dubai—spoke about Nawaz Sharif's exile, its impact on the country's politics and Kashmir. Excerpts

'Sharif Led Us Up The Garden Path'

Do you feel let down by Nawaz Sharif? The Pakistan People’s Party (ppp), after all, had only last week announced the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ard), with Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (pml) as a part of it.

He led us up the garden path, conveying the impression that he was standing up to the army when all the while he was brokering a back-room deal with them. Today, we look like fools. Nawaz used the ppp to get what he wanted—his freedom. His alliance with us was a critical factor in leading the military to believe he was more powerful than he really was. It gave him enormous street value.

Will the pml be able to live this down?

It’s a hugely unpopular deal. People sense the law has been flouted, that the judiciary was betrayed, that Nawaz got away because he was rich. There is anger in the smaller provinces that he got away because he was from Punjab. Nawaz has lost out and the country has lost out. There were people in the establishment who wanted both of us out. They’ve got him out of their hair, but even though...
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