Nawaz ‘disappointed’ Saudis by violating promise of abstaining from politics: WikiLeaks

Friday, December 3, 2010

ISLAMABAD - During his exile, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had promised the Saudis not to engage in any political activity, but he violated his commitment much to their disappointment, a diplomatic cable unveiled by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks has revealed.

The Saudi Arabian Ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir, asserted that the “Saudi government (SAG) had offered Sharif a pledge of protection and asylum in the Kingdom after his ouster by Musharraf in return for a promise that he would refrain from political activity for ten years,” revealed the leaked cable.

He added that Sharif had begun to attempt to test the limits of this promise five or six years in his exile. “Sharif broke his promise by conducting political activity while in the Kingdom,” the cable quoted the Saudi Ambassador, as saying.

“When the SAG had permitted Sharif to travel to London, he first promised the Saudis not to engage in political activity or return to Pakistan, but he then flew to Pakistan from London in a direct violation of his commitment,” Al-Jubeir said, according to the document, which was classified as ’secret’.

He expressed considerable “disappointment” in Sharif’s broken pledges to the SAG, and “stated very clearly that the SAG has worked directly with Musharraf to have Sharif arrested on his return to Pakistan and immediately deported to the Kingdom.”

“We told Musharraf that we would receive him back and then keep him here as an ‘honored guest’,” the cable quoted him as saying.

He also revealed that the SAG’s point man in restraining Sharif was Prince Muqrin, who had been allowed to reveal the terms of Sharif’s asylum agreement.

“Al-Jubeir made it very clear that the SAG would seek to control Sharif’s movements in he future, even suggesting that he would be kept in a state only a little less severe than house arrest,” the cable disclosed.

Talking about stability in Pakistan, the Ambassador said that it was an essential strategic matter for the SAG.

“Since Pakistan possesses both nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, from the Saudi point of view, the policy choice to be made there boils down to a drastic choice: “We can either support Musharraf and stability, or we can allow bin Laden to get the bomb,” the cable quoted him, as telling Charge d’Affaires Michael Gfoeller.(ANI)

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