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October 28, 1999
Courts will decide Sharief's fate: Musharraf
Ashok Tuteja in Dubai
The fate of deposed Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharief will be decided by judicial authorities, according to Pakistan's new military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.
''I am not the one to decide. There were huge embezzlements, a waste in the state's funds and misuse of power over security issues and the judicial authorities alone will decide his fate,'' General Musharraf was quoted as saying in the Gulf today.
He was on a day-long visit to the United Arab Emirates after his two-day tour of Saudi Arabia.
The remarks of the general, who seized power on October 12, came amid reports from Islamabad that Sharief spoke to his family members yesterday for the first time since his government was overthrown.
General Musharraf said the charges were yet to be determined but investigations were under way. ''I will not comment on the punishment but I say the judiciary has the authority to decide on the nature of punishment.''
General Musharraf has said the world was gradually beginning to understand the situation in Pakistan. He said he had briefed the leadership in Saudi Arabia and the UAE on the circumstances under which the Nawaz Sharief government was overthrown.
He said he would ask overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country of their origin after he had put the economy back on the rails. "If overseas Chinese can build China, overseas Pakistanis can also build Pakistan," he said.
General Musharraf said Pakistan was visibly a poor country because it had not realised its full potential. The country had a fertile land, water resources, potential for generating power, gas, coal and oil.
"Pakistan is like a rich man living like a poor man, having kept all its fixed deposits in banks... We will take out these deposits and invest in the country," he said.
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