Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday joined the growing chorus of voices calling for the government to allow former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to return to Pakistan from the U.A.E., where he has been in self-exile since 2016.
“I have no personal enmity or animosity towards Pervez Musharraf,” the former prime minister wrote on Twitter. “I don’t want anyone else to suffer the traumas I have had to endure for my loved ones,” he said, referring to his own years spent in exile. “I pray to Allah for his [Musharraf’s] health. The government should facilitate him if he wishes to return,” he added.
Musharraf was appointed the Chief of Army Staff by Sharif in 1998 when he was prime minister. Their relationship was practically severed less than a year later when Musharraf staged a military coup, overthrowing Sharif’s regime.
Last week, after reports started circulating that Musharraf had died at hospital in the U.A.E., his family issued a statement clarifying that while he was still alive, and was not on a ventilator, his condition had deteriorated and he’d been hospitalized for the past three weeks. “[He is] going through a difficult stage where recovery is not possible and organs are malfunctioning. Pray for ease in his daily living,” they added.
The former dictator is suffering from amyloidosis, a rare condition caused by a build-up of abnormal protein amyloid in organs and tissues throughout the body. The progressive disease eventually makes it difficult for organs and tissues to work properly.
Sharif’s statement comes amidst rising calls for allowing Musharraf to return, including from the military. A few hours prior to the PMLN leader issuing his statement, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar told a private broadcaster that it was up to Musharraf’s family and doctors to decide whether he should return to Pakistan. “The institution and its leadership have the stance that he should come back,” he added.
Last week, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif had similarly voiced support for allowing the former military ruler to return to Pakistan. In a posting on Twitter, he said that the present situation did not merit any further obstacles to the “humanitarian endeavor” of Musharraf’s return. “May Allah give him health and grant him the dignity to live out this part of life,” he said.