Lahore, June 18 : It was only former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto who had forced President Pervez Musharraf to doff off his uniform, and no one else should take credit for this move, said PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.
He said Benazir Bhutto had never accepted Musharraf as the constitutional president of the country and it was she who had actually forced him to hang his uniform. "Now if someone else tries to take the credit for this and our other achievements, it is not fair," the PPP leader said.
He said that even now his party didn't accept Musharraf as a constitutional president. He also said that in the past there were several occasions when he could have joined hands with Musharraf but he didn't do so.
"When I was in jail, and Nawaz Sharif was in jail, we had the option of joining Gen Musharraf. But we didn't. We chose to extend a hand of friendship towards Sharif," the Dawn quoted Zardari as telling a group of newspaper editors and senior journalists at the Governor's House.
"We have suffered immensely and languished behind bars for years under Gen Musharraf's rule. But we never supported him. Even when Gen Musharraf extended an offer to the PPP to form its government after the 2002 elections we told his emissary that he had to doff his uniform," Zardari said.
Zardari said he wanted reinstatement of the deposed judges, but was according priority to restoration of democracy. "But it will happen at a time of our choosing. Ms Bhutto did not lay down her life for the reinstatement of Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry as chief justice. She gave her life for democracy," he said in reply to a question.
He rebutted a suggestion that he was not agreeing with Sharif on the restoration of the judiciary and impeachment of the president because he wanted to reciprocate Musharraf's gesture of quashing all cases against him under the National Reconciliation Ordinance. "Let me tell you that thousands of people have benefited from the NRO, not just me alone. Further, the NRO was issued after the government failed to prove any charge against me and after Gen Musharraf's cabinet accepted that all the cases against us were politically motivated," he added.