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Thursday, October 14, 1999 Published at 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK


World: South Asia

Sharif's son voices safety fears

Hasan Sharif: Attempted to call home "a hundred times"

The son of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said he is extremely worried about his father following the military coup on Tuesday.

Pakistan in crisis
Hasan Sharif, a student in London, told the BBC's Newsnight programme that he had no idea where his father was and how he was being treated.

But while his attempts to get through to Pakistan by phone had failed, he said that he and his family had been able to piece together the dramatic events which led to the prime minister being placed under house arrest.

Mr Sharif said relatives had told him that his father had been detained as he was about to leave for Pakistani state television to address the nation.

Mr Sharif's official residence in Islamabad was surrounded on Tuesday when the military took over key installations.
Hasan Sharif: "I want to speak to my father directly"
"I believe my father was about to leave to address the nation.

"At that moment he was placed under house arrest, as my relatives and family have told me.

"The army generals and the corps commanders asked for his resignation and that he should take back all the orders that were carried out to sack the army chief of staff [General Pervez Musharraf].

"Obviously, he rejected both the idea of resignation and taking back his orders.

"He was then taken to some form of guest house near to Islamabad airport and, since then, I have had no idea to where my father is."


[ image: Whereabouts unknown: The deposed PM]
Whereabouts unknown: The deposed PM
Mr Sharif said that since then he had attempted to contact relatives in the family near Lahore and in Islamabad "a hundred times" but had failed to make contact as communications were dead.

Mr Sharif said that all he wanted to do was speak to his father personally.

"I don't want any third person to convey this message to me that your father is alright," he said.

"He is my father, and I want to speak to him directly."

In Islamabad, military spokesman Brigadier Rashid Qureshi told Newsnight that Mr Sharif was safe and well.

"He is in what we call preventative detention.

"He's in perfect health and absolutely safe," he said.



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