Sharif is a ‘maulvi’, says Zardari

KARACHI - President Asif Ali Zardari has lambasted the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) chief, Nawaz Sharif, labelling him as ‘Maulvi’ Nawaz for the latter’s recent outbursts against his government and the army generals.

By Rehan Siddiqui

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Published: Thu 23 Jun 2011, 11:58 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:41 PM

He was addressing a ceremony late on Tuesday night in Naudero, Sindh, marking the 58th birth anniversary of assassinated leader of Pakistan People’s Party Benzair Bhutto.

Directing his onslaught against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Zardari said that mindset of ‘Maulvi’ Nawaz has been defeated.

“Nawaz is trying to pit the government against military, practicising politics of Zia, conducting trial of Benazir’s grave but if any change comes he (Nawaz) will flee the country leaving him (Zardari) to be maryred,” said the president amid cheers and slogans.

Zardari said he saw no difference in the approach of Nawaz and Taleban leader Mullah Umar and advised the PML-N leader to learn politics from him (Zardari), meet him in private or accept him as his teacher and stop negative propaganda against the government.

The president urged all the parties to shun differences and join hands to streghthen democracy and work to prevent conflict of institutions. He said the armed forces were performing admirably well under difficult conditions.

“Institutions should not be made to fight individuals because it weakens democracy,” said the president while outlining his government’s major achievements and defending his party’s record in office.

Zardari claimed that he had been offered several options by his predecessor, Pervez Musharraf, but that his party had rejected those and chose to ally itself with its erstwhile political rival, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), in order to strengthen democratic institutions.

“We handed over Punjab to the PML-N in a silver platter,” claimed the president, who has made visible moves in recent months to ensure that the Sharif brothers, who lead Punjab’s ruling party, do not feel threatened about their administration in the province.

Yet the president seemed to grow weary of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif’s accusations against him and the government and lashed out at his political rivals in his first public response since the May 2 US raid in Abbottabad.

He described the PML-N leader as a product of former military dictator Gen. Ziaul Haq’s rule, and lambasted the opposition party for what he claimed was its soft stance on terrorism.

“If we have lost 35,000 of our own sons and daughters, how can you claim that this is an America’s war?” said the president, in a rhetorical question addressed to Nawaz Sharif.

“How is your thinking different from that of (Taleban leader) Mullah Omar?” The president even went on to say that Nawaz’s approach was that of a blacksmith who lacked foresight and vision while he (Zardari’s) was keeping an eye on global economic crisis.

Taking a dig at the electronic media, Zardari said the time was not far off when intellectuals would replace actors in TV channels talk shows to portray the real issues.

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