We have utmost respect for General Raheel: PPP

Senior leaders say Asif Zardari spoke about past dictators.



By Afzal Khan

Published: Sun 21 Jun 2015, 11:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:58 PM

Islamabad: In an apparent attempt at damage control over their leader’s outburst, Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) senior leaders Sherry Rehman and Qamar Zaman Kaira said party chairman Asif Zardari had spoken against past military dictators and not present leadership.

“The PPP holds army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif in utmost respect,” Sherry Rehman said while talking to media personnel after an Iftar dinner at the Zardari House on Friday evening.

Both of them evaded questions that Zardari had clearly addressed Gen. Raheel when he observed “You are there for a 3-year tenure while we will stay here ever”.

Kaira said the entire party stood by Zardari’s comments. Kaira went on to say that Zardari’s remarks should be understood in a “specific context since they pointed towards a defining line in Pakistan’s civil-military relations.

“If there was some harshness in Zardari sahab’s tone, there must be a reason for that... But all senior members and political friends have advised Zardari to maintain his cool demeanour.”

Kaira also said that no one had advised Zardari to take back his comments. Sherry Rehman said that the PPP was concerned about an imbalance in civil-military relations, adding that all party bearers are of the opinion that state institutions should not overstep their mandate.

When asked whether Zardari had consulted party members before making the military-related remarks, both Rehman and Kaira said Zardari “did not need to consult anyone to make comments at a local party event. He is a leader who says what he feels”.

Rehman said the PPP is not defending corruption. “We have always stood for rooting out terrorism and furthering democracy.”

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