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Zardari’s outburst displeases PM

Zardari’s outburst displeases PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed unhappiness over former president and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s recent statement in which he accused the federal government of targeting leaders of his party in the name of anti-corruption campaign.

Sharing his feelings of utter dejection with leaders of the PML-N’s Sindh chapter at a meeting here on Tuesday, the prime minister said he was unable to understand what prompted the former president to give such a scathing statement against him and his government, sources privy to the meeting told Dawn.

Know more: Nawaz Sharif has reverted to revenge politics of the 90s: Zardari

Apparently in reaction to recent arrests of PPP leaders, Mr Zardari had on Aug 31 accused Prime Minister Sharif of “repeating the politics of the 1990s”. He even blamed the PML-N for “dividing” the nation in an attempt “to save their natural allies Taliban and terrorists” and to “weaken” the war against terror.

Talking to Dawn, Senator Nihal Hashmi, who attended the meeting, confirmed the prime minister’s visible despondency over the recent spate of incidents, particularly the PPP leadership’s reaction.

“Following the spirit of the charter of democracy signed by the PPP and PML-N in 2006, throughout I have given respect to the former president. So much so I set the precedent of holding farewell lunch by the incoming president for his predecessor (Mr Zardari), but how Mr Zardari has targeted the government is beyond my comprehension,” Senator Hashmi quoted the prime minister as saying at the meeting.

He said Mr Sharif also recalled how the PPP government had imposed governor rule in Punjab in 2009, but in response the PML-N government chose instead to work in collaboration with the PPP-led Sindh government and always took Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah into confidence on important national issues.

The prime minister reaffirmed his commitment of burying the politics of 90s when the two parties virtually used to be at each other’s throat.

According to Mr Hashmi, the prime minister said the government was committed to taking the ongoing Karachi operation to its logical conclusion.

The meeting was meant to strategise the party’s preparation for the coming local government elections in Sindh.

According to a political analyst, the prime minister’s disappointment with the PPP leadership makes sense. With the PPP going on the warpath, the ruling PML-N has to be very careful during the remainder of its term.

According to an official statement on the meeting, the prime minister asked the PML-N’s provincial office-bearers to forget their personal differences and collectively work for the party’s good in Sindh.

The meeting was attended by the entire leadership of the PML-N Sindh chapter, including Minister of State for Communications Abdul Hakeen Baloch, PM’s Adviser on Political Affairs Jam Mashooq Ali, BISP Chairperson Marvi Memon, Nihal Hashmi, and the Sherazi brothers.

Federal Information Minister Pervez Rashid, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Senator Zafar Iqbal Jhagra were also present.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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