Nawaz Sharif renounces Khawaja Asif’s remarks, reiterates trust on Asif Zardari

LONDON: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated his trust on PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari after PML-N stalwart Khawaja Asif attacked the former Pakistan president saying Zardari cannot be trusted.

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“I have a lot of respect for Asif Zardari in my heart. Zardari is part of Pakistan’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and I absolutely respect him in my heart and I don’t know if Khawaja Asif made a statement against Mr Zardari or not,” the PML-N supremo said in the aftermath of the conflicting statement by the senior PML-N leader.

When told that Khawaja Asif had actually said that he doesn’t trust Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif said that Khawaja Asif’s remarks about the former president were not PMLN’s party policy. “I have expressed to you the sentiments I have in my heart (for Asif Ali Zardari).”

Khawaja Asif, the former foreign and defence minister of Pakistan, had stirred controversy when he expressed reservations regarding Asif Zardari in a television talk show.

“I still have reservations against the gentleman”, Khawaja Asif had said, also signalling “some people know what my reference is, which is why it’s difficult for me to believe in him… even today”.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement consists of major opposition parties including the PML-N, PPP, the JUI-F and various other political parties who have announced a joint protest against the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in Quetta on 11 October.

Whilst the opposition is uniting its efforts against the ruling party, such a statement by a senior PML-N leader has stirred controversy within the alliance.

‘Someone else is running parliament’

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif addressed the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the PML-N and had spoken about civilian supremacy and how he was unfairly ousted from power.

Commenting on the weakness of the parliament, Nawaz Sharif said: “People tell me that someone else is running the parliament. Other people come and give directions about the day’s agenda and the voting on different bills”.

Nawaz Sharif also expressed sorrow over the arrest of former chief minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif who was arrested in the aftermath of the All Parties Conference last week.

“Shahbaz has played a role in strengthening the PML-N’s narrative. I am proud of my brother who is an example of being loyal and committed to our ideology,” Nawaz Sharif said, whilst stressing on the point that his family had been doing business since the 1930s and an assets beyond means case against his brother didn’t carry much weight.

Earlier in the day, Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani of the Islamabad High Court issued harsh remarks after the compliance report of Nawaz Sharif’s arrest warrants was presented before him.

“Nawaz Sharif must be sitting there laughing at Pakistan’s system”, Justice Kayani said.

The PML-N supremo didn’t respond when asked a question but highlighted how he had been unfairly targeted citing Judge Arshad Malik’s case.

Conspiracy hatched to topple PML-N govt

Speaking to media outside his son’s office, Nawaz Sharif mentioned several names who, he claimed, were behind attempts to remove his government in 2014 through dharna of Imran Khan and Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri.

Nawaz Sharif alleged that his government was not allowed to function because there as a conspiracy against him yet his government was able to deliver development.

He paid tribute to the Pakistan armed forces personnel and said he loved and stood by the soldiers who are there to defend the country. Nawaz Sharif said he was proud that he made Pakistan a nuclear country and provided all kinds of resources to the state institutions to develop nuclear weapons and latest ammunition.

Nawaz Sharif said he had a deep admiration for those who have sacrificed their lives in defence of Pakistan.

‘Khawaja Asif a dubious person’

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has issued a damning charge sheet against the PML-N leader, accusing him of backstabbing his own party and working to subvert the emerging PPP-PML-N political alliance.

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar termed Khawaja Asif a dubious person assigned to scuttle the PDM at a critical juncture in the country’s history.

Khokar said Asif has taken a ‘Parchi’ to ensure the PPP-PML-N alliance does not materialise.

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