Day 2: President continues to take shots at Sharifs

Published: April 7, 2012

According to sources, the president’s assaults were part of a well-planned strategy to hit PPP’s principal political rivals in their bastion of power – and in a manner that, the PPP feels, would attract the common voter in Punjab. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: 

The president continued his astonishing frontal assault against the Sharifs for a second successive day.

Friday saw President Asif Ali Zardari vow to take the strut out of the Sharifs’ step and defeat the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in central Punjab, which he termed the party’s only remaining power base in the country.

While talking with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket holders, district presidents and general secretaries, the president claimed that he had spared the Sharifs (Nawaz and Shahbaz) and then taken them along for the sake of removing then president Pervez Musharraf, which he termed had been his party’s first and foremost target.

He said that, instead of appreciating the PPP’s gesture towards them, the Sharifs preferred to cater to their pride and refused to join hands with other parties. Now, he said he would visit each and every division of Punjab in the lead-up to the general elections.

The PML-N, he said, would stand defeated.

Why the sudden aggression?

The president arrived in Lahore on April 4 – and since then has been foaming at the mouth in his attacks on PML-N’s two leaders. There was some speculation in the press that the president was affronted by the lack of even a small welcome protocol upon his arrival in Lahore.

However, insiders have another story to tell.

According to sources, the president’s assaults were part of a well-planned strategy to hit PPP’s principal political rivals in their bastion of power – and in a manner that, the PPP feels, would attract the common voter in Punjab. The sources pointed out the hard-hitting political style of Shahbaz Sharif in his assaults on the president, which served the same purpose for the PML-N while Nawaz remained diplomatic.

The PPP has calculated that, in the next general elections, the PPP’s main battle will be with the PML-N, which is already struggling with Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

According to this calculation, the PPP has already secured a stronger presence in the southern parts of Punjab with their rhetoric of a separate province for the region, while their presence in the north is also satisfactory. As for central Punjab, it is being calculated that it remains in the grip of the PML-N. The president’s current mission is to revive the party in this area – and the way chosen for this is the political assault on the Sharifs. There was another man doing this for the president until recently: Babar Awan. However, Awan has fallen out of favour with the president, who seems to have taken up this task himself.

There is another element to this strategy. Sources also said that President Zardari, to maximise the hit against the PML-N, wanted leaders to prepare PPP workers and supporters for an electoral alliance with the PML-Q.

The PPP co-chairman has also given a two-month deadline to the party’s central Punjab president Imtiaz Safdar Warraich as well as to the party’s southern Punjab president Makhdoom Shahbauddin to get the party’s affairs in order.

There is also a move to change the PPP’s leader of opposition in the Punjab assembly – a move that will be decided in coming days.

Meeting with senior journalists

The notion of the political battle for central Punjab was something that dominated the president’s interaction with intellectuals and senior journalists.

While addressing the participants, the president, without naming the Sharifs, said he worried for the people of Lahore. He said that he would focus his attention here a lot more now. He recalled his days in Lahore and his struggles here.

President Zardari will remain in Lahore on April 7, and will meet with the business community to take them into confidence over his visit to India, for which he will depart on April 8.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Hairaan
    Apr 7, 2012 - 7:44AM

    After all he enjoys constitutional immunity.

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  • Not me
    Apr 7, 2012 - 8:12AM

    President is supposed to be a figure of unity of Federation. This President it seems is destroying this.

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  • Paindoo
    Apr 7, 2012 - 8:39AM

    Time is over for both PPP and PMLn. People (Youth) can’t be decieved with this political match fixing of PPP and PMLn. We have seen all this in 90s from both the parties.
    They can try to fool their jiyalas but fooling the today’s generation with this kind of politics is not possible anymore.

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  • CK
    Apr 7, 2012 - 9:57AM

    No matter what he say about his he is a genius in his own way.

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  • Chilli
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:16AM

    Fake encounter!... PPP and PML-N trying to be the top two contenders in next general election. If Imran Khan is successful in bringing drawing room voters, he will be successful otherwise, we will see same faces who destroyed Pakistan earlier.

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  • Ahmad
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:27AM

    It seems Zardari understood absolutely no threat from PTI but only from PMLN..!!

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  • Bilal Shah
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:32AM

    Maybe the president has developed a good working relationships with the establishment and considers himself well entrenched and safe and now he feels he is in a good position to take on the opposition.It is interesting the president is criticizing the pml n which he considers the real opposition while leaving the pti unscathed maybe because he thinks the pti is not in a position to challenge him.In a country like pakistan where the democratic system is still weak and fragile it is important both for the government and the opposition to work for the strengthening of the democratic system.

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  • Naveed Alam Khattak
    Apr 7, 2012 - 10:57AM

    Mr. President! We want to see something better. Something which is visible. Just shouting and blaming one another will not work this time. We want someone who can get this country out of this miserable. We are tired of this everyday violence. We want education peace and prosperity. I request my pakistani brothers that this time use their votes very carefully.

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  • Rao
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Making more dirty of Pakistan’s history, frustration has been increased for coming again in power, tey have tasted this power fruit and do not want to leave it, even this fruit hase been sopiled, pluted but ZARADRI with his team wil eat it again.
    Is this the Pakistan’s president or PPP’s chief?
    H ecannot change the mind of people those are still believing that he has looted public oney and has the Siwss accounts.Just wants to divert the attention by attacking Sharif brother

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  • Jibran
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:14AM

    @Rao:
    English please!

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:31AM

    Democracy is much the best and the most authentic and the most effective way and resource of taking revenge especially when you are in the government doesn’t matter you use blasphemous/derogatory words against any one any where and any time.

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  • Democrat
    Apr 7, 2012 - 11:45AM

    by his statements, zardari has shown that he is visiting lahore as owner of PPP and not as president, so in that case why would the provincial govt be wecloming him? IK visits lahore and there is no official protocol…so why special protocol to zardari? if he ever want to visit any part as president then there should be protocol and he will have to look out his language…anyhow we do not expect anything better from these two failed parties…the time is up… the next govt is by PTI…

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  • Seema
    Apr 7, 2012 - 12:46PM

    @Hairaan: When shareefs generals, and judges have unconstitutional favor for each and then suddenly all become angles in Urdu we say Dhoodh men Dhully. at least he deserves constitutional immunity.

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  • Apr 7, 2012 - 1:27PM

    dirty politics of Pakistan, but what President said against shareef brothers was 100% truth

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  • Seema
    Apr 7, 2012 - 2:24PM

    @Ahmad: He feels no threat from both PTI or PMLN, becuase PPPs’ vote bank is intact,as always, Agencies always collect turncoats and favorites of establishment and create their party but in thirty years they could not destroy it. PPP is only party has representation from all over the Pakistan, He needed consensus on constitutional amendments, he listened every one patiently, For him now to show them mirror, a blackmailers behind the image.

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  • Seema
    Apr 7, 2012 - 3:50PM

    @Naveed Alam Khattak: Only solution is let the democracy evolve let the civilian to decide their foreign policy, Bhutto made China a friend and brought all Muslim counties on one platform had good relation with India after shimla agreement without compromising on our territories unlike tashqant agreement.
    Zia brought the curs of Mujahideen, Heroin and weapons and in the name of Islam. he started sectarian killings, Musharuf broght suicide bombers drone attacks, army operations in tribal areas and there is a list, he left for ppl of Pakistan to suffer.
    Democracy needs time to establish its norms

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  • Apr 7, 2012 - 5:42PM

    PTI should run Punjab in future.We had enough of Shariffs. Their Party has no ideological basis, and they have been running the show on behalf of Zia.

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  • Imran
    Apr 7, 2012 - 7:59PM

    Few days ago Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab and the younger brother of Mian Nawaz Sharif, chairperson of the PML-N, nowadays is addressing public meetings in Punjab frequently. I advise Mr Sharif, in his own interest, to show some responsibility being the head of the largest province of Pakistan, which has a population of over 90 million. He should not act like late Sultan Rahi, the hero of Punjabi movies, who resorted to such rhetoric in countless movies. In his public meetings such displays of loud behaviour do not suit a person of his stature and it also goes against the sanctity of the position he holds presently. While Mian Sahib was making such announcements where were the respect for President. Every action has a reaction and PML-N must face it.Recommend

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