AJK election campaign: Nawaz ups the ante against Zardari

Published: June 21, 2011
Nawaz Sharif addresses a public gathering in Bhimbhar, Azad Jammu Kashmir. PHOTO: INP

Nawaz Sharif addresses a public gathering in Bhimbhar, Azad Jammu Kashmir. PHOTO: INP


Campaigning on behalf of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) candidates for the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif delivered a scathing review of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government, in what appeared to be a rehearsal for a national election campaign.

“President Asif Ali Zardari has run a highly corrupt government,” said Sharif to a crowd of approximately 5,000 people in Bhimbar, about 50 kilometres from Mirpur. “He should quit the politics of banditry and stop damaging the country’s major institutions.”

The PML-N leader is on a five-day whirlwind tour of the territory which will hold its legislative elections on June 26. Sharif has been campaigning on behalf of several candidates for his party, but appears to be fighting a losing battle: most analysts predict a victory for the PPP in the AJK assembly.

On Monday, Sharif campaigned on behalf of Chaudhry Tariq Farooq, who is running for the LA-7 seat in Bhimber as well as Muhammad Sarfaraz Khan, a retired Army captain, who is campaigning for the LA-2 seat in Islamgarh. Sharif has also spent some time campaigning for his party’s AJK chief, Raja Farooq Haider Khan, in his native constituency, LA-26 in Hattain Bala,

Sharif’s political gatherings have seen crowds in the thousands in the territory. At least 15,000 people are estimated to have shown up for his rally in Islamgarh which, uncharacteristically for a Pakistani political event, started half an hour ahead of schedule.

The PML-N leader’s speech in both places largely consisted of rhetoric he has already been employing during his whistle-stop campaign tour throughout Sindh and Punjab. In Azad Jammu Kashmir, Sharif has been careful to add references to Kashmiris separately from Pakistanis.

“Pakistan belongs to the 180 million Pakistanis and Kashmiris, not to Zardari or Gilani. The politics of flattery will not work in Kashmir,” said Sharif.

While much of his speeches focused on lambasting the president and the PPP-led administration in the federal government for corruption and incompetence, the PML-N leader did spend some time talking about what he considered to be his own party’s accomplishments in office, both in Punjab currently as well as during the 1990s when the PML-N won the national elections twice.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2011.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • sam
    Jun 21, 2011 - 9:41AM

    while his (Nawaz sharifs) intelligence remains questionable to me… you cannt ignore the fact that he has developed lahore from the ground up … he might be corrupt but at least he still lets stuff trickle down to those at the bottom… Recommend

  • Naveeda Shaikh
    Jun 21, 2011 - 9:46AM

    I think our leaders (demagogues) take a coffee and feels very fresh when there is a time for election and campaign, and power’s hope to be restored in hand once again.

    Bravo Nawaz Sahab. Bravo, you will have your way. Recommend

  • 786
    Jun 21, 2011 - 11:15AM

    Our all brave politicians ,all lovers of people and lover of Pakistan speech in bullet proof glass.they al are liers. just want to .PM they all are responsible of conditions of Pakistan. pakistan ki 16 karoor awam 8 karoor voters 4 karor vote fake then whats left.??Recommend

  • CPKS
    Jun 21, 2011 - 1:56PM

    Azad Jammu Kashmir – a so called sovereign nation with the Pakistani political leaders campaining there.Recommend

  • buttjee
    Jun 21, 2011 - 2:10PM

    There is nothing new in what Nawaz is now saying about Zardari. The whole nation has been crying for the last three and half years against the rampant corruption in all the Government institutions but PML (N) remained almost silent and behaved like the friendly opposition. Now when Nawaz Sharif has woken up from his deep slumber, there is hardly anything left in these institutions. If at all this naive politician ever gets another chance to get into the prime minister’s office, he will have to preside over the bankruptcy proceedings of all the Government Institutions and autonomous corporations. Imagine, he is such a simple guy that Zardari could easily be-fool him, not once but many times during the past four years. Capitalizing on Nawaz Sharif’s persistent anti Army mind set, Zardari would occasionally raise the boggy of threat to his Government from the Army and Nawaz would readily move into the trap, conveniently ignore Zardari’s corruption and would start launching scathing attacks on the Army in Zardari’s defense. As was always obvious that after Musharaf’s departure the Government never faced any threat from the Army but Nawaz always lacked the requisite wisdom to understand Zardari’s tricks. Even today he is obsessed with the threat from the Army. He has not been able to reconcile with his removal from the premiership by General Musharaf in October 1999. The country today is facing new threats and more serious challenges in addition to the problem of Presidential Corruption but in his speeches unfortunately Nawaz has nothing else to offer to the nation except his unending tears on his kingdom lost to Musharaf. He is behaving like a child who had lost his toy in the evening and would still cry for the same loss after waking up next morning after having a good nap of 10 hours. Recommend

  • chengez K
    Jun 21, 2011 - 4:12PM

    Shortly after this tiring & foolishly hot campain in Azad Kashmir Mian sahab would leave for the cool shopping walks on Oxford street London.

    Thereafter, would visit the Real Estate brokers in St Johns Wood to check the latest prices of the family ‘s over billion pounds of real estate in London.

    Mian Sabab Zindabad Azad Kashmir PaindabadRecommend

    Jun 21, 2011 - 8:19PM

    It is good that Mian Sahib has started protesting against Zardari’s corruption. I hope, now the Government will initiate action on his corruption cases pending with NAB. In my opinion he is not in any way less corrupt than Zardari except that his method of corruption is a bit more sophisticated. According to my analysis of the available information about their corruption, Zardari believes in naked corruption, comparable with day light robbery on the other hand old Mian Sahib believes in large scale money laundering and non payment of loans. Both are masters of their own fields of operation. Recommend

  • umair hayyat
    Jun 22, 2011 - 7:59PM

    The PML-N loves to flaunt its morally sound nature but fails to acknowledge its friends’ loyalty. The most prominent case is that of Javed Hashmi, who went to jail for five years on charges of inciting mutiny against the regime of General Musharraf. In spite of his loyalty and sacrifice, he is treated as a pariah by the party leadership. There are many others who stuck their necks out for the Sharifs but are now languishing in obscurity. There are also reports of internal squabbles existing amongst the party workers and Shahbaz Sharif’s deteriorating health is not helping the situation. The Sharifs are quickly losing personal as well as political standing with all the players/brokers in Pakistani politics and the present foreshadows a gloomy picture of the party. It is evident from the present political picture of Pakistan that PML-N is distressed and faces a glum future ahead,President Zardari, however, has proved to be a very stable friend to anyone who has done even an ounce of good to him. In a country where politics are of a vindictive nature, a steadfast leader who recognises your sacrifices and rewards you well for them carries a lot of worth. Recommend

  • Suhail Ahmed
    Jun 23, 2011 - 7:49PM

    One really laughs out loud when Mian Nawaz Sharif talks about corruption of others. He himself is the champion of corruption and still facing such charges and interestingly he has not been declared innocent in any of the case unlike Asif Zardari, who has been given clean chit by Judiciary after facing these charges for 11 years. Mian Sahib you even don’t have heart to face genuine charges for one year and I am sure you would lose your life if even put behind bars for one year. One should look into its own mirror before point finger towards others. Can you deny the following facts and figures?

    8.1 Rs. 1.5 billion loan was taken out by the Sharif brothers against the security of their company, Ittefaq Foundries
    8.2 Rs. 302 million were obtained for Brothers Sugar Mills
    8.3 Rs. 92 million for Brothers Textile
    8.4 Rs. 392 million for Brothers Steel Mills
    8.5 Rs. 102 million for Ramzan Sugar Mills and Khalid Siraj Textiles each
    8.6 Rs. 385 million for Ittefaq Sugar Mills
    8.7 Rs. 368 million for Ittefaq Textiles and
    8.8 Rs. 239 million were loaned to Ittefaq Brother.
    9. The Nawaz family which is now one of the richest in the country largely due to the largesse of Pakistani banks has unveiled its one billion rupee Raiwind Complex. Spread over an area of around a thousand acres it houses palatial residences, a 300 acre farm, a 500 bed hospital, a school, a medical teaching facility, 200 acre dairy farm, a 350 line telephone exchange, Polytechnic institute, Nursing and Midwifery school etc. The Sharifs who must really be minting money have built it all in 17 months at a cost of Rs 740 million. The Punjab government headed by a Sharif has chipped in by providing government-funded roads and forcibly purchasing land for papa Sharif.

    Isn’t it that pot calling the kettle blak?Recommend

  • buttjee
    Jun 24, 2011 - 12:03PM

    Suhail, my friend, I am sure you have the complete details of Zardari’s corruption too but for some reason you have with held the information. Zardari is no less a plunderer. In fact according to international survey he is the richest man in Pakistan. The amount of money and assets these leaders have in Pakistan and abroad is beyond any body’s imagination. Zardari of course is cunning and crafty and has a number of front men including some ambassadors to handle his ill gotten wealth. His corruption is quite complex in nature and a bit difficult to be unearthed. On the other hand the operational methodology of Mian brothers is quite simple and is similar to what most of the the bank defaulters are doing these days. It will be a good service to the people of Pakistan if the corrupt leaders are brought to the fore so that the people know their true faces. This will also help them in making a choice during the elections. Recommend

  • naeem
    Jun 25, 2011 - 12:49AM

    Imran Khan should come to rescue Kashmiries. both leading paties of pakistan especially PPP have terrible record of corruption in Pakistan. Recommend

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