LAHORE, April 5: President Asif Ali Zardari launched a scathing attack on opposition PML-N leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, saying they were ‘mohajirs’ in Lahore and were enjoying power because of his Pakistan People’s Party.
Addressing a gathering of PPP workers at the governor’s house here, Zardari took swipes at the Sharif brothers and said they had “no political future”. He said: “Lahore is not a stronghold of the Sharifs and we will prove this in the coming elections”. Lahore is PPP’s city and the Sharif brothers are living here as “mohajirs” (migrants), he said. “We know how brave the Sharif brothers are. They have no political future”. While the PPP is in power at the centre, the PML-N rules Punjab though the post of Governor is held by senior PPP leader Latif Khosa.
In a stinging personal attack, Zardari said the brothers could not muster enough followers for the “funeral of their father”. He said the PPP would form the government in Punjab, the country’s most populous province, after winning the 2013 elections. The Sharifs were in exile in Saudi Arabia when their father died and his burial was done under strict security arrangements put in place by the former military regime of Pervez Musharraf. Zardari claimed the “shine that the Sharif brothers have” was given by him and that he could “take it away any time”. The PPP will contest the next election in Punjab with its coalition partner, the PML-Q, he said. He contended that the PPP “has votes while other parties have candidates and hollow slogans”. Reacting to the attack, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said Zardari had resorted to a “lowly act”. “If Zardari describes the Sharif brothers as migrants, then he is surely unaware of the results of the past four elections,” said Sanaullah, a close confidant of the Sharifs.
“It seems like he (Zardari) has gone mad. He can foresee that he is going to face terrible consequences, which is why he is making such statements,” he added. Zardari, who has rarely been seen in public in recent months, is in Lahore to interact with PPP workers for the first time in almost two years. Though he made a visit to the city last year to meet the family of slain Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, he did not meet party workers at the time. When Zardari arrived in Lahore yesterday, he was not received by officials or ministers of the PML-N government.