Amid efforts to defuse the political crisis,former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif has attacked President Asif Ali Zardari for “fighting democracy” and blamed his actions for the unrest in the country.
“Zardari is fighting democracy. Rather than fighting terrorism,he is fighting democracy… I think he is wasting his efforts on a futile exercise,” Sharif said adding,it was a matter of time before the power of the people brought about a change in Pakistan.
“It is the actions of Zardari which triggered off this unrest in the country. Who is then responsible for destabilisation?” the two-time former premier told Dawn News channel in an interview.
Sharif,whose PML-N is backing the long march launched by the lawyers’ movement to pressure Zardari’s ruling PPP to reinstate judges sacked during the 2007 emergency,said he was not trying to bring down the government.
“I am not trying to dislodge the government at all,” he said adding,the PML-N wants to “restore the rule of law and to reinstate the judges who stood against” former military ruler Pervez Musharraf,he added.
Zardari has been buckling under intense domestic and international pressure to bring to an end the political turmoil in the country.
Zardari was ready “in principle” to end Governor’s Rule in Punjab,imposed on February 25 after the Supreme Court barred PML-N leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif from holding elected office,Dawn News channel had quoted official sources as saying on Friday.
Holding the President and not the PPP responsible for the unrest and political crisis in Pakistan,Sharif said he hoped that “sense prevails on Zardari and he rectifies all the wrongs that have been done”.
He said people’s power would bring about a change in Pakistan and this could happen within a few days or a few years.
Sharif said he was not aware of any package being worked on by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani for reconciliation between the PML-N and PPP.
Appreciating the role played by the Prime Minister,he said Gilani should either convince Zardari to change things or “take his own decisions”.
Sharif and his brother,former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif,have accused Zardari of influencing a Supreme Court order last month that barred them from contesting polls and holding elected office.
Following the court’s verdict,Zardari imposed Governor’s Rule in Punjab,which was ruled by the PML-N.
The party then decided to back the lawyers’ long march that is scheduled to culminate with a sit-in near parliament on March 16.
Asked if he had unnecessarily raised the political temperature by calling for a revolution,Sharif replied: “I don’t think so. I think I have been talking the right things. I have no personal motive. I am not going to become the Prime Minister if the long march succeeds”.
The PML-N had wanted to usher in changes “without staging a long march” but the need for the protest “arose when Zardari refused to honour his commitments (and) to fulfill his obligations”,he said.
“Now a stage has come that nothing is happening and everything was still going peacefully till about two weeks ago when Zardari got a judgment from these courts that the lawyers’ community and civil society is struggling against,” Sharif said,referring to the apex court’s verdict against him and his brother.
Noting that any violence will be “counter-productive”,the former premier said “they cannot prevent the long march. And even if they temporarily do,the march will emerge again.
I dont think these people will (stop) unless and until the judges and the independence of the judiciary is reinstated”. He criticised the government for launching a crackdown to thwart the long march. Lawyers and opposition political parties have said over 1,000 people have been detained across the country since Tuesday.
Sharif said the PML-N government in Punjab could have been saved if he and Shahbaz “had come to terms with Zardari and if we had accepted his so-called deal on the basis of give and take”.