Former President and Co-Chairman of the Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari has said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif wants to stir up a fight between the civilian and military leadership.
The 61-year old while giving an interview to a private television channel on Monday said that Nawaz stabbed him in his back, alluding to how Sharif had refused to lend him support when he made a controversial statement against the army in 2015.
The relationship of the PPP and PML-N is often termed as part of the Muk Mukka politics: play to the gallery but save each other’s skin in actuality. The elder-brother-younger- brother relationship between the two was dealt a severe blow when the Sharif-led PML-N left the coalition government in 2009 after the senior partner PPP refused to restore Iftikhar Chaudhary, the Chief Justice who was deposed by former president General Musharraf in 2007.
Zardari who had supported Sharif against Imran Khan-led sit-in in 2014, has thus far refused to lend support to the latter. Zardari said that Sharif, being a disqualified lawmaker should not be heading the PML-N. Sharif was reinstated as party head after the passage of the Election Bill 2017.
Zardari said: “Let’s see, which jail Nawaz is sent to; in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan or Sindh.” He added that he wasn’t interested in eating “paaye” referring to Sharif’s favorite dish while saying that he has received ten messages from the former prime minister ever since he saw the impending sword of accountability. That being said, Zardari was all for the government completing its term.
Union cannot be ruled out
The remarks come a day after both, the PML-N and the PPP agreed upon Justice Javed Iqbal as the new chairman of the all-important National Accountability Bureau (NAB). Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by cricket-legend Imran Khan has gingerly accepted the nomination of the former jurist. However, Khan and his party still maintain that both parties will save each other’s corruption.
PPP has no love lost for Khan who has vowed to run after Zardari’s corruption after fully ensuring Nawaz’s accountability. The PPP has called Imran Khan as someone lacking political acumen and hence the 65-year old is a common political opponent of Zardari and Sharif.
Efforts are being made to bring the political brothers together. Nawaz Sharif reportedly asked Malik Riaz, the influential property magnate to act as a go-between. Though apparently, the PPP is still not ready to support the besieged Sharif family, an understanding albeit a tacit cannot be ruled out. The clout of the PPP in the political realm is shrinking, which can be testified by its performance in the NA-120 by-poll.
The likelihood of the considerable weakening of the PML-N following the impending indictment of the Sharif family in the graft reference will become one of the factors which may bring both parties together. As things stand, the PPP is not a stand-alone political force to affect the ballot in the next elections; thus an alliance would also suit it.