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Sharif brothers always turn towards their foreign friends for support: Asif Ali Zardari

30 December, 2017

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LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari Friday said that Sharif brothers always turn towards their ‘foreign friends’ for support when they are in trouble, expressing the hope that Saudi Arabia will not ‘intervene’ to secure another National Reconciliation Order (NRO) to save Sharifs.

Addressing his second joint press conference of the month with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahir ul Qadri, Zardari said, “They want their foreign friends to help out them, but I don’t think we will allow this joke to take place again.”

When asked about Shehbaz Sharif abruptly leaving for Saudi Arabia and Nawaz Sharif set to fly on Saturday, the PPP leader said, “Pakistan is an independent country and not bound to follow dictates of Saudi leadership.”

PAT chief Tahirul Qadri while addressing the press conference also categorically rejected likely NRO drafted abroad, saying any decision taken abroad would not be acceptable. “Sharif brothers should feel ashamed over going abroad to get support for themselves,” he said, and hoped this time Saudi Arabia will not help them to secure an NRO.

“We are not slaves … we are free people and take decisions on our own. Any decision taken in Saudi Arabia or any other country will not be acceptable to us,” he said. “Whole PML-N had been crying that political decisions should not be taken in court, then why they are now contacting foreign powers to save the Sharif family,” asked Qadri.

When asked why he repeatedly turned down the PML-N’s overtures for reconciliation, Zardari said, “They have indebted our future generation … so even if I stand with them, the nation will not accept them.”

On Model Town incident, the former president said that ousted premier Nawaz Sharif should face murder trial over the tragedy which left at least 14 people dead.

“Sharif should face trial for murder, while [Punjab chief minister] Shehbaz Sharif and [provincial law minister] Rana Sanaullah should resign and surrender themselves before the law,” he said.

Zardari said his party will abide by all decisions taken at the PAT-sponsored all-parties conference scheduled for December 30 (today). “We will abide by the decisions taken in the conference and follow a joint strategy,” he said. “Shehbaz Sharif will have to step down. Cases are registered against Rana Sanaullah and he will also need to step down,” he added.

Zardari reassured Qadri of his full support on the matter, saying, “We have been with him on the matter from the start. It was all on television how people were martyred. People say 14 were martyred but I say 100 were martyred because many ended up with permanent disabilities on that day. This happened in the age of media.”

“We have always struggled for justice. We demand again that Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah should step down. They are influencing the inquiry,” he said, adding, “In my view, our struggle will pay off. If not today, then tomorrow — but justice will be served.”

But while Zardari offered his party’s full support to Qadri on the matter at hand, he discouraged speculation that it would lead to anything beyond. “We are with him on this position, but everyone has their own politics,” he said.

Zardari said Pervez Musharraf couldn’t substantiate his claims as he always made his own decisions during his tenure. “Musharraf should return to the country if he is as brave [as he claims],” he added.

Khursheed Shah also echoed Zardari’s sentiments on the Model Town incident, saying, “Everyone should get justice. Only the rich get justice here. Now all eyes are on whether the poor get justice in this country or not.”

At the start of the press conference, Qadri thanked Zardari and the PPP for supporting PAT in its quest for justice in the Model Town case.

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