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Nawaz Sharif seeks Turkish lessons on control army

Former Prime Minister and leader of PML-N party, Nawaz Sharif, is on a tour of Turkey to learn first hand how that country political leadership dealt with their generals, media reports said.

world Updated: Oct 28, 2011 00:53 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

Pakistani politicians are now seeking "international help" in dealing with the country's military leadership. Former Prime Minister and leader of PML-N party, Nawaz Sharif, is on a tour of Turkey to learn first hand how that country political leadership dealt with their generals, media reports said.

Sharif has strong links with Turkey's President Abdullah Gul and right of centre parties of that nation. Officially, say party leaders, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief has gone to Turkey to sympathise over the devastation caused by Sunday's massive earthquake in the country. But the underlying objective, says a report in the English language daily The Express Tribune, is to learn from the Turkish leaders the art of reining in the powerful military. The PML-N has a busy schedule once their leader returns to Pakistan later this month. The party plans street protests against the Zardari government as well as protests to counter other parties.

"The PML-N is a right of centre party. Traditionally it has had the support of the military. The on ground situation now is different and the army leadership right now is behind President Zardari," says analyst Aisha Siddiqa, who adds that Sharif wants to create a wedge between the generals and the more conservative officer corps. "It is a dangerous game to play," said another analyst.

Anti-Zardari protests planned
Thousands of people are expected to attend rallies in Pakistan's political capital Lahore this weekend demanding that President Asif Ali Zardari quit and for snap polls next year.

Lahore is a bitterly contested territory where opposition leaders are holding rallies targeting the unpopular Zardari and trying to whip up votes for the future.

(With AFP inputs)