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Zardari calls Sharif a mullah

world Updated: Jun 23, 2011 02:56 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad
Imtiaz Ahmad
Hindustan Times
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Pakistan’s unpredictable political landscape continues to witness twists and turns, the latest being the sparring match between president Asif Ali Zardari and main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.

Zardari has accused Sharif of trying to pit the ruling Pakistan People’s Party against the powerful military but said he would not allow this to happen.

Launching a blistering attack against PML-N chief, Zardari described him as a ‘moulvi’ inspired by the divisive politics of late military ruler Zia-ul-Haq.

He also alleged that Sharif had sympathies for militants involved in insurgency across Pakistan as he equated the PML-N chief's mindset with that of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

“This moulvi sahib who is opposed to us, his name is Moulvi Nawaz Sharif. I remember the beliefs with which he entered politics. He wants the politics of Moulvi Zai-ul-Haq,” Zardari said, referring to the late dictator who ruled Pakistan in the 1980s.

“It is ironic that the Pakistan People’s Party government is protecting the military, while Sharif, whose political career was launched by General Zia-ul-Haq, is opposing it,” says analyst Shamim ur Rehman.

Analysts say that the military leadership is facing its biggest challenge from within. There are reports that army chief General Ashfaq Kayani is under pressure from his commanders over his pro-US tilt and the subdued manner in which both he and the ISI chief, General Shuja Pasha, responded to the American raid on the Osama Bin Ladin compound.

(With inputs from PTI)