Nawaz ‘plotting’ to create ‘Greater Punjab’, claims Zardari

‘Imran Khan nor the military establishment was behind the Panama Papers case and rather it was his (Nawaz’s) own follies.’

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday accused former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of ‘plotting’ to create a ‘Greater Punjab.’

“He (Nawaz) is talking about the ‘Greater Punjab’, as he thinks that here he only has 500 branches but there he will have 5,000 branches. It is only money and just money for him,” he said during an interview with Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami.

Zardari said that Nawaz Sharif wanted businesses of his own and his friends to thrive on both sides of the (Pak-India) border. “(India’s Prime Minister Narendra) Modi doesn’t come on my invitation. We have good relations with India’s Gandhi family but we don’t invite them over,” he said.

“Why people (from India) come here on their invitation? Their clothes are coming here and their products are coming here. We need to ask why,” he said while replying to a question pertaining to why there is an impression that Nawaz Sharif has a soft corner for India.

He said that timing was critical in politics and he always took steps keeping in view the timing of his political moves. He said that many political bigwigs of PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were in touch with him. He said that his party had allowed the PML-N to form a government in Punjab in the past.

However, he said that now his party will form the government in Punjab and the PML-N would have to sit in the opposition. About Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s presser, Zardari said that he (Nisar) had alarmed Nawaz Sharif that if he would be targeted, he would break his ‘silence’ on ‘news leaks’.

Zardari did not agree with the claim that he wanted to send Nawaz Sharif to jail, saying he did not believe in sending anyone to jail. “Our party will form government at center and in Punjab after the next election,” he said while replying to a question about how he sees his party in the future.

He did not agree that the establishment had problems with him regarding Memogate controversy, saying it was Nawaz Sharif who went to the court while wearing a black coat. He said that Nawaz Sharif was always power hungry because Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) and the ‘Changa Manga’ deals were the best examples to prove it.

He said that neither Imran Khan nor the military establishment was behind the Panama Papers case and rather it was his (Nawaz’s) own follies.He taunted that his party did not hold rallies on disqualification of Yousaf Raza Gilani the way Nawaz Sharif was doing now. He also taunted the former prime minister that he was trying to portray him as an ideologue jumping from the lap of General Ziaul Haq.

When asked about the chances of forming a coalition government, he said that they would decide after the formation of the new parliament. More independents will come from Punjab and will stand with one who has the most seats in the House, he said.

About the CPEC and who initiated it and to whom the credit goes, Zardari said that it won’t matter whether PML-N was in power or not. “We gave them another port. During our government, we worked on Gwadar Port. China’s President Xi Jinping took the whole matter to another level,” he said

When asked that how he managed to survive the Memogate, Salala gate, and other issues, he said that basically, it was God’s blessing and prayers of the poor and tolerance. “I’ve never used PEMRA or any other institute for personal use, ever,” he said, adding that he doesn’t sense any threats to democracy from the inside.

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