President Asif Ali Zardari with his son Bilawal Bhutto and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. — File Photo
ISLAMABAB: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will host a farewell reception for President Asif Ali Zardari in the first week of next month before the end of his five-year term on Sept 8.
The reception may take place between Sept 5 and 7. “It will be a luncheon ceremony and is likely to be held on Sept 7,” said a senior official of the Prime Minister Office’s media wing.
Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah is also likely to attend the reception.
When asked if the PML-N government will present a guard of honour to the outgoing president, the official said: “Hosting of a farewell reception by the prime minister will be a goodwill gesture to the president who belongs to the opposition PPP.”
The outgoing PPP government faced severe criticism for presenting a guard of honour to Gen Musharraf who was accused of violating the constitution.
Meanwhile, President Zardari has arranged a series of his own farewell receptions.
On Aug 22, he gave a reception to foreign diplomats, which was also attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and leaders of the PPP.
Another reception being held for media persons on Monday is likely to be attended by a large number of journalists, anchorpersons, owners of media houses, bureaucrats and politicians.
Sources in the presidency said President Zardari would also arrange a reception for members of the federal cabinet, including Prime Minister Sharif, in a couple of days. Members of the last federal cabinet and former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf will also attend it.
President Zardari will also hold a reception in honour of his successor Mamnoon Hussain. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to attend it.
Mr Zardari is the first elected president of the country who is completing his five-year term. He also has the distinction of addressing joint sittings of parliament six times.
During his term, President Zardari faced many ups and downs and remained under severe criticism of media and opposition parties on many occasions.