PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday rubbished remarks attributed to PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, who was earlier reported to have said that he had been duped by Sharif into giving a hard-hitting statement against the army back in 2015.
A section of the electronic media had on Sunday reported that Zardari termed Sharif “far more cunning and opportunistic than we thought”. A day later, a PPP spokesperson had denied that Zardari issued any such statement concerning the disqualified prime minister.
Referring to his uncharacteristically aggressive anti-establishment speech of June 2015, Zardari was quoted as saying by the TV channels that he had been incited by then prime minister Sharif to say so. “I gave the statement after being duped by Nawaz,” he had reportedly said.
Responding to the PPP leader's remarks, Sharif warned him against mud-slinging and distorting historical facts.
"Was Asif Zardari so naive and innocent that he easily got duped by me?" Sharif shot back, adding that he had, in fact, sent the former president a message of disapproval following his anti-establishment tirade.
Sharif in his statement recalled that he had even cancelled a meeting scheduled for the next day with Zardari following his speech and wondered why the PPP co-chairman did not speak up earlier about this.
"Where has he [Zardari] got the idea of uttering the truth now, after three years?"
The ousted premier commented that if Zardari claims he was following Sharif's commands in the past, he should also disclose "whose puppet he has become now".
"If he was speaking my language earlier then he should be courageous and reveal whose language he is speaking now," Sharif remarked, suggesting to Zardari that he should focus on the upcoming elections instead and read the writing on the wall.
'DG Rangers ordered action against PPP leaders'
Sharif further said Zardari's differences with former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf should not have meant Zardari would go after the entire institution of the military. He said he had placed the conditions of restoration of judges and repealing the 17th amendment to become part of the government and support Musharraf's impeachment.
"[But] who backtracked on the promise? Who betrayed [the other]? Who deviated from written agreements claiming they are 'not Holy Quran or Hadees'"? Sharif asked in the statement.
The former prime minister claimed that Zardari knows all too well that the action taken by the National Accountability Bureau against Dr Asim Hussain and other PPP leaders in Sindh was ordered by the director general of Sindh Rangers and that he or the federal government had nothing to do with it.