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Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said President Asif Ali Zardari had become an army spokesman. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-N came out with tit-for-tat attacks on President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday, in response to his recent onslaught against Nawaz Sharif and termed it “unethical” and a result of frustration over failure of his government’s policies.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said President Asif Ali Zardari had become an army spokesman and another PML-N leader, Ahsan Iqbal, said by making “personal and unethical attacks” on Mr Sharif, the president had actually damaged his own party and not the PML-N.

“I felicitate Pakistan Army for having a new spokesman and defender in the person of Asif Zardari. An army which has him as friend and supporter does not need any enemy,” Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told reporters in his Parliament House chamber.

Addressing a function held to mark the birth anniversary of Ms Benazir Bhutto at Naudero on Tuesday night, President Zardari severely criticised Mr Sharif for his recent statements against the army and intelligence agencies and said these were attempts to divide the army and to pit the government against the armed forces.

In an unusually aggressive tone, the president said: “The thinking of ‘Maulvi’ Nawaz Sharif is being defeated.” He said that ‘Maulvi’ Nawaz was practising the politics of Zia and there was no difference between the thinking of Nawaz and Mulla Umar.

Mr Zardari also said that 35,000 “of my children” were martyred but he (Nawaz) was still saying that it was not “our war”, adding that if any change took place he (Nawaz) would again flee while “I will be left to be martyred”.

The leader of opposition said that despite having been elected by people’s votes, President Zardari had adopted Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s style of governance and that his fate would not be different from that of the former military dictator.

He said the people still remembered the language Mr Zardari used against the army after becoming the president.

“The Presidency’s hallowed walls have been witness to Mr Zardari’s foul language which he used against the army and generals for more than one and half years after becoming the president,” he said.

He said Mr Zardari had become a “symbol of negative politics across the country and his rule is not less than a God’s wrath on the nation”.

The rulers, he said, would realise their worth and know the public sentiments on the day of elections.

Mr Ahsan Iqbal said in a statement that Mr Zardari had used the language which Gen Musharraf had used against Mr Sharif. He said the PML-N did not believe in “dirty politics” because it had an agenda of reform to make Pakistan a strong democracy and it could not be distracted by such “undemocratic tactics”.

“It would have been far better if Mr Zardari had shed some light on the performance of his regime, instead of targeting the media and Mr Sharif as both are trying to hold him and his regime accountable for the massive corruption prevalent in his government and the deterioration of economy,” he added.

He said the constitution required the president to be a symbol of federation, but Mr Zardari had chosen to “ridicule the language of the largest province”. Unfortunately, he said, the PPP leader had tried to create a wedge among provinces and between opposition and army.

He said the PML-N respected armed forces and its ‘jawans’ and officers for their sacrifices and commitment to defend the frontiers of Pakistan. The PML-N, he said, criticised a handful of generals who used military for personal political agendas and made their institution’s role controversial.

“If the PML-N demands an independent inquiry of the Abbottabad incident it is to ensure that we remove any lapses from our security systems. Such corrective actions will not weaken, rather strengthen the armed forces’ professionalism,” he said.