Zardari Invites Pak Leaders For Iftar After Anti-Army Rant

Sajjad Hussain/ Islamabad
Zardari Invites Pak Leaders For Iftar After Anti-Army Rant

Asif Ali Zardari will host an Iftar tomorrow for leaders of Pakistan's political parties, a day after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif snubbed the ex-president following his outburst against the country's powerful army.

A party leader said that leaders of all political parties will be invited for the dinner at Zardari House in Islamabad.

He, however, said that it was not yet decided whether to invite Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Zardari is expected to use the opportunity to clear misunderstandings after his surprising outburst against the army, as he is known for making calculated remarks.

In an uncharacteristic speech in Peshawar on June 16, Zardari warned the army to avoid targeting his party in the southern Sindh province after the chief of paramilitary Rangers Major General Bilal Akbar accused politicians of involvement in corruption in Karachi.

Zardari, also the co-chairman of Pakistan People's Party (PPP), warned to name generals for their alleged wrongdoing if the campaign to weaken his party was not stopped.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday cancelled a meeting with him after the outburst and several political leaders asked Zardari to avoid such statements against the army.

Sharif has said that the criticism of the armed forces encourages destabilising factors in the country.

Army has not responded to Zardari's remarks as the military leadership often avoids getting involved in political controversies.

But Sharif defended the army and said it has given great sacrifices during the ongoing military campaign against militants in the country.

Zardari's party has begun the damage control exercise and former information minister Qamar Zaman Kaira today said that his speech was being quoted without context.

Civil-military relations are often rocky in Pakistan as military is powerful and has ruled almost of the history of the country since independence in 1947.

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