ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday came out in defence of the Pakistan Armed forces and criticised statement made by former president Zardari the night before.
The prime minister said the country was in a state of war, with officers of the Pakistan Army making headway in Operation Zarb-e-Azb. He said at a time like this criticising the armed forces is unacceptable. He stressed that the Army has full support of the people of Pakistan.
The statement from PM House quoted Nawaz as saying during a meeting on political consultations with top aides that criticism of the armed forces encourages destabilising factors in the country, adding that under the current circumstances criticising the armed forces was not an appropriate step.
He further said that the operation against terrorism is in its critical stages, adding that national unity was the need of hour.
“Coordination between the civilian and military leadership has strengthened democracy. This harmony is evident in the decisions taken by the All Parties Conferences (APC) during which the civilian and military leadership set joint national targets,” the statement said.
Nawaz also underscored that the process should continue with the same passion.
The prime minister added that democracy has been strengthened because there is harmony between the political leadership and military leadership.
He stressed that criticism of the army will only embolden those trying to destabilise Pakistan.
Addressing party workers in Peshawar on Tuesday, Asif Ali Zardari warned against character assassination of his party (PPP), saying if they started doing the same then no one would be spared including army generals. “Army is our institution,” he added.
Zardari went on to say that army chiefs come and go every three years but the political leadership is here to stay. “I don’t want the national institutions to weaken.”
Nawaz Sharif , in reaction to Zardari’s statement also excused himself from meeting with the former President. According to sources, arrangements and protocol for the meeting had been finalised but the prime minister excused himself due to other commitments.
Reports say the former president’s criticism of the military establishment in a speech on Tuesday was the reason behind the prime minister cancelling the meeting. The prime minister was advised to not meet Zardari at this time as it would send the wrong message.
PPP sources said that a meeting had been scheduled between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the former president. PPP leader Senator Farhatullah Babar confirmed there would be no meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former President Zardari today (Wednesday).