PML(N) Leader Mian Nawaz Sharif has recently been highlighted by the American Press for his popularity in the Country.Aitezaz Ahsan has urged that America should join hands with him. He said. “If you befriend him, you can get him to move mountains.”
Nawaz Sharif denied in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that he has had links with religious hardliners. Although members of the PML-N sometimes characterize the war on terror as America’s war and not Pakistan’s, Nawaz distanced himself from this view. We hope at least now when major political issues were resolved with the new Reconciliation strategy, two largest parties of the country will be focused against the most important threat we are facing as a nation.Nawaz Sharif clear stance at this time has the realization of the current situations as extremist elements have intensified their attacks towards Punjab. Along with it various reports are drawing attentions
Towards the alarming influence of the sectarian elements in Southern Punjab. These elements are close allies of the Jihadi elements. The political leadership will come to a consensus towards that issue; the recent Interview has clear indication towards that.

(Ali Arqam)

INTERVIEW-Pakistan’s Sharif gives Obama plan cautious Welcome

LAHORE, Pakistan, March 31 (Reuters) – Pakistan’s influential opposition leader Nawaz Sharif said on Tuesday the new U.S. administration was much better than the previous one, but needed to understand his country’s concerns as it battles extremism.

As the most popular politician in Pakistan, and someone ultimately likely to get a third chance to run the country after two stormy spells as prime minister in the 1990s, Sharif is being actively courted by the United States.

He said reaction to President Barack Obama’s new plan for Pakistan and Afghanistan, announced last week, had been “mixed” in his country.

“As we are very willing to address the concerns of all our allies and friends, I think they should also understand our problems and handicaps,” he told Reuters in his sprawling, opulent and heavily guarded estate on the outskirts of Lahore.

“It has to be reciprocal.”

Obama last week announced a tripling of U.S. development aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion a year, but said there would be no “blank cheque” — Pakistan had to prove it was sincere in its efforts to counter an alarming rise in Islamist militancy. [ID: nN26525038]

At the same time, U.S. generals have publicly accused Pakistan’s military Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the ISI, of maintaining links to al Qaeda and Taliban militants battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Sharif rejected those charges, saying there was not “any room for any suspicion of the ISI”.

“ANTI-AMERICAN FEELING”

He also called for an end to American drone attacks on Pakistan’s rugged and conservative tribal regions, which have led to civilian casualties and inflamed anti-American sentiment.

Those attacks have continued this year as U.S. forces target senior al Qaeda leaders believed to be sheltering there.

Obama said the United States would continue to go after al Qaeda in Pakistan, but would not send troops across the Afghan border into Pakistani territory, as happened in the past.

“Some of the policies followed by President Bush have given rise to a lot of anti-American feeling in Pakistan,” Sharif said.

“For example the drone attacks are affecting our relationship. The people of Pakistan have criticized them very severely. It damages the sovereignty of our country. On this issue the United States of America must move carefully.”

Sharif considered imposing sharia law, and has often been accused of having links to religious conservative hardliners.

He dismissed the accusation as propaganda unleashed by the man who deposed him in a coup, General Pervez Musharraf.

Nevertheless, members of his Pakistan Muslim League sometimes characterize the war on militants as being America’s war, not Pakistan’s. Sharif distanced himself from this view.

“The concerns of the West are genuine and they need to be addressed in all seriousness. The problems Pakistan faces are very tough and very serious, and in fact are endangering our state in a very serious way.

“I personally think that no party single-handedly, whether in the government, or outside the government, would be able to deal with these problems. We all will have to fight these problems together.”

Sadly, the chances for political unity in Pakistan appear slim, with Sharif locked in a bitter battle with President Asif Ali Zardari for months.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court suspended a ruling barring Sharif and his brother from holding elected office.

Speaking shortly before that decision, Sharif said Zardari still needed to surrender sweeping presidential powers and restore them to the prime minister, as he had promised to do, warning the country would be “very unlucky” if he did not.