Holding President Asif Ali Zardari responsible for the Supreme Court order barring him from contesting polls, former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that if Benazir Bhutto were alive today, his party would not have had to witness the present state of affairs.
Addressing a rally of hundreds of his supporters at Sheikhupura in Punjab province, Sharif said Zardari had used
"hand-picked judges" appointed by former President Pervez Musharraf to deliver the verdict barring him and his brother, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, from contesting polls and holding public office.
The "bogus" court's order had inflicted "tremendous harm" but the people had risen up against it, Sharif said as his supporters shouted slogans against Zardari. "This gathering is a referendum against Zardari," Sharif said.
Blaming Zardari for the current situation, Sharif described the President's late wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, as "his sister" "If Benazir Bhutto were alive today, we would not have had to witness the present state of affairs," he said.
Following Wednesday's court order, Zardari imposed governor's rule for two months in Punjab, Pakistan's most
populous province and traditional power centre. The move sparked angry protests by Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz activists across the country.
Sharif said he had told Shahbaz not to accept the court's judgement. "Go and start sitting in the Punjab assembly. People neither accept the Governor or Governor's Rule. These judges cannot disqualify you," he said.
Sharif also accused Zardari, the chief of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, of deceiving him several times when the PML-N was part of the ruling coalition at the centre last year. The PML-N pulled out of the alliance after accusing
Zardari of reneging on several promises.
However, Zardari said during a meeting with his supporters this afternoon that the PPP did not believe in confrontation but also knew "how to meet political challenges" that come its way.