ISLAMABAD: The farewell reception hosted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday had all the flavor of nostalgia as the two leaders fondly cherished the memories of their political associations.
Zardari and Nawaz Sharif in their statements at the luncheon at PM House acknowledged the warmth and support extended to each other despite their political differences, for the sake of democracy.Recalling the “pleasant memories” – from the meeting in Jeddah with Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, and the signing of Charter of Democracy in Dubai to the Raiwind rendezvous, Nawaz Sharif said the spirit of goodwill prevailed among them for the sake of restoration of democracy. Sharif said memories could be both sweet and bitter but his heart was only filled with the pleasant ones, and he wanted to bid adieu to President Zardari with the sweet memories.
He said Asif Zardari’s warm-hearted approach during the Jeddah meeting and taking lead in interactions proved that this leader had the intent to turn this social alliance into an important milestone of politics.Nawaz Sharif said the memories were so fresh as he could still feel the scent of the roses which were presented to him by the daughters of Asif Zardari and Mohtarma Benazir at a lunch hosted by them at their London residence.He recalled Asif Zardari’s visit to his house in Murree after he gained success in 2008 elections. He said he had extended felicitations to Zardari on his victory from the core of his heart.
He said he could not forget the moments of grief when he paid a visit to Naudero to condole the death of Mohtarma Bhutto.Prime Minister Sharif paid tributes to President Zardari for completing his tenure by upholding the spirit of reconciliation and introducing the spirit of personal rapport and camaraderie in politics.He termed it a historic moment as for the very first time an elected Prime Minister was bidding farewell to an elected President who was completing his five-year tenure in the country’s 66-year history.“This is an unprecedented golden chapter being added to the annuls of our history. It’s a new history in the making,” the Prime Minister said.
Nawaz Sharif said credit goes to Asif Zadari for sagaciously introducing 18th amendment and restoring the 1973 Constitution.He said Pakistan Muslim League(N) always promoted this ideology that the governments should be formed in accordance with the people’s will and continued the tradition of opposing dictatorship.The Prime Minister prayed for the health and long life of President Zardari to carry forward his mission to work for the country’s prosperity.
“I am saying you goodbye with all the sincere wishes and prayers. I am sure that your party, in your leadership, will continue its democratic traditions. The prosperity of country and its people and strengthening the democracy is our common agenda,” he said.He also welcomed the President-elect Mamnoon Hussain, to whom he regarded as a strong believer of democracy, to serve the country in the same manner his predecessor did.President Zardari thanked Prime Minister Sharif for hosting the farewell reception for him.
He said Pakistan Peoples Party would fully support the PML(N) government and would not involve in politicking before five years till the announcement of next general elections.He expressed hope that Pakistan would achieve self-reliance in its way to the journey towards becoming an Asian Tiger.He stressed respecting each other’s views rather than ridiculing and humiliating each other at television channels.He said he also had some painful memories of the arrest of his prime minister wife and children at the PM House years back, however said “I never let these affect me and turned my pain into my strength”.The reception was attended by President and Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, federal ministers, services chiefs and leaders of political parties. – APP