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PML-N refutes Zardari's claim of Shahbaz tipping off JUD prior to asset freeze order

December 2, 2010 - Islamabad

Reacting to the WikiLeaks' revelation about Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari claim that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had tipped off Jamaatud Dawa (JUD) about the United Nations' move to freeze its accounts, a PML-N spokesman has criticised the government for using a diplomatic forum to malign the opposition by levelling false charges against it.

"Use of diplomatic forum to obtain personal political gains is highly objectionable as well as regrettable," The Dawn quoted PML-N spokesman Ahsan Iqbal, as saying, while commenting on Zardari's remarks on Shahbaz, which was mentioned in a leaked US Embassy document.

According to the cable, during a meeting with the then US envoy to Pakistan, Anne Patterson, Zardari had said that "Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz Chief Minister Shabbaz Sharif had tipped off the JUD about the UNSCR 1267 mandated asset freeze, resulting in almost empty bank accounts. (Information from MOI does indicate that bank accounts contained surprisingly small amounts.)"

The PML-N leader said that the charges were false, and that even the US ambassador had informed Washington that Zardari's claim could not be verified independently.

The WikiLeaks documents had proved that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had never sought any US interference in the country's affairs, said Iqbal, adding that Sharif had never sought any support from the US for his party or for himself.

When asked about another leaked cable, according to which Sharif had given assurance to Patterson that the PML-N was a pro-American party, Iqbal justified it by saying that Sharif had actually stated this to counter the propaganda against his party.

According to Iqbal, Sharif's remarks came in the background of "a propaganda campaign being run by (former military ruler) Gen Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistan People's Party that the PML-N was an anti-US and pro-Taliban party."


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