Pakistan's Sharif Blames Politics for Security Lapses
By Vivian Salama / Lahore Thursday, Mar. 05, 2009
The serene confines of Nawaz Sharif's sprawling Lahore estate belie his tumultuous career. He has thrice been Prime Minister of Pakistan, only to be exiled for seven years, returning recently to help his erstwhile rivals defeat a common nemesis, General Pervez Musharraf. In the meantime, the coalition between Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People's Party (led, until her assassination, by his constant antagonist Benazir Bhutto and now headed by her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan's President) has collapsed into bitter recrimination. Last week, the country's Supreme Court barred the ex-Premier and his brother, the Chief Minister of Punjab, from public office, a move Sharif accuses Zardari of masterminding. In an interview with TIME, Sharif spoke of his relations with Pakistan's President and other developments, including this week's attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team.
TIME: Many here in Pakistan were shocked and surprised by the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. In your opinion, how was the situation handled?
Sharif: Some better security arrangements should have been in place. So far nothing has come out; nobody has been caught or arrested. The government was too busy trying to get our party dislodged from [the Sharif family's stronghold] Punjab, and then they imposed governor's rule [direct rule of Punjab province by the Pakistani federal government] just a few days ago. (See pictures of the cricket-team attack.)
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