Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar on Thursday spoke about events unfolding across the world, including in India’s neighbourhood, as he described former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan as ‘a leader who tried to give a direction to his country.’
“A different kind of situation is prevailing in the world today. A powerful country like Russia is attacking a small country like Ukraine, youngsters in Sri Lanka are on the road, fighting, and the leaders of that country have gone underground,” Pawar said in Pune’s Kondhwa, addressing an ‘Eid Milan’ ceremony.
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The 81-year-old leader then spoke about Imran Khan, without naming the latter. “In neighbouring Pakistan, where you and I have brothers, a leader took reins of the prime minister’s post. An attempt was made to show a direction to that country, but he was ousted from power and a different picture is seen there now,” he said.
Imran, 69, a legendary former cricketer under whose captaincy Pakistan won the World Cup in 1992, was, last month, ousted by the opposition as the premier of the nuclear-armed nation. Throughout his premiership, which he assumed in August 2018, Khan was subjected to taunts of being a ‘puppet’ of the powerful army, and a ‘selected prime minister.’ He was succeeded by the incumbent Shehbaz Sharif, the younger brother of former PM Nawaz Sharif.
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Pawar, meanwhile, further said that as a Union Minister and cricket administrator, he visited Pakistan many times. “Be it Lahore, Karachi, wherever we went, warm welcome was accorded to us. Once, we were in Karachi with our team for a match. A day later, players expressed their desire to see the places around them. We went to a restaurant for breakfast and when we tried to pay the bill, the restaurant owner refused. He said that we were his guests,” the former Maharashtra chief minister recalled.
Common Pakistanis are not India’s enemy and in their country, conflict is favoured by only those who want to do politics, he remarked.
(With PTI inputs)