A Pakistani newspaper has accused George W. Bush of thinking that Nawaz Sharif of the Muslim League-N is a Muslim fundamentalist, and of expressing worries about him on that score. In fact, Nawaz Sharif is a wealthy industrialist and his “Muslim League” is mainly a rebranding of the old Unionist landlord party of the colonial era. It is just an upper class conservative party, and most true fundamentalists vote instead for the Islamic Action Council, in which the Jamaat-i Islami is the major component. Nawaz showed dictatorial tendencies when he was prime minister, and he pushed for more Islamic law instead of secular law. But he offered to capture Usamah Bin Laden for the US and was willing to lessen Pakistani support for the Taliban under US pressure. He was less of a hawk on these issues than the secular Gen. Musharraf.
I cannot find the quote the newspaper attributes to Bush and so cannot vouch for its validity. But the article’s rage about Bush interfering in Pakistani politics in an ignorant way is pretty authentic.
This is an excerpt from a piece translated by the USG Open Source Center.
‘Pakistan: Editorial Urges People To Protest Against ‘Aggressive’ Remarks of Bush
Editorial: “Crusader Bush’s Strange Logic”
Monday, December 3, 2007
Document Type: OSC Translated Text
. . . In [President Bush’s] statement, while referring to the former prime minister and chief of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group (PML-N), Nawaz Sharif, the US President said: “He has contacts with religious parties, which makes his capability to fight the war on terror doubtful. Presence of such a leader in Pakistan, who is unaware of the requirements of today’s world and does not understand the importance of dealing with extremists nurturing a desire to attack other countries, will be a matter of grave concern for us.”
President Bush himself pursues deep Christian religious extremist views and has launched a crusade against Islamic countries as a crusader. He has killed hundreds of thousands of unarmed men, women, and children in Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of his claims of friendship with Pakistan, the US President is pursuing a program to deprive it of its nuclear capability and dismember the country. He has complaints against Sharif, a popular Pakistani leader, only because he regularly offers prayers and is not prepared to accept the so-called enlightened moderation.
President Bush’s act of expressing such views about an Islamic-minded political leader and religious parties of Pakistan is not only incompatible with diplomatic norms but also a flagrant interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs. While forcefully protesting against these aggressive remarks of President Bush, the Pakistani people should strongly condemn them. . . .
The Pakistani people do not need US aid as it never reaches the masses. The Pakistan Government should immediately dissociate itself from the so-called war on terror. . .
(Description of Source: Rawalpindi Nawa-e Waqt in Urdu — Privately owned, widely read, conservative Islamic daily, with circulation around 125,000. Harshly critical of the US and India.) ‘