Fiery cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, who led a massive protest against Pakistan government, has claimed that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, who had once “carried him on their shoulders” to show their love and respect for him, had now started the “worst propaganda” against him.
Mr. Qadri, who heads the Tehrik Minhaj-ul-Quran, said the incident had occurred some years ago when the Sharif brothers were living in self-exile in Saudi Arabia.
“Both brothers once carried me on their shoulders up to the Ghar-e-Hira (Holy Mountain) in Mecca just to express their love and devotion to my ideology. Now they have started the worst propaganda against me,” said Mr. Qadri, who led a four-day sit-in by thousands of his supporters outside the Parliament here recently.
The cleric launched the protest to press the government to implement his charter of demands, including dissolution of Parliament and electoral reforms. The protest ended after Qadri and the government signed an agreement.
Mr. Qadri was very close to the Sharifs in the 1990s but later fell out with them.
He alleged at a news conference on Saturday that the Sharif brothers had allocated Rs. 3 billion from the PML-N government fund in Punjab to launch a “character assassination” campaign against him in the media.
“Both brothers are notorious for this,” he added.
Referring to his Canadian nationality and media reports about a summons issued to him by Canadian authorities for violating an oath made at the time of seeking asylum, Mr. Qadri said: “I got Canadian nationality after I resigned from (Pakistan’s) National Assembly in 2005.
“My name, as mentioned in my Pakistani and Canadian passports, is Tahir-ul-Qadri and not Abdul Shakoor Qadri. I had not sought refugee status in Canada on the pretext of receiving threats from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. I got the Canadian passport for being a religious leader in accordance with rules and regulations,” he claimed.