Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's speech in Islamabad Friday becomes a notable moment in the country's tortuous path to democracy. Sharif is not above rhetoric, grandstanding or politiking and he understands the national mood. But Sharif also knew he was speaking within a day of the Corps Commanders Conference in Rawalpindi suggesting that he and his party should stop directing further criticism of the military. Yesterday's was no doubt a most defiant speech.
Sharif accused the military leadership of warped mindset; deception; intrusive behaviour and undermining rule of law; messing up Afghan policies and Kashmir issue(read relations with India); hogging the country's budget; responsibility for Abbottabad and Mehran incidents. Sharif threatened that he would launch a 'long march' to force the military to return to the barracks and stick to its vocation.
Sharif tore into the military leadership and the ISI in a way that makes it difficult for army chief Gen Parvez Kayani to ignore. A flash point arises if Sharif continues on this track. What a splendid irony that Washington did all it could to keep him out of power!