Islamabad: Setting aside the rivalry that has characterised their relations in recent years, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday hosted a farewell lunch for outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari.
Sharif described the event as "historic" as for the first time in the country`s 66-year history, an elected premier was bidding farewell to an elected President who is completing his five-year tenure.
"This is an unprecedented golden chapter being added to the annals of our history. It’s a new history in the making," said Sharif, the head of the ruling PML-N.
Sharif credited Zardari, the de-facto chief of the main opposition Pakistan People`s Party, for introducing the 18th constitutional amendment and restoring the 1973 Constitution.
Zardari and Sharif, in their statements at the luncheon at the Prime Minister`s House, acknowledged the warmth and support extended to each other despite their political differences.
After the 2008 polls, the PML-N joined a government led by the PPP but the coalition ended within six months. The PPP was routed by Sharif`s party in the election held in May.
Recalling the "pleasant memories" of a meeting in Jeddah with Zardari and his slain wife, former premier Benazir Bhutto, and the signing of the Charter of Democracy in Dubai, Sharif said a spirit of goodwill prevailed among them for restoring democracy in Pakistan.
Sharif said memories could be both sweet and bitter but his heart was only filled with pleasant ones and he wanted to bid adieu to Zardari with sweet memories.