ISLAMABAD: Two days after expelling the PPP from its Punjab government, the PML-N Sunday said it would go for ‘other options’ if President Asif Zardari could not take firm measures to curb the unbridled corruption.
A spokesperson for the party, however, did not specify in a statement the ‘options’ the PML-N believed were available to it.
“The PML-N will continue to monitor the Zardari administration’s performance very closely,” said Ahsan Iqbal, the party spokesperson and a member of the National Assembly. “It will play its democratic role to check massive corruption prevalent in the government if no concrete steps are taken (to eradicate it).”
Though Iqbal did not mention it explicitly, in recent months the party has been alluding to the possibility that it might call for fresh parliamentary elections this year.
Iqbal said that the party would not have expelled the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from the Punjab government had President Zardari lived up to his promises of eradicating corruption and improving governance.
“The Zardari administration’s broken promises and poor performance made it inevitable for the PML-N to part ways with the PPP in Punjab,” the spokesperson said.
Corruption, inflation, unemployment and poverty had crossed all limits and were the outcome of the politics of patronage and bad governance pursued by the federal government, Iqbal added. He said that the PML-N went out of the way to help the federal government in implementing the reforms agenda which the country needed desperately but the Zardari administration exhibited no seriousness and concern.
“As a result there was no option left with the PML-N but to disengage with PPP in order to clearly demonstrate that it is not a party to the Zardari administration’s politics of plunder and loot,” said Iqbal.
Iqbal said that the Charter of Democracy (CoD) — an agreement two parties signed back in 2006 — made it binding on both the groups follow politics of good governance and to fight corruption.
“Zardari should have done that, if he wanted us to continue to support him,” the spokesperson explained.
Article 63-A was originally introduced as part of the 14th Amendment to the constitution in the 1990s, during the second term of Nawaz Sharif as prime minister, largely to help prevent the kind of changes in party loyalty that had made coalition politics so volatile during the so-called “decade of democracy.” It was hoped that by making crossing party lines illegal, coalitions would be more stable.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2011.