Zardari calls rulers ‘arrogant like Saddam’

Says PPP contested ‘NRO elections’ of 2013 for the sake of democracy

Our Correspondent March 24, 2017
PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari used a Pakistan Day event on Thursday to fire a broadside at the ruling Sharif family calling them ‘arrogant and dictatorial’ in their demeanor. “I can notice arrogance in the rulers, the kind of arrogance displayed by dictators such as Saddam Hussein and others,” he said while referring to the former strongman of Iraq.

Speaking at the event organised at Bilawal House by his party, Zardari also cast doubts on the credibility of the 2013 election likening it to the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), a controversial law introduced by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007 to grant amnesty to politicians and bureaucrats accused of corruption, money laundering, murder, and terrorism.

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“The ‘NRO election’ conducted by Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the then chief justice of Pakistan, were of no political value but our party took part in it for the sake of democracy” he told the audience. “The PPP remains in mainstream politics for Pakistan’s sake.”

Zardari reminded the audience that he had raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Khappay [Pakistan is here to stay] soon after the assassination of his wife and former PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto. “Cherishing love for Pakistan is my first and foremost priority and it is for political leaders like me to protect the younger generation.”

He also hit out at detractors who claim the PPP has lost its popularity, saying that “governments come and go, but the Pakistan Peoples Party is here to stay.”

Zardari also recalled how his party’s government had apologised to the people of Balochistan for the accesses done to them in the past. “At the time we were severely criticised for apologising to the people of Balochistan,” he recalled.

Eulogising the services of Benazir for parliamentary democracy, Zardari said she had put up a fight against the dictatorial regime of the then army chief Gen Ziaul Haq.

He dismissed the government’s claims that the country was making progress as a network of roads and motorways was being built. “The rulers are pursuing only those projects which offer them lucrative kickbacks,” he alleged.

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He claimed that the rulers did not have the welfare of the poor, labourers and peasants at their heart. “They have no plans for [increasing the quantum of irrigation] water for farmers or [creating new] employment opportunities.”

Commenting on the situation in the Middle East, Zardari said he had tried to make the international community realise the consequences of the conflict in Syria. “I had warned at that time that thousands of people would die as a result of the conflict in Syria but the world did not realise.”

Stressing the need for safeguarding Pakistan, he said a safe Pakistan guaranteed everyone’s survival.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2017.


Ch. K. A. Nye | 4 years ago | Reply @Parvez: Parvez sb., it sounds absurd because it is. They say an opening and went for it. The opening? A opportunity to make mega-bucks and perpetuate a dynasty.
Ch. K. A. Nye | 4 years ago | Reply The NRO was thrust upon us by the USofA to implement their brand of democracy. Who was the main beneficiary?
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