MARDAN: Advising Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not to rejoice over the verdict of the apex court in the Panamagate case, the Pakistan People Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday said none of the judges in the bench had given Sharif a ‘clean chit’.
“Nawaz Sharif shouldn’t celebrate the decision. He has not won the case as none of the judges has given him a clean chit,” Zardari said while addressing a rally in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (K-P) Mardan district.
This was PPP’s first public rally in the district after a gap of ten years. The PPP’s slain chief Benazir Bhutto had last visited Mardan in 2007 prior to her assassination ahead of the 2008 polls.
Visiting Mardan on the request of Khawaja Hoti, who has recently joined the party after parting ways with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PPP supremo claimed that “PM Nawaz Sharif will have to go soon”.
We will throw Nawaz out just as we sent Musharraf packing: Zardari
Zardari, however, expressed wonder at the apex court decision which both the opposing groups – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and its archrival PTI – have hailed as their success.
Talking with reference to the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the PPP chief said the federal government had deceived Pukhtuns in the name of CPEC’s western corridor.
The former president also attacked the central government for blocking the Identity cards of the people from Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).
“They [Pakhtun’s] are citizens of this country and those who have blocked their CNICs are criminals. I strongly condemned discrimination against Pakhtun brothers and sisters and condemn blockage of their CNICs,” he added.
He said he will reach each and every area of the K-P and Fata, adding that Fata's merger with the K-P was a dream of Benazir Bhutto. “We have given them identity, name and autonomy in the real sense,” he claimed.
Zardari also took jibe at the PTI chairman Imran Khan – whose party rules the K-P – and said Imran called himself a Pakhtun but could not utter a single word of that language.
Imran throws down gauntlet at PML-N, PPP
“He is really a Niazi and his roots could be traced to General Tiger Niazi, who laid down arms [before Indian army] and was the source of defeat in Bengal [former East Pakistan],” he said.
Zardari also criticised Imran for calling himself a leader of the youth. “How could a person – who is four years older than I am – be a leader of the youth. [The PPP Chairman] Bilawal is young and represents youth of the country,” he said.
He said the PPP respects sacrifices of the armed forces for the peace and prosperity of the country. “Through their sacrifices we have witnessed peace in Malakand division and Fata,” he added
Meanwhile, the party announced to kick off an agitation campaign against the ruling party for its failure in resolving basic issues – like load-shedding, health and education conditions and security situation.
“Apart from these core issues, the campaign is motivated to increase pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down over Panama issue,” said the PPP Central Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira while addressing a news conference in Lahore on Monday.
Kaira said after the apex court verdict premier Sharif has lost moral grounds to hold the prime minister’s office, adding that all opposition parties – including the PPP, PTI, PML, JI and PAT – were demanding the prime minister’s resignation.
The PPP leader said his party had decided to hold a joint meeting of the PPP central Punjab and local leadership at Minar-e-Pakistan on May 4.
“We will pay back Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the same coin by holding hand fans [as a protest against load-shedding]. The PML-N had done a similar protest during our rule.
[WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM IMRAN ADNAN IN LAHORE]
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