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Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday that he had asked the ousted prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, not to rule a democratic country like a Mughal prince, but to no avail.
Zardari, the former President of Pakistan, was addressing PPP workers in Nowshera as part of his two-day visit to Peshawar and Nowshera.
“Nawaz was ruling the country like he was Shahzada Salim,” he said, referring to the son of Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Mohammed Akbar. “In the past we have rescued his [Nawaz] government but, unfortunately, he has not learnt a thing.”
He added that a democratic ruler should not be like a king and no one should be above the law. He lamented that senior PPP leaders had been put behind bars on mere accusations of corruption while elements in the federal and Punjab governments had a free hand.
“The corruption at the Punjab and federal government levels is much more rampant than in any other part of the country but no action taken against it. If everyone falls under the law then why is there no action against the corrupt elements of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N),” Zardari asked.
Zardari dismisses talk of deal in his acquittal
He specified that the ‘charter of democracy’ was not relevant anymore, adding that during the NA-120 election, everyone from the chief ministers to the prime minister were at PML-N’s disposal, so how could a PPP candidate participate in the election.
Broadside at PTI
Zardari accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of not even being able to handle the annual budget spending.
“Despite making claims of bringing about health reforms, they still have not been able to deal with a mosquito problem,” he said, while referring to the recent dengue outbreak in Peshawar.
“Do not be disappointed though, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) is a powerful province and the PPP realises its potential and will use it to bring it out of its current turmoil,” Zardari told the gathering at Nowshera.
He said that Imran Khan, the PTI chief, was a cricketer and was best suited to that job. “Everybody has their own interests in K-P”, but the PPP would like to cater to the people and their interests, he assured the gathering.
The PPP leader went on to speak about Khan’s personal life, alleging that a person who could not uphold justice at home, could not be expected to uphold justice for the people of K-P. He also questioned what PTI had done for the province and its people during the last four years.
‘PPP to form govt’
Zardari made claims that the next chief minister would be from the PPP, adding that if the party was not in the sitting government, it would definitely be on the opposition benches.
“We have given an identity to this province,” Zardari told his workers.
Clarifying that the Benazir Income Support Programme was initiated in K-P and that if the PPP was elected into power, it would start a youth programme to train and educate them, with the provision of a monthly stipend. He also spoke about creating thousands of new merit-based jobs for the youth.
The PPP workers also staged protests outside the residence of Humayun Khan as he did not give Zardari time to meet him. They blocked the road and chanted slogans against the provincial leadership of the party.
The people of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) had been facing wars for the last 35 years that had destroyed their infrastructure, said Zardari, accusing the present government of not making the required effort to bring tribal areas into the mainstream.
He said that no one could imagine the losses incurred by the people of Fata, insisting it was about time someone offered them relief.
Lauding his own party, he said only PPP had made efforts for the people of Fata and that the party would help bring them on a par with citizens in other parts of the country, whether politically or constitutionally.
“The Taliban are still a threat to us and we are only standing strong because of the resilience of our people,” he said, referring to a recent bomb blast in Bajaur. “If any other country was going through the security situation as ours, they would have come to a standstill.”
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