Early elections possible, says Zardari

PPP leader compares courts’ role in Sindh, Punjab

Z Ali January 11, 2018
Asif Ali Zardari addressing a news conference in Nawabshah on January 11, 2018. EXPRESS NEWS SCREEN GRAB

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Expressing his desire for the assemblies to continue functioning until the coming Senate elections, Pakistan Peoples Party-Parliamentarians President Asif Ali Zardari has said the early elections are no longer an improbability.

"As the situation is developing, if the mistakes of PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz], their government and the Sharifs continue, I don't think it's impossible," Zardari said while replying to a question about early elections.

Addressing a press conference at Zardari House in Nawabshah on Thursday, he said, "Nawaz Sharif's B-team is incapable of running the government."

PPP says no to early polls, national govt

However, the PPP leader sounded optimistic when asked if the Senate elections would be held.

He also ruled out a ‘technocrat set-up’ replacing the PML-N government as an interim arrangement before this year’s general elections, saying the Constitution did not provide for such a move. "I don't think any extra-constitutional step can be taken." He reiterated that the PPP, which founded the 1973 Constitution and removed through the 18th Amendment the laws introduced by dictators, would not allow an undemocratic step.

The former president criticised the government's foreign policy and underscored the necessity of maintaining good relations with the United States and Europe. "It will be a stupidity not to improve relations with the US." He believed that though aid and trade mattered, there would be no major implications if the US stopped or reduced both, “we have to maintain relations with the European Union and the US".

PTI backs down on early elections demand, wants them held on time

Commenting on claims that PPP was part of the move against Sanaullah Zehri's Balochistan government, Zardari said, "If I can do this while sitting here, I can be a big danger for Punjab government as well". He clarified that beyond his acquaintance and interaction with some members of Balochistan Assembly, he did not enjoy the clout to plot a government's dismissal in the province.

Echoing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif Sharif while expressing grievances against the judiciary, Zardari said that a year ago a court banned construction of buildings in Karachi and recently release of water from Rohri canal had been stopped. "I don't know if this enmity with us."

He said the construction industry had suffered in Karachi due to the ban. According to him, the canal's closure has affected tens of thousands of farming families because it irrigated around 2.6 million acres. "NAB (National Accountability Bureau) moved a mala fide application in the court and got it through on technical grounds."

NRO verdict: PML-N reiterates call for early elections

The PPP leader claimed that the courts dealt more stringently with the PPP's Sindh government in comparison with PML-N's Punjab government. "The issues which we have in Sindh, same exist in Punjab but the courts do not interfere there. Here we can't even remove an IG and their (Punjab) IG after retirement gets the job of security adviser".

Denying that he is responsible for the woes of the sugarcane farmers in Sindh because he allegedly owns sugar mills, he put the responsibility of the prevailing crisis in the sector on the federal government. He said the centre had not honoured its commitment of subsidising sugar export, which left the mills hard-pressed to pay the farmers for the crop.

Zardari said his party would continue supporting Pakistan Awami Tehreek leader Tahirul Qadri in his protest against the government. "It's a matter of 100 people [who died or were injured in the Model Town incident]."

He said the Punjab government had failed to stop incidents of rape and murder of children and he had heard that the DNA of one man had matched seven such cases in Kasur.

Zardari announced that if the PPP formed the next government he would reduce the airfare for Karbala, Iraq, by 30%.


Amir | 3 years ago | Reply Rape, forced conversions, murders are even more rampant in Interior Sindh and goes unreported. Will PPP leaders also resign?
Laghari | 3 years ago | Reply Nawaz & Zardari have taken vow to protect each other.
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