KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Wednesday alleged that the party is being denied a level playing field and is being pressured from different quarters in the run-up to general elections scheduled for July 25.
The press release by the party claimed that two officials of an intelligence agency in Sukkur and Badin and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) were actively working against party members and supporting the opposition.
The statement also described the slew of "media trials" against former president Asif Ali Zardari and sister Faryal Talpur as political victimisation and an attempt to rig polls before the upcoming general elections.
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PPP leaders in the statement also said they found the timing of the case particularly suspicious.
"The PPP and President Zardari have always faced down cases and witch hunts without ever running away. This is all part of what looks like an elaborate conspiracy to rig the polls and strip PPP of a level playing field. From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Punjab and Sindh, all across the country our candidates and supporters are being pressed to switch loyalties and change their political tickets," the party leaders said during the media address.
Party leaders further pointed out that this investigation, its timing and the resulting media trial at this point in the campaign smacks of intent to damage the party leadership and influence their voters.
"The fact that the investigation is headed up by Director-General (DG) of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Bashir Memon, whose brother is contesting the election against the PPP in Matiari, Sindh, and whom the PPP's election cell requests to be removed for his politically charged behaviour is all the more malicious," the statement stated.
In Sindh, they continued, the micromanagement of the election is evident at all levels of political tiers, the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and its allies are being 'generously' facilitated. In Punjab, the same process is 'magnified' across the province.
"There's a sense that there's a new Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) being made for 2018, Bilawal's campaign has also encountered alarming roadblocks and media blackouts all over the country. First in Lyari, then on the way to Uch Sharif, then later in Multan. Jalsa permissions are also held up or plainly denied in many parts of KP while others are being allowed."
Senior leaders of the party also emphasised the scale of disinformation, adding that the amounts mentioned allege that the Zardari Group is involved in white collar crimes and money laundering of Rs35 billion and more. They claimed that this was factually incorrect and deliberately misleading, adding that the company in question has not done anything illegal or was not used at any point for any criminal activity.
"Even the amount it allegedly transacted business is one and a half crore rupees, which as a loan was on record returned. None of this amounts to money laundering or criminal transactions. Both are allegations which shall be contested in court," the press release added.
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The PPP leaders further stated that they were deeply saddened at the placement of Zardari and Talpur on the Exit Control List (ECL), given that deposed premier Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz were not placed on the list even during their months of trial and investigation.
"This made clear the double standards of justice," they added.
"The same uneven playing field is on display wherever we campaign, as our posters and display messages are being systematically removed while others carry on with their voting symbol and candidates faces all over the constituencies," added the statement
Zardari and Talpur failed to appear today [July 11] before an FIA team investigating the alleged money laundering scam.