TANDO ALLAHYAR: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has claimed that the federal government led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will not be able to stay in power for long.
“Whether there will be a national government or an early election, I can’t predict. But I am certain they [the PTI] are unable to govern the country,” Zardari said on Tuesday while talking to the media in Tando Allahyar district.
When asked if the PPP would support the PTI government if it faced an ouster before completing its term, Zardari said, “The powers that gave them the government can support them. Why should we?”
He said he had conveyed to the establishment that the manner in which it had planned to conduct the July 25 general election and ‘puppets’ were being installed was not congruent with the geopolitical and local conditions, which were not favourable for such a change.
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“In the prevailing conditions, the country needs a proper leadership which is connected with the ground realities,” he said. But he hastened to add that the worst democracy was still better than the best dictatorship. “This is the reason we accepted the election results and are sitting in parliament,” he said.
“Our objective is to somehow strengthen the democracy and not to provide someone an excuse to say that the democratic forces can’t deliver and that they should pack up and go home.”
Zardari claimed that the PTI was falling apart at the seams and was heading towards overturning the existing dispensation because of its ‘immature’ political approach. “They lack political thought and understanding.”
He accused the PTI of attempting to revive the ‘One Unit’ system which was imposed by Gen Ayub Khan. “When we got the opportunity we restored the 1973 Constitution. Now they [PTI] say there are certain provisions in the 18 Amendment which should be expunged but their real aim is to abrogate the 1973 Constitution and restore the One Unit system.”
Zardari criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for repeatedly threatening to put the opposition parties’ leadership in the jail. “We have been to prisons. We have the courage and patience to persevere. But can Khan afford to go to jail and for how many days can he survive there?”
The PPP’s leader warned that the prime minister would reap what he was sowing. He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was also hoisted by his own petard.
“Mian sahib made accountability courts and laws for me but today he is himself suffering at the hands of his own creation. Similarly, if Khan does what Mian Sahib did with others then someone will do the same with Khan in the future.”
Zardari vowed to continue the political fight for strengthening democracy. “These wars will continue. They can test our courage, and we will test their cruelty.”
The PPP leader opposed the ongoing anti-encroachment operation across the country and censured the PTI for depriving thousands of people of their livelihood while rendering as many others without shelter.
He said the government had been demolishing shops and houses while inviting the people to live in the tents. He suggested that a plan to provide alternate accommodation and venues for trade should have preceded the demolition exercise.
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Replying to a question, he said PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was not summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). According to him, the FIA called him [Zardari], his sister Faryal and some other persons who were handed questionnaires, which have been answered.
In reply to another question, Zardari said the performance of his party and provincial ministers had helped them win the highest number of seats in Sindh Assembly in this year’s elections.
Commenting on United States President Donald Trump’s recent letter acknowledging Pakistan’s sacrifices, Zardari said the country had confronted a series of challenges in the region.
“Benazir Bhutto [former PPP chairperson], leaders of Awami National Party and other parties and common Pakistanis have been martyred by the terrorists. We are ourselves victims of terror. But we are being dealt with as if we are appeasing or producing terrorism.”
He claimed that the PM and his party lacked vision in the realm of foreign policy. “They are unable to see beyond demolishing walls of the governor houses. They don’t know that even museums require boundary walls,” he added.