KARACHI / KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PTI) on Thursday came face to face with the ruling party seeking disqualification of the PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP filing a tit-for-tat petition against Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet member, Faisal Vawda.
The ruling PTI was the first to approach the provincial office of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking disqualification of Zardari in view of the former president’s non-disclosure of an alleged New York flat.
The application, filed along with documents of the said property by the PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman, said Zardari violated the law by not disclosing his full assets in the nomination papers he submitted to the ECP for contesting the July 25 general election.
Referring to Zardari’s alleged property in the US, Zaman said: “It has come to my knowledge that Mr Zardari owns an apartment in Belaire Condominiums located at 524 East 72 Street, New York. He has not declared this asset in his nomination form under section 60 (2) of the Election Act 2017.
“He [Zardari] should be disqualified from holding public officer under Article 62 (1) as in my opinion he ceases to be truthful and sagacious,” the application said, requesting the ECP to examine the matter and take the action if it is proved.
“Zardari is former president of Pakistan and co-chairman of a political party. As former president of the country, he is a role model to the nation, therefore he must be transparent and truthful when it comes to declaring assets,” Zaman added.
The application was moved soon after Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced in Islamabad that “the PTI Karachi chapter will be approaching election commission seeking disqualification of Zardari who has concealed his property.”
Speaking to media, Zaman who was flanked by Firdous Shamim Naqvi, opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly said, “The days of corrupt people are numbered. You will soon see them behind bars.”
Naqvi said the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML N) leadership have looted public money and action must be taken against them. “We have done our job; Zardari has to prove if he is innocent,” he said.
Responding to the PTI’s move, the PPP quickly swung into action as its leader Farhatullah Babar filed a petition in the ECP against Prime Minister Imran Khan and Federal Minister for Water Faisal Vawda.
In the petition, Babar sought details of Khan’s and Vawda’s assets and the poll campaign expenses. He also sought details of the assets of the PM’s sister Aleema Khanum and money trail. Babar, also in a plea filed to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), sought details of the PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen’s ‘Benami accounts’.
Earlier addressing a press conference, Sindh former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah said anti-PPP actions are not new and were started when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched his party.
“Some quarters are always busy hatching conspiracies against the PPP and its leadership, but we will not succumb to any pressure and will continue our struggle for the masses,” he said, adding that services rendered by the PPP for the people and democracy are matchless.
Zardari appearance in Karachi
Fearing arrest of Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur who will appear before a banking court in Karachi today [Friday] in connection with a money laundering case, the PPP has asked leaders and workers to reach court premises.
The PPP women wing in a message issued to workers and leaders in Karachi said, “All are informed that Asif Zardari sahib is appearing in court. So, you are asked to reach court by 8.30 am and inform other people to show up.” The message was issued by PPP women wing Karachi President Shahida Rehmani.
The banking court in its last hearing extended the interim bail of Zardari and his sister till December 21 (today) in the Rs35 billion money laundering case. Some reports suggested that the court might cancel the bail paving the way for their arrest.
Sources in the PPP told The Express Tribune that PPP leadership has directed the party to launch vigorous campaign against the PTI government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in case Zardari and Talpur are arrested. The PPP leaders have also started backdoor contacts with the PML-N and other parties to get their sympathies on this issue.
PPP decides to resist
Meanwhile, the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the party would offer resistance against lodging of political cases against the party leaders and their arrests.
Addressing a meeting of the PPP parliamentary party of the Senate and National Assembly, Bilawal said: “Enough is enough. Political vendetta will not be tolerated.”
According to sources, the meeting discussed the cases against party leadership. The lawmakers were briefed on the legal and political strategy of the party. Sources said the PPP will raise effective voice in the Senate and the National Assembly against political revenge.
The PPP leader Maula Bukhsh Chandio said historic decisions will be taken and announced in the central executive committee meeting to be presided over by Bilawal on December 26.
“Those who think the PPP is a weak now will know its real power. Any effort to suppress the PPP will not succeed. The PPP will be on roads [if the situation continued],” he said.
[WITH INPUT FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN ISLAMABAD]