The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was quick to claim credit for Nawaz Sharif’s election as prime minister on Wednesday, saying its government abolished the constitutional bar on running for the top office for a third time.
“The credit goes to PPP, which amended the constitutional restrictions on becoming prime minister for a third time,” said PPP’s prime ministerial candidate Makhdoom Amin Fahim as he felicitated Nawaz Sharif following his election. “I’m happy to see that democracy in Pakistan has found its feet and there is a smooth transition,” he added.
Fahim assured the new premier of his party’s support on issues of national interest, but at the same time warned that it would strongly oppose every wrong decision.
In his speech, the PPP leader claimed credit for constitutional amendments made during his party’s five-year rule and recalled that not a single politician was sent to jail under his party’s government.
Fahim then discussed the interference of the intelligence agencies in political affairs, mentioning the creation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) in 1990 and the 10-party alliance in Sindh to defeat PPP in the 2013 elections.
He also reminded Premier Nawaz of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and demanded the new administration implement the project. The PPP leader acknowledged that the power crisis was the biggest challenge facing the country and hoped that the new government would succeed in tackling it.
Other opposition parties
Nawaz’s second challenger Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) assured the new prime minister of his party’s support in resolving the multifaceted problems facing the country.
He said it was an historic day since the process of a peaceful democratic transition of power was completed. He added that PTI would support the new government’s good steps and oppose it whenever it took a wrong decision. “We will fully support the government strategy devised to stop drone attacks in the country.”
The PTI leader said that “differences apart, Nawaz was my leader and will remain my leader.”
He advised the new government to address the sense of deprivation among the smaller provinces. He said that PTI had accepted the results of elections despite reservations and demanded the government immediately hold local bodies elections.
On his part, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai, recalling Nawaz’s past proposals, urged him to work together with other parties for a ‘soft revolution’ in the country.
Talking about former president Pervez Musharraf, he said, “An individual is nothing and all those who supported him should also be brought to justice. Otherwise, the government should move on”.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Dr Farooq Sattar, while congratulating Nawaz, complained about the killings of his party’s workers in Karachi and urged the government to end such incidents. He also urged the government to bring Balochistan into the fold of Pakistan.
Wishing Nawaz success, chief of his eponymous faction of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman reminded him of his invitation for a collective effort to restore peace.
“There are several parliamentary resolutions [passed by the previous assembly] but they were not implemented due to international pressure,” he said. “Bring Parliament and our politics out of international pressure.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 6th, 2013.