Former president and co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday criticised the government for the ‘victimisation’ of former premiers Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, and ex-federal minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim.
In an official statement, Zardari termed the implication of the three PPP leaders in several corruption cases a “witch-hunt behind the façade of accountability” and said it “bode ill for the politics of tolerance, accommodation and reconciliation”.
The former president said national policy decisions, “whether in rental power plants, subsidies or concessions,” were taken collectively and transparently by the cabinet. As such, he said, singling out a former prime minister was wrong.
He added that it was unfair that only public representatives were accused of wrongdoing in such cases and not a single sponsor of the projects was indicted. “This only confirms [our] apprehensions of political victimisation.”
Zardari claimed that while the PPP, during its time in power, sought to protect democracy through political reconciliation, the current government was chasing its opponents and undermining the unity of political forces.
He added that the treatment of PPP leaders Gilani, Ashraf and Fahim was similar to the hounding of former premier Benazir Bhutto in the late 1990s.
The former president called upon the government to review its policies and end the ‘witch-hunt and political victimisation’ of its opponents. He also cautioned the media against highlighting unsubstantiated charges, saying, “This is a dangerous proclivity that will have far reaching consequences and must be eschewed.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2014.
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