Angry outburst: PPP co-chairman fires broadside at establishment

Published: June 17, 2015
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS Asif Zardari speaks at a reception of party workers in Islamabad. PHOTO: INP
ISLAMABAD: 

In a surprising outburst ostensibly against the powerful security establishment, Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that politicians were better suited to running the affairs of the country. “You are here for only three years,” he said in an apparent jab at the army chief.

Addressing an oath-taking ceremony for PPP office-bearers from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Zardari said, “I know the art of war better than anyone else.”

Organised by former MNA and PPP Fata President Akhunzada Chattan, the event was attended by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and other prominent leaders of the former ruling party.

The PPP co-chairman expressed annoyance at the purported character-assassination campaign against him and his party. “It needs to stop! There is a limit to everything.”

Warning the establishment, which he accused of tarnishing PPP’s and his image, Zardari said, “Anyone who tries to disturb us will get a befitting response. Be wary! If this doesn’t stop now, I shall come out with a list of generals who have been accused starting from the time Pakistan came into being. And then you’ll spend the rest of your lives providing explanations.”

In an apparent reference to the power he is supposed to wield, the former president said he could bring the whole country to a standstill on a single call. “If I give one call, the whole country from Karachi to Khyber will come to a grinding halt. The lockdown will continue until I call it off.”

Zardari said he wanted to support the Pakistan Army since it was “being challenged by the neighbouring India on the borders while terrorist organisations and India’s primary foreign intelligence agency, the Research & Analysis Wing, were creating chaos within Pakistan”.

In the same vein, Zardari said he was aware who pulled the strings of banned outfits and mullahs, alluding to their alleged collusion with the establishment.

Lashing out at his political rivals, the PPP co-chairman said had he supported Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf when it arrived in Islamabad with a sit-in to topple the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, Imran would have succeeded.

“Being a supporter of democracy, I wanted the PML-N government to complete its tenure,” he said. “It would make me happy if the incumbent administration could improve the economy.”

The ruling party will have no excuse that they were not given enough time, said Zardari. “I am not in a hurry. I can wait for the sake of democracy.”

He also lashed out at former president Pervez Musharraf, who has been in Karachi for the past several months and has been politicking from the platform of his party, the All Pakistan Muslim League. “I spent years in jail… but the commando could not spend three months in prison.”

Zardari’s speech comes days after Rangers Sindh chief Maj-Gen Bilal Akbar blamed a nexus of political leaders, civil servants and gang lords of fostering and harbouring organised crime and terrorism in Karachi, as well as amid reports that the authorities were mulling over extending the scope of the ongoing operation in Sindh, the province that the PPP has been governing since 2008.

PPP leaders have been making angry speeches in parliament after the Rangers chief’s statements, but political pundits are attaching much importance to the timing of Zardari’s speech, since the former president had been in a conciliatory mode on a number of issues after his party lost the 2013 general elections after completing their five-year tenure.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (46)

  • Ashraf
    Jun 17, 2015 - 8:42AM

    For once, I agree with Zardari. Too much importance is accorded to the establishment who seem to be building up to their old game once again.Recommend

  • Mtr
    Jun 17, 2015 - 8:48AM

    Every stake holder, including generals, politicians, bureaucrats must understand that they are there to serve the people and not rule them like monarchs, consider state lands as spoils of war, nor refuse to pay taxes, yet be beneficiary of state fundsRecommend

  • Jibran
    Jun 17, 2015 - 9:10AM

    Spot on! Recommend

  • FR
    Jun 17, 2015 - 9:33AM

    Now people want action agaist currept people. It is not time to show off lists only. The listed persons should be trailed, if found guilty, should be punished and looted money should be returned to state. Every stake holder has bad name in this state so no one dare to probe lists. Just it is a threat nothing else. Recommend

  • Mistri
    Jun 17, 2015 - 9:34AM

    PPP is irrelevant now. Zardari made a lot of money while in power and it’s gone to his head.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2015 - 9:37AM

    *WE WELCOME ARMY !
    They do not come through our VOTES and have right to do anything BUT they claim their selves as DEMOCRATS and do not know the meaning DEMOCRACY.
    Their Bank Balances are increasing while masses are going below the poverty line. They are not crying for the public actually they are crying for their INTERESTS* Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 17, 2015 - 9:56AM

    Play time over Mr.Zardari.Recommend

  • General Being
    Jun 17, 2015 - 10:03AM

    As if generals are sacred beings. They are as much responsible for the rot of this country as are the politicians, if not more.Recommend

  • MH
    Jun 17, 2015 - 10:16AM

    Yes, politicians were and are better suited to ruining the affairs of the country, noody is denying the fact.Recommend

  • Blithe
    Jun 17, 2015 - 10:17AM

    Let’s see what the liuteanant general who discovered Twitter late in life says….Recommend

  • MH
    Jun 17, 2015 - 10:32AM

    yes, politicians were and are better suited to ruining the affairs of the country, a sane being won’t deny the fact.Recommend

  • samir
    Jun 17, 2015 - 10:47AM

    For someone who could not give roads, healthcare, education, policing, garbage collection to people of Sindh, desperation can lead him to old tricks. Had he done well for people, he would not have felt under threat. Recommend

  • Mr. Honest
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:02AM

    But accountability should be across board, not only politicians, but bureaucrats, judges and generals should also be included…. Even the recent retired general who has huge properties in Australia should be held accountable. All who’s sons are now either landlords or industrialists… while their fathers were government servants, should be held accountable. But who will do it? not possible in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Old Ravian
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:07AM

    Zardari’s outburst can be translated as follows, ” Do not expose or apprehend me or my cronies for corruption or grabbing land or I will do whatever I can to save my hard earned money”. The statement shows that desperate times are coming for the corrupt. Although I am not a fan of the military establishment, I would urge them to go on. . Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:42AM

    If US has to pick sides, it will side with Zardari. Pakistan army’s role in sheltering Osama close to its academy, memogate commission, blocking NATO supply routes, giving access to China to steal stealth technology of US helicopters, keeping Dr. Afridi in prison and many others will not be forgotten. Now Pakistan’s army and Nawaz Sharif handing over Gwadar Port to China to station their submarines poses a major problem for US. Also will be remembered is Zardari’s column that he wrote in Wall Street Journal after US to eliminated Osama. Zardari praised US for eliminating Osama in his column and Pakistan’s army was angry at it and started memogate to go after Zardari and Hussein Haqqani. Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:45AM

    Army is doing a great job and the people support it. For years the corruption in the name of democracy has taken us to the stone ages, where people have been deprived of basic necessities. Every govt department is corrupt and i have seen it personally – income tax / sales tax / building control / KDA / water board / Education boards / Universities / secretariats. The culture of corruption has seeped to the private sector as well. Pakistanis going abroad also indulge in corruption which shames us as compared to Indians etc.Recommend

  • Mohsin
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:55AM

    When a step comes over the tail of the dog, it cries like this. The corruption must be finished along with the corrupt politicians.Recommend

  • Kam
    Jun 17, 2015 - 12:04PM

    Zardari and his cronies are most incompetent bunch even from standards of every incompetent regime ever came to power. They broadly had just one task in hand for last 8 years to keep peace in karachi and they failed and becoming a hurdle in path of those who want to keep peace. Peace doesn’t make any money so no political party wants it.Recommend

  • iLLPoPo
    Jun 17, 2015 - 12:19PM

    Just yelling for not to be dragged in money laundering/Ayyan Ali case. Pakistan is struggling for life under the burden of criminal mindset of rogue leadership both Political & Establishment! Recommend

  • Ali Khan
    Jun 17, 2015 - 12:32PM

    Pak Army and Rangers are doing great job in restoring peace and exposing culprits who are behind destabilising Karachi…..Well done and Keep it up… AND MR 10 % you are not the one to dictate..Go awayRecommend

  • Ahmad
    Jun 17, 2015 - 12:55PM

    Just because the military has shown him the reality of his corrupt party now he surely will go all out protecting his money, i wish someone holds him accountable for all what he has done for the countryRecommend

  • jami
    Jun 17, 2015 - 1:14PM

    Pakistan supports its Army…Zardari is done.Recommend

  • baig
    Jun 17, 2015 - 1:22PM

    Somebody has to catch corrupt politicians,politicians dont want anybody to disturb them, they are used to 10% or more…………..Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 17, 2015 - 1:49PM

    Zardari is smart, he is using ‘ offense is the best defence ‘………and it will work because he realizes that the aggressor has his own weaknesses on this subject and lacks the will to fight to the finish. So this will be a winning situation for Zardari……..as I said he’s smart.Recommend

  • A Peshawary
    Jun 17, 2015 - 1:56PM

    @jami:
    Which army? Champions of conquering their own country, assassinating elected representatives and dragging nation into other proxy wars.

    A Peshawary

    A PeshawaryRecommend

  • Fahad Zia
    Jun 17, 2015 - 1:59PM

    I dare you to give that call, Zardari !Recommend

  • jeff mahagaonvi
    Jun 17, 2015 - 2:16PM

    Everybody has to do his/her duty in his/her domain.
    And respect the equality of all nation in words and practice.
    Hegemony of one province/state apparatus in the federation is not acceptable.
    We have to learn from the history we want to become a nation in real sense..Recommend

  • Bilal
    Jun 17, 2015 - 3:05PM

    Pakistani military may still be placed on a pedestal in Pakistan but ever since Abbottabad, their prestige has fallen dramatically abroad. I cannot imagine the West ever forgiving them for it. America will use Pakistan up until they have evacuated their men and material from Afghanistan. After that, it is anybody’s guess.Recommend

  • Bilal
    Jun 17, 2015 - 3:06PM

    @Enemy of MUNAFIQs:
    Do you know the bank balances of the men wearing uniforms?Recommend

  • Whiskey Khan
    Jun 17, 2015 - 3:10PM

    Time to put the DUNCE cap on Zardari, some one tell him The game is overRecommend

  • MEER
    Jun 17, 2015 - 3:14PM

    Pakistan is not a nation but a rush of people. If Army stops its influence for a week, these puppets of the so called democracy will sell Pakistan and fly away. Long Live Pakistan Army!Recommend

  • Timorlane
    Jun 17, 2015 - 4:26PM

    Father of Corruption

    Chief of Thieves

    Master of Crimes

    spewing rhetoric against others

    That’s our thuggery aka democracyRecommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jun 17, 2015 - 4:48PM

    We had not seen this day if Army had not protected Musharaf and other corrupt generals. Still its not too late, put few generals behind bars and clean this pure land from these corrupt civilians.Recommend

  • S.R.H. Hashmi
    Jun 17, 2015 - 6:35PM

    Former president Asif Ali Zardari made a very angry outburst against the Pakistan army, directing his attack personally against the present army chief. This view gets strengthened because he did specifically refer to a three-year tenure which Is that of the army chief as against army, which is permanent and continuing institution. He had charged at the military even during his tenure as a president but that was nothing like the present performance in which he threw an open challenge to the Generals.

    Among many things, he also said that on his urging, people from Khyber to Karachi will stand up but this claim is hardly supported by Peoples Party’s standing in the assemblies.
    The dramatic change has come all of a sudden. Up to quite recently, as for MQM’s claim of being made main target of the operation, PP leaders never tired of stating that the operation was across the board and not directed against any particular party. So, why is there such an abrupt change? Obviously, this development followed the submission of a report by DG Rangers to Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, in which the names of some Peoples Party leaders and ministers are alleged to have been mentioned as per media reports And this made Asif Zardari think that this is a conspiracy against Peoples Party which could also have implications for him personally. So the former stand of operation being even-handed and not against any party has been thrown to the wind.

    The attack was the fiercest so far against the army and perhaps Asif Zardari made it in the belief that continuing the tradition of mutual cooperation, the two parties PPP and PML-N, Nawaz Sharif will rally to his support in order to make the system continue, which the two leaders Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif interpret as continuation of democracy.

    It will be interesting to see whether Nawaz Sharif will succeed in persuading the army chief to tone down the Karachi operation on the pretext of letting the fledgling democracy survive, continue and consolidate or stand firm against this onslaught by politicians.

    KarachiRecommend

  • AA
    Jun 17, 2015 - 10:56PM

    @MH:
    But they should be accounted for billions stolen from public they supposed to serve.Recommend

  • Last Word
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:02PM

    Bravo, never imagined Zardari to be so strong and brave to take on the bull by its horn.Recommend

  • AA
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:37PM

    @A Peshawary:
    Yes the same Army : That champions of conquering their own country from thieves.
    Yes the same Army :: accused of assassinating elected representatives who murder their political opponents and try to allude the law on technical loopholes they themselves left in the constitution to wield the power with impunity.
    and Yes the same Army : that continue to fight anywhere even if it is to drag the nation into other proxy wars. The proxy Wars you you are referring does not begin and nurtured by army alone. Lets start from the beginning of Pakistan’s proxy war. Who decided on stirring up unrest in Kashmir under code name Operation Gibraltar? Ayub Khan, I thought you would say. Guess who was running his foreign policy and was involved fully in the decision making? Yes your beloved ZA Bhutto. Who created political cell in the ISI ? Ayub ? Zia ? Musharraf ? No Sir, it was the same hero, ZA Bhutto to spy on his opponents and even his cabinet members. Who decided to organized and nurture Taliban to Pakistan’s advantage ? Zia ? Musharraf ? No Sir it was your sweet princessm Benazir Bhutto. Gen. Abdul Hamid Khan proposed to BB and she gave the go. Who allowed CIA to start sending hundreds of operatives to turn Pakistan a hotbed for killing, Zardari with Haqqani. Yes Musharraf was cooperating but Wikkie leaks tells the story of flood coming to Pakistan after Zardari waved the ISI scrutiny of diplomatic Visas. Now wonder, were the Gen.acting alone. You can talk about Gen. Taking over, but my dear it was always politicians who kept asking them to take over their opponents, and continued to join their ranks once the takeover was completed. Shun the corrupts no matter where they are and stop redirecting your attention. Mr. 10 % is the liability for People Party, he should be brought down. Recommend

  • AA
    Jun 17, 2015 - 11:45PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    First thing first, bring those to justice who are brazenly running corruption rings in Karachi. First get the “bird in hand” then go after the “two in the bush.”Recommend

  • Zain
    Jun 18, 2015 - 2:35AM

    A [email protected] did you ever went to any border’s in Pakistan to serve the nation, or you only troll sitting in front of your computer? Recommend

  • Malik Tariq
    Jun 18, 2015 - 4:55AM

    Zardari, a common thug, whom fate threw up to become President, indulge in nothing but massive daylight robberies, putting his semi literate cronies to head PIA, CAA, PSM, KPT, OGDC etc. Through his cronies on PIA and CAA he siphoned off billions to Dubai and UK, One of the major conduits for money laundering was PIA Flight Catering run by his crony Ijaz Haroon, a close friend of Sharjeel Memon.Recommend

  • Ashfaq11
    Jun 18, 2015 - 8:29AM

    He can’t blame the army for PPPs reputation. What was achieved during PPP’s tenure? If a senior officer of the army is calling out corruption in Karachi at the highest level then they have to take it seriously. After all there is a nexus between violence and corrupt / black economy. We can’t expect army to fix violence without identifying the root causes? The fact is that PPP is never really interested in the progress of Pakistan and only care about lining their own pockets. They only won last time because of the sympathy vote. As to his claim that he can bring Pakistan to a stand still? What a jokeRecommend

  • adnan khan
    Jun 18, 2015 - 11:09AM

    What art of war he is talking about which he knows better than everybody else. We have given PPP sufficient time to demonstrate their art of war, which they totally failed to do. Now they are crying over the truth regarding political nexuses of major parties in Karachi terrorism.violence. The truth can never be crushed but it resurfaces not today but tomorrow.

    Faiz says

    Today you’re faraway but tomorrow would be ours,
    Of no significance this lonely night,
    If the lucky ones today are the oppressors, love!
    Our dawn is not too far in sight,
    Those who only in your thoughts dwell,
    Hold the key to endure death’s knell! Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jun 18, 2015 - 3:50PM

    I think its time that every one must know its territory, establishment, politicians, government, opposition, Courts and administration. I moderately supports Asif Zardari on his speech. It is just the game of power. if establishment will try to go beyond their space then response will come and that what Asif Zardari has done.Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Jun 18, 2015 - 9:57PM

    Is india only challenging army baloch and talibans only challenging army not pakistan. Only Army is Pakistan? PPP is not? strange zardari…. and atlast hahahahah LOOK WHO’S TALKIN MR 10%Recommend

  • Jun 19, 2015 - 7:47AM

    What is the source of his confidence? Or is just false confidence? Laughable that he still thinks people give two hoots about his calls to strike or protest.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Jun 20, 2015 - 12:16PM

    First of all every person has a basic right to say what he want to about a state organisation because when the so called popular state og openly claimed that they made IJI to harm a political party and they gave money from a bank to opponents politician of the specific party then at time where were the ethics??Secondly here AA is giving some views that Z A Bhutto was the man who started using Intelligence to know the activities of his opponents ,he never used ISI for his personal interests because after the broke up of East Pakistan it was the intelligence who taped Bhutto’s phones and the Bhutto the then PM knew so how Bhutto was using ISI??Secondly It is stated that BB was nurtured Taliban,For God sake these so called Mujahideen was created in Zia era for specific reasons and BB was never given free control of foreign policy and It was in the hands of Military and some times even some persons over rule her.And I accept that now PPP has done a lot of looting and corruption and did not deliver but Asif Zardari is not completely wrong I his recent statements because when allother bigs scandles were taking place then why didn’t rangers worked and why only in Sindh where two semi left parties are in majority why this action had not done in other provinces and for all people including army,Judges,Journalists,politicians,Beaurocrates ???And the last thing that N league sharp toungue persons are condemning PPP chairman what Khwaja Asif said in parliament about Army??So be just and action speaks louder than words and charity begins at home I know that Army is our very important institution and it gave many sacrifices we are proud on itRecommend

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