PESHAWAR: Taking a swipe at the federal government, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday repeated his claim that his party would form the next government at the Centre and in all the four provinces.
He maintained that the PPP would not allow the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to undermine the country.
Speaking at a news conference on the last day of his five-day visit, Zardari maintained that the PML-N could neither run the government nor maintain good relations with neighbouring countries.
“The same is the case with the PTI, which instead of making ‘Naya Pakistan’ has pushed the old one towards destruction,” he remarked. Zardari said that the lion was a beast and tsunami brings destruction. He said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had rendered sacrifices for the creation of Pakistan. He stated that some irresponsible people imposed a war on the country, but the people created history by facing and defeating terrorism.
The former President of Pakistan said some people believed that the now defunct Soviet Union would not retreat after its invasion of Afghanistan so they resorted to making suicide bombers and this policy made life miserable for the people.
He said a particular mindset caused defeats in Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. “In these wars, the Muslims are fighting against Muslims and the faithful from both sides are suffering,” he deplored.
The PPP, he said, rehabilitated millions of internally displaced persons within three months after the 2009 military operation in Swat. “We managed to do all this because the world was supporting us but now the situation is totally different,” he argued.
The PPP co-chairman said the privatisation of government institutions was not acceptable to his party and it would cancel all such agreements if voted to power. He said his party’s government would reopen the report of the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar tragedy.
He promised that salaries of government servants would be increased in line with the price hike. Zardari said that decisions about the status of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were being made without taking all the stakeholders into confidence.
He said the president and the governor had been given powers, but Parliament was ignored. He asked members of the ruling PML-N to support the PPP if they were opposed to the bill about Fata’s future.
Terming his visit to Peshawar as part of his political activities, the former president said he would come again and listen to the grievances of the workers by holding a workers’ convention.
Zardari said the upcoming general election would be different from that of 2013 in which the PPP was not allowed to campaign freely and reach out to the people. He said that this time the PPP workers would leave the polling stations only after getting election results and would not allow the returning officers to manipulate the outcome of the polls.
Zardari said that his daughter Aseefa Bhutto and his sister Faryal Talpur would run the party’s election campaign in Sindh while he and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would supervise the campaign in Balochistan, southern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
To a question, Zardari said his doors were open to all, including the former PPP leader and now chief of Qaumi Watan party, Aftab Ahmad Sherpao, if he wanted to rejoin the party. During the PPP’s last term in office, he recalled that electricity was being provided to consumers at Rs7 per unit while now its rate had gone up to Rs14.
He admitted there were differences in the PPP, adding, he was confident to solve all issues. Former chief minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, PPP Secretary General Faisal Karim Kundi, former minister Qamar Zaman Kaira and other party leaders accompanied Zardari during his visit.
Meanwhile, Zardari held meetings with his party’s provincial office-bearers and members of the women wing, labour wing and minorities’ wing at the residence of the PPP provincial president Humayun Khan. He also visited the residence of late provincial assembly speaker Abdul Akbar Khan to offer condolences to his family. Abdul Akbar, a veteran PPP leader, died some months ago.
Asim Yasin adds: Meanwhile, in his directive to party leaders, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari called for transferring powers of the president and his agent, the KP governor, to legislate for Fata to Parliament to empower the people and for ushering in genuine reforms in the tribal areas.
In the directive, Asif Zardari said that making the president and governor as the sole lords of Fata and the FCR were two colonial instruments to keep the people subjugated. “The twin pillars of colonial power structure must be demolished.”
PPP Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar said that after talking to media in Peshawar at the end of his 5-day visit to city the former president also asked the party parliamentarians to reject the proposed Riwaj Act as against basic human rights besides being inconsistent with the goal of Fata merger in the province of KP. TheNews