Zardari urges dialogue, vows to uphold democracy

Updated August 23, 2014

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Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. – File Photo
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari. – File Photo

LAHORE: After meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Emir Sirajul Haq and PML-Q leaders, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday evening said that his party will not let democracy be derailed.

Speaking at a press conference here, he reiterated that the PPP will extend every possible effort to uphold democracy in the country.

Regarding his meeting with the prime minister, Zardari said he urged Prime Minister Sharif to resolve the current political crisis through dialogue. “I told PM Nawaz Sharif...dialogue, dialogue and dialogue... democracy means never shutting the door,” said the former president.

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“Democracy should not be derailed, " he said. "Once our democratic system is strong enough then we can afford street demonstrations. Otherwise they will derail the system.”

He expressed optimism that a peaceful solution would be achieved with current efforts of dialogue between the two sides. He said the country at this critical juncture needed unity among political forces.

Asif Zardari said it was the Parliament’s prerogative to complete its constitutional term. “We are the opposition and will remain the same…however, we do not want indulge in an unconstitutional and undemocratic attitude.”

Answering a question regarding resignations submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, he said: “I won’t call it immaturity, they are politicians and we have welcomed them in the Parliament and all political parties should stand united for the greater national interest.”

“I voluntarily devolved power to the Parliament in order to strengthen the country's democratic structure,” said the former president referring to amendment of Article 58 (2b) of the Constitution during his party’s rule.

“There is no third umpire …. and things should not be referred to the third umpire...we should resolve the issues...otherwise it will become a long tale,” said the PPP leader.

Meanwhile, PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said that PAT’s protest demonstration was getting stronger with every passing day.

Speaking to the media after meeting with PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, he said that he has apprised him about Dr Tahirul Qadri’s reservations against PM Nawaz Sharif and his party.

He said that a consensus was reached at the meeting for lawful and constitutional steps to diffuse prevailing political tension.