LAHORE: Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday claimed the credit for what he called empowering the Sharifs, saying the PML-N leaders became “lion” only when he managed to send retired Gen Pervez Musharraf home.
“They (Sharifs) must not forget that it was I who had made them ‘sher’ (lion) by showing the door to president Musharraf. They (Sharifs) should be thankful to me for what they are today,” Mr Zardari said while addressing the PPP ticket- holders and office-bearers from Gujranwala division at Bilawal House here on Wednesday.
Mr Zardari also justified his decision of becoming president of the country and not the prime minister after his party came to power in 2008.
“I was advised by some in the party to become prime minister, but I wanted to oust Musharraf from the Presidency. So I chose to become president. In the presence of Musharraf, they (Sharifs) were afraid,” he said, adding the workers were his strength and with their hard work the party would be back in the saddle.
“I have come out and visited the residences of jialas (diehard party workers) in Punjab as they are my strength. I assure you (workers) that I will not let the PML-N maneuver 2018 election through returning officers (ROs),” he said.
The PPP co-chairperson also called on Pakistan Cricket Board ex-chairman Zaka Ashraf and met with some businessmen.
Zaka Ashraf told Dawn that the businessmen apprised Mr Zardari of the problems they were facing because of “faulty policies” of the PML-N government. They said the country’s exports had gone down and the industry was getting sick. Besides, they warned that water scarcity was going to become a major issue in near future but the government was paying no attention to it.
“India is building dams even in mountains and the Pakistani dams have come to dead level. This will be disastrous for our agrarian economy,” a businessman said.
Mr Zardari invited the businessmen to Sindh for setting up industry there. He said the Sindh government would also welcome suggestions regarding building water reservoirs in the province. He also assured them that if the PPP came to power after 2018 election his government would make policies taking them on board.
During a meeting with a party delegation from Balochistan, Mr Zardari said next month he would visit the province and look into party affairs there. “Bilawal and I will travel across the country and strengthen the party ahead of next polls,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Zardari has directed both central and south Punjab leadership of the party to expedite their efforts to woo disgruntled PML-N and Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf leaders. He also asked them to bring back into party folds the angry workers and leaders in the province.
Published in Dawn, March 30th, 2017