ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday alleged that ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif wanted to improve relations with India only to turn his dream of a ‘greater Punjab’ into reality and strengthen his business contacts in the neighbouring country.

In an interview to a private TV channel, he claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had never come to power through a transparent electoral process. “They did not win any polls as they had never gained people’s mandate.”

Terming the 2013 general elections as an election of returning officers, he said: “We accepted the polls because a worst democracy is better than a best dictatorship.”

Claiming that there was no political prisoner during the tenure of the previous PPP government at the centre, the former president accused the Nawaz government of victimising its political opponents.

Answering a question, Mr Zardari said that the next general elections could not possibly be held under the fresh population census in the country.

He said the result of the census 2017 was not final and it could be challenged. Therefore, he added, it would take a lot of time to settle objections of people from all over the country on the census result.

He, however, hoped that the next elections would be held on time.

Talking about the country’s foreign policy, he said that the reason behind the Pakistan’s current difficult relationship with the United States was that the Nawaz government had failed in making lobbies in the US.

When asked if the PPP could enter into any dialogue with the PML-N, he said the decision in this regard would be taken by party’s chairman Bilal Bhutto-Zardari and its central executive committee.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2017

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