NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman and former head of state Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government would have collapsed just one-and-a-half years after it had come to power had the PPP not rescued it.
Asif Zardari was speaking to the audience at a ceremony where he inaugurated the new building of the Nawabshah Press Cub.
He said PPP was very clear in having realised at that time that the collapse of the PML-N government would give space to a “game of chair” and that’s why it [PPP] did not support [Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief] Imran Khan [in his campaign against the then federal government].
Mr Zardari went on to say that his party also made no attempt [over the last five years] to bring down the government by withdrawing its lawmakers from the Senate, National Assembly or provincial assemblies. “Rather, we extended our support to the [PML-N] government in its efforts for survival,” he added.
The PPP co-chairman regretted that they (PML-N) never reciprocated the gesture. “We shouldered the [PML-N] government for the sake of democracy and in the interest of the democratic dispensation; we wanted to let the democratic process continue,” he said.
Mr Zardari also expressed his disappointment over the federal government’s alleged intentions to do away with the 18th Constitutional Amendment. “It’s disappointing for us to see the government working on rolling back the 18th Amendment ... they don’t seem to have a sensible approach in this respect ... they don’t realise that the 18th Amendment is actually designed to keep all federating units united,” said the PPP leader.
The PPP leader described the 2013 general election as “ROs’ [returning officers’] election”, and said his party accepted the results only for the sake of democracy.
Power generation projects
Referring to the energy crisis in the country and the federal government’s failure to overcome it, Mr Zardari said if it would have really wanted to cope with the situation, it would have opted for setting up power plants in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and not in Sahiwal and other such places where they would have to import coal from Malaysia. The import involved millions of dollars, he added.
In reply to a question about the country’s foreign exchange reserves, Mr Zardari claimed that the “national exchequer is empty”.
Responding to another questioner, he said the social media had made politics here vibrant. “Every citizen has the right to do politics; let them [non-PPP forces] try their luck, we are ready to face them.”
Recounting PPP’s “services to the masses”, Mr Zardari said “whatever we do, it’s for the welfare and benefit of the public at large”. He pointed out that people of Sindh had been hearing for 25 years about a shortage of water until PPP government started taking remedial measures. Around 1,800 watercourses were lined and strengthened, he said. “We also tried our best to convince all stakeholders on dams but could not achieve a consensus,” he said.
Mr Zardari said there was a lot to share with countrymen but let’s set aside things of the past and move forward.
He confidently stated that if any force thought it could run the country better than the PPP could, it was in illusion. “Only PPP can lead the country in a best possible way,” he declared.
Mr Zardari praised his sister, MNA Faryal Talpur, by saying that she was absolutely competent to run the affairs of the party. In this regard, he cited the period when he had been in jail.
On the occasion, Mr Zardari announced a grant of Rs2.5 million for the Nawabshah Press Club and held out the assurance to help get land allotted for a ‘journalists’ colony’ and allocation of the required funds for the club building.
Senator Aajiz Dhamrah, MNA Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Sindh Law Minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar, Haji Ali Hassan Zardari, Haji Azeem Mughal and other senior PPP leaders, besides local journalists and elite of the area, attended the ceremony.
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2018