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KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders on Saturday asked parliamentarians belonging to the party to vote for their candidate for the presidential election as Aitzaz Ahsan had greater credentials than his rivals fielded by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and opposition parties led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari addressed a gathering of the party’s senators, MNAs and Sindh MPAs in connection with the presidential elections at the Chief Minister House.

Presidential candidate Aitzaz Ahsan, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Faryal Talpur, Khursheed Shah, Nisar Khuhro, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Naveed Qamar and other party leaders were also present.

“(My) friendship with Maulana Fazlur Rehman is not of greater significance than the Peoples Party,” said Mr Zardari while addressing the meeting. “All friends and well-wishers should realise that Aitzaz’s success (in the presidential election) will be a victory for all liberal forces,” he added.

He said the country was faced with immense problems, which required that everyone assess the gravity of the situation and take serious steps. “We have got a candidate who will always be mentioned in the history of the country. Let’s see which (of the three) candidates has the potential to improve the image of the country.”

Mr Zardari said Aitzaz Ahsan had fought a ‘fake’ case, which had been filed by then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan against former premier Benazir Bhutto. “He (Aitzaz) had then said he would not allow Ghulam Ishaq to try Benazir Bhutto, but he would, instead, try Ghulam Ishaq,” he recalled.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari also asked the party’s parliamentarians to cast their votes for Mr Ahsan. He said his party had tried its best to keep the opposition parties alliance intact. However, the opposition parties asked the PPP to nominate three individuals in place of Mr Ahsan to choose a candidate from them. “I told them, okay, I nominate those three candidates. My first candidate is Aitzaz, second is Aitzaz and my third candidate is Aitzaz,” said Mr Bhutto-Zardari.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018