I am being attacked from all sides in effort to repeal 18th Amendment: Zardari

Published October 27, 2018
Ex-president Asif Ali Zardari addresses a press conference in Lahore on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
Ex-president Asif Ali Zardari addresses a press conference in Lahore on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari claimed on Saturday that he is being "attacked from all sides" and his friends are being taken into custody as part of a larger conspiracy to reverse the 18th Amendment.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Zardari said even if he tried to repeal the amendment, other provinces would not agree to it.

"I saw during the election campaign why they are attacking me from all sides," he said, without specifying to whom he was referring. "I am now understanding that it is a quarrel over the 18th Amendment."

Examine: Reversing the 18th Amendment?

He said when "they" had failed in their effort to take away the government in Sindh from the PPP, efforts were started to undo the amendment.

Besides Sindh, he reiterated, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and even Punjab would not agree to roll back the legislation. He said Punjab has the biggest advantage from the amendment because of its high population and the money it receives.

Stressing that the amendment had been passed with a long-term vision in mind, he said, again without naming anyone: "This is not your job... you leave this to the parliament, we will quarrel and wrangle [but] resolve this ourselves."

The 18th Amendment, a landmark legislation that has lent greater autonomy to the provinces and divested the president of all his executive authority, was passed unanimously by the parliament in 2010 with all major political parties on board.

Zardari claimed that two of his men, who he had been communicating with lately regarding a harvest and construction of an autaq (guest room) in Tando Allahyar, were recently picked up. He said authorities are now going after a group that he helped with industrialisation in Sindh.

The PPP co-chairman's press conference came hours after the Federal Investigation Agency arrested Nimr Majeed, a son of Zardari's close aide and Omni Group Chairman Anwar Majeed, who himself is in custody in a fake bank accounts case.

"[They] term 'trading accounts' as 'fake accounts' for no reason," Zardari said in his presser, in a reference to the fake accounts case in which he is also being probed.

Seemingly appreciating the $6 billion financial assistance the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government has secured from Saudi Arabia, Zardari said such cooperation between the two "life-long friends" had been seen in the past as well. He also termed China an "all-time trusted friend" of Pakistan which could be of help in difficult times.

"But this [assistance from foreign countries] won't do," the former president said, adding that the PTI government would have to rethink its management and "aggression".

In response to a question, Zardari denied having sought a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) from Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying he hadn't asked for the NRO from even former military dictator retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

No threat to 18th Amendment: minister

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry clapped back at Zardari's claims regarding the 18th Amendment, saying the legislation was facing no threats from anyone.

"Neither Islam is in danger, nor are democracy and 18th Amendment facing any threats... [only] the leadership of NRO Alliance is in danger. This is why they are seeing darkness everywhere," he wrote on Twitter.

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