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Govt wants to 'abrogate' 1973 Constitution to restore 'One Unit' politics of Gen Ayub regime: Zardari

Updated December 04, 2018

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Former president Asif Ali Zardari speaking to journalists in Darya Khan Mari village in Tando Allahyar. — DawnNewsTV
Former president Asif Ali Zardari speaking to journalists in Darya Khan Mari village in Tando Allahyar. — DawnNewsTV

Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday accused the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government of planning to "abrogate" the 1973 Constitution "over its reservations on a few clauses of the 18th Amendment" and attempting to restore the One Unit policy of Gen Ayub Khan's regime.

The former president was speaking to journalists in Darya Khan Mari village in Tando Allahyar.

"PPP will resist any such move," he said, adding that his father and politicians from the Ayub era had similarly resisted the dictator in the '60s.

Talking to media at the residence of close aide Ghulam Qadir Mari, Zardari said that the PPP government had restored the 1973 Constitution to its original form when it formed the federal government. He added that his party would resist all moves to scrap the 18th Amendment.

Zardari also dismissed President Dr Arif Alvi’s statement on the 18th Amendment, saying that since he didn’t understand the meaning of defence, he has no right to talk about the amendment.

On December 2, responding to a question while addressing a press conference at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor House, the president had dispelled the impression that the ruling party was in favour of rolling back the 18th Amendment.

One component of the 18th Amendment was to build capacity of the provinces after devolving subjects to them, he had said.

'Puppets' brought to power in general elections

Zardari said that prior to the July 25 general elections, he had made it clear that the way the elections were being held showed that "puppets were being brought to power". He added that these "puppets" could not run the system or take care of Pakistan.

He expressed concern over the present state of affairs in the country, adding that Pakistan needed proper leadership which was aware of the ground realities and had acceptability among the masses.

The PPP leader maintained that his party had accepted the results of elections on the grounds that the "worst democracy is better than the best dictator".

"PPP doesn’t want to give [the] opportunity to some forces to say that democratic forces lack [the] capacity to run government, therefore it should be sent packing," he said, adding that his party would not let that happen.

Zardari believed that the present government wanted the democratic system to be wrapped up because they were politically immature and did not have "political thinking".

The PPP leader also said that he would keep facing charges of money laundering, terming it an ongoing "war".

He said that he was being targeted and that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had faced the same, adding that the current government also had the same intentions.

"Let them test our patience and we will bear their tyranny," he said.

Responding to a question, he said that the current government lacked the capacity to run a government.

"I can’t predict if there will be a national government or early polls, but one thing is for sure that they [PTI] can’t run it,” he said.

'Those who brought PTI to power will support it in face of threats'

Responding to a question about whether PPP would support the government if they faced any threats, Zardari said that those who had brought the PTI to power would support it, "why should the PPP lend any support?"

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has declared that he would put the entire opposition into prison. "Everyone knows that Asif Zardari has faced trials and tribulations but [the] question is whether Imran Khan can bear them," he said.

He added that Nawaz Sharif had introduced accountability laws and accountability courts to use them against him [Zardari], but Sharif was himself trapped by them.

"Imran Khan may put the opposition in jail," Zardari said, "but Khan’s turn would also come. As the saying goes, ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’."

Zardari said that the farming community had benefited when the PPP was in the federal government.

He noted that a joint investigative team (JIT) was probing and seizing sugar mills’ accounts, but claimed that those were "sick factories which were revitalised so that employment opportunities could be created".

Anti-encroachment drive

Zardari was critical of the demolition of 50,000 shops in Karachi, which he said had left families without jobs.

Read more:Over 1,000 shops in Karachi's Saddar demolished as anti-encroachment drive intensifies

He said that alternate arrangements should have been made before the shops were demolished.

In a sarcastic comment, he said that he doesn't see any foreign policy but the PTI government certainly has a policy of demolishing a 300-year-old wall of the Governor House in Lahore.