TANDO ALLAHYAR: While claiming that Pakistan Peoples Party will form next government soon after getting rid of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf rule, former president Asif Ali Zardari has predicted mid-term polls in the country and suggested to “institutions to stay neutral”.
“Why the puppets are created and what kind of purpose they serve? You create Altaf Hussain. Aaj vo kisi or ka bun chuka hay [Altaf Hussain has now switched his loyalty]. You created Nawaz Sharif and then quarrelled with him. Whenever someone is created artificially he losses senses after getting power suddenly,” said Mr Zardari.
He said the institutions were mistaken that the PPP was afraid of them or wanted to grab power from them. “We only want neutrality from them and we will get power on our own,” he said, adding that the PPP never tried to weaken the institutions as the party knew this would encourage hostile forces. That’s why the PPP gave leverage and space to the institutions even after the martyrdom of its founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he added.
Says PTI govt is like an under-16 team, unaware of politics
The former president expressed these views while speaking to journalists at the Latifabad residence of PPP lawmaker Abdul Jabbar Khan, where he went to condole the death of his brother, and while addressing a public meeting at the farmhouse of provincial assembly member Zia Abbas Shah in Tando Allahyar on Sunday.
Mr Zardari regretted that the PTI government lacked vision how to deal with friendly countries. He said the PPP had conceived the idea of developing a port in Balochistan in addition to a road link with China. “Gwadar port is to benefit Pakistan and China alike and I want China-Pakistan interdependency to increase,” he said.
Reminding the federal government of Army Pubic School (APS) tragedy, the PPP leader asked the PTI government to arrest its culprits. He said that smaller countries had progressed but Pakistan despite being blessed with resources was not performing due to divergent ideologies. “We don’t have political education. Political education is not allowed here. When a political plant gets matured they cut it and artificially grown plant is nurtured,” he said. He added that the powers that be seemed least concerned about losses caused by such a strategy as ‘they’ pursued a like-and-dislike policy.
“If elections were held fairly, Imran Khan will not have been premier and this doesn’t mean that I might have been PM. Political forces must have agreed to consensus government and start delivering to the masses,” he said.
Since Mr Khan didn’t get people’s vote, he was least bothered about rupee devaluation and price hike, the former president said, suggesting to the government that it must know dollar rate in advance as this impacted debt servicing sector.
He said that the PTI government was like an under-16 team and they were unaware of politics. “We we will get rid of the rulers and build Pakistan soon. We will send them packing and after winning early elections form PPP’s government,” he said. Alluding to the PTI, he said: “A new sapling is planted by some ‘friends’ that they were watering. But it won’t give production because they can’t get fruit”.
He said he couldn’t understand “what they wanted but later realised they intended to weaken the PPP over 18th Amendment issue” when the news of money laundering was reported. He still wondered what kind of harm he had caused to the country through 18th Amendment, he said.
“Islamabad is a city of 10 to 15 roads but why powers are concentrated there. Powers and money must be with the provinces, as they know where to construct bridges and roads,” he said, adding that Sindh contributed 62 per cent to 63pc revenue to the centre, besides gas supply and providing facilities at the Karachi port. In a lighter vein, he said that if the ruling PTI cut monetary assistance under Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), the Thari women would thrash them and observe a strike and might stop power supply to the national grid.
“If you did it [cuts in BISP stipend] you won’t get 900MW and 1,400MW of electricity for Faisalabad from the plant set up during the tenure of Qaim Ali Shah as chief minister,” he said.
He told a questioner that when people had political awakening like those in France they would get their rights. He avoided answering a question whether current probe against him would culminate in his ouster from politics like Nawaz Sharif. He said jail was his second home and the PPP got stronger whenever it was faced with aggression.
Former chief minister Qaim Ali Shah, MPA Zia Abbas Shah, Nasir Shah, Imdad Pitafi, Ali Nawaz Shah, Dost Ali Jaisar, Aftab Khanzada and others were also present.
Published in Dawn, December 17th, 2018