PPP drops plan to show strength during Zardari’s court appearance in Pindi 

Published August 16, 2020
The party reiterated its strong stance on Karachi against the backdrop of the centre’s possible plans for the metropolis as Senator Rabbani said it’s an old conspiracy and that “dream would never come true”. — DawnNewsTV/File
The party reiterated its strong stance on Karachi against the backdrop of the centre’s possible plans for the metropolis as Senator Rabbani said it’s an old conspiracy and that “dream would never come true”. — DawnNewsTV/File

KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has dropped its plan of staging a power show during the appearance of Asif Ali Zardari before an accountability court in Rawalpindi on Monday after the former president himself stopped the party from any political activity, PPP leaders said on Saturday. 

The announcement came at a press conference addressed by Senator Raza Rabbani, Senator Sherry Rahman, Sardar Latif Khosa, Nafisa Shah and Waqar Mehdi after meeting of the PPP’s central executive committee, which was chaired by chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at Bilawal House. 

“There was a suggestion and a strong desire of workers to travel along with Mr Zardari to Rawalpindi office to show their support and solidarity,” said Senator Rabbani. “The former president has himself advised the CEC not to give a nod to any such decision and the party should focus more on politics to bring relief to people’s lives. The NAB and courts are not new to him and he knows well [how] to face them.” 

After the accountability court issued a notice to Mr Zardari for appearance in Rawalpindi, the PPP has been hinting at organising a major power show on Aug 17.  

Even Mr Bhutto-Zardari had recently told a press conference that it was a “strong option” to join Mr Zardari along with a big rally in Rawalpindi with a number of workers.  

Raza Rabbani says Zardari knows how to face NAB, courts

The CEC’s decision, however, suggests that neither is there any major move from the PPP against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government, nor is it mulling over launching street protests. 

Centre’s ‘dream will never come true’** 

However, the party reiterated its strong stance on Karachi against the backdrop of the centre’s possible plans for the metropolis as Senator Rabbani said it’s an old conspiracy and that “dream would never come true”. 

“It’s an old move from the state, which also wants rollback of 18th Amendment [to the Constitution] and bring back 1962 status but that dream would never come true. The Sindh government has every right to take care of Karachi’s administrative affairs and it would continue its job,” he said. 

Latif Khosa, who’s also the lawyer of the former president, said that Mr Zardari had requested the accountability court to direct the authorities concerned to make video link arrangements to ensure his presence in the Toshakhana reference proceedings considering his old age, ailment and vulnerability to coronavirus. 

“The doctors have advised him not to travel from his hometown. Subsequently, he has requested the court to make arrangements for marking his attendance through video link,” he said. 

According to the NAB reference, former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had allegedly illegally allotted cars to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mr Zardari. Ex-PM Gilani, Khawaja Anwar Majeed and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Majeed, the owners of the Omni Group, were also nominated as accused in the reference. 

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) stated that Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif obtained cars from Toshakhana by paying only 15 per cent of the price of the luxury vehicles. The bureau alleged that ex-PM Gilani facilitated the allotment of the vehicles to Mr Zardari and Mr Sharif by dishonestly and illegally relaxing the procedure for the acceptance and disposal of gifts vide a cabinet division memorandum of 2007. 

The NAB reference further stated that the former president had accepted and received the armoured vehicles as gifts from the United Arab Emirates (BMW 750 Li model 2005, Lexus Jeep model 2007) and from Libya (BMW 760 Li model 2008) in September-October 2008. He was obligated to immediately report and deposit the vehicles with Toshakhana of the cabinet division, but he neither reported the gifted vehicles nor deposited the same. 

Published in Dawn, August 16th, 2020

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