LAHORE: Former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party Punjab president Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Sunday said that in-house change of government is the only option for strengthening democracy and parliament in the country.

He expressed these views while talking to the media after a press conference, along with party secretary general Syed Hassan Murtaza, Ahsan Rizvi, Asif Raza Baig and Afnan Butt at the PPP’s Model Town Secretariat here.

Mr Ashraf said the party was seeing “positive signs” in the other opposition parties regarding tabling a no-confidence motion against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government, adding that such a move could be easier in Punjab where the ruling party enjoyed only a thin majority.

He said the PPP believed in bringing a change only through democratic ways.

Responding to a question about the PTI’s plans to launch a ‘counter long march’ in Sindh, Mr Ashraf said: “Governments do not hold long marches, rather they focus on solving problems of the masses.” He termed Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s statement regarding holding a long march on Karachi as childish.

He was hopeful that the PPP would win the upcoming local body elections as well as general polls to be held in 2023.

Regarding the talk in the media about introducing the presidential system in the country, he said the government wanted to divert attention of the people from real issues.

On the occasion, Mandi Ahmedabad Pakistan Kissan Itehad president Sardar Khan Wattoo and PTI ticket holder for UC-116 chairman seat Altaf Hussain Wattoo announced joining the PPP.

Mr Murtaza welcomed the new entrants into the party fold, saying that all sections of society would have to play their role for the development of the country. He said all should join hands against inflation and unemployment.

He said the PPP would stage a countrywide ‘tractor-trolley march’ on Jan 24, followed by a Feb 27 long march, which, he claimed, would prove a turning point in national politics.

Mr Murtaza also notified the names of the leaders who were assigned duties in the districts regarding the Jan 24 tractor-trolley march.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2022

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