ISLAMABAD, Feb 19: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has said it intends to form coalition governments at the centre and in four provinces with other former opposition parties.
Addressing a crowded news conference after presiding over a combined meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) and Federal Council (FC) here on Tuesday, party co-chairman Asif Zardari named the PML-N and ANP as possible partners with whom the PPP would discuss its conditions for coalition, including a demand for a United Nations (UN) inquiry into the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“We accept the election and take on positions from here,” Mr Zardari said, adding that he had talked to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday and the two leaders were scheduled to meet again to discuss the formation of the future government.
Answering a question about the possibility of joining hands with the PML-Q, he said his party did not intend to form government with those who were part of the previous regime.
“We have decided to go to parliament and form the government. We demand that we should be allowed to form governments,” he added. He also said that the PPP was trying to form a government of national consensus, adding his party would put certain conditions and demands before those who wanted to join the PPP in a coalition government. He said the first thing the next government would do was to seek a UN inquiry into Ms Bhutto’s probe and that their possible coalition partners would have to accept it. Moreover, he said, his party wanted to restore the 1973 Constitution and repeal Pemra laws to give complete independence to media so that it could criticise and guide them. He said the PPP would make the parliament sovereign by strengthening it and its committees.
Mr Zardari said that Mr Sharif had taken a wise decision by participating in the election on the advice of the PPP.
Mr Zardari parried several questions on issues like reinstatement of deposed judges, possible impeachment of President Musharraf and the party’s nominee for the office of the prime minister.
On the issue of judges and President Musharraf’s resignation, the PPP leader said that the matters would be decided by parliament. He, however, demanded that all detained judges and president of the Supreme Court Bar Association Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan should be released immediately. He said the party was yet to decide as to who would be the party’s nominee for the office of the prime minister.
Talking to BBC later, Mr Zardari said that the people wanted President Musharraf’s resignation. “Not only we, but the whole nation is reminding President Musharraf that he must resign. It is the demand of the mandate. The verdict has been given and the PML-Q has lost,” he said, adding that he did not consider the PML-Q a political party and the PPP was ready to talk to all other forces on the ground.
Mr Zardari said the party had emerged as the only federal party and the people had rejected the government which was in power till recently. He said now the PML-Q leadership was blaming President Musharraf’s policies for their humiliating defeat.
PPP spokesman Farhatullah Khan Babar said that some 50 senior party leaders, including Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Jahangir Bader, Raza Rabbani, Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sherry Rehman and Dr Babar Awan attended the joint meeting of the party’s CEC and the FC.
Mr Babar told Dawn the Monday’s voting showed that President Musharraf’s loyalists had been routed by the people of Pakistan. “The party recalled Gen Musharraf’s recent statements that if the parties supporting him were defeated in the elections he would resign from his office,” he said.
Mr Babar said the party was now poised to play its democratic role in the post-election period consistent with its manifesto and declarations that it would go along with other democratic parties in resolving the myriad problems facing the country.
He said Tuesday’s meeting of the party reviewed the election results and discussed likely future scenarios and the role the party should play in the coming days.
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