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PPP never given level playing field in elections: ex-PMs

April 19, 2013

Former PMs Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf addressing to a press conference at Zardari House.

ISLAMABAD: The PPP has never been provided a level playing field in the country’s electoral history, say former prime ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani.They were speaking at a news conference at the Zardari House on Thursday with leaders of Islami Tehreek-i-Pakistan (ITP), who announced support of their party for the PPP in the coming general elections.

The ITP chief, Allama Sajid Naqvi, was represented at the press conference by the party’s secretary general, Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi.

Mr Gilani warned against any move to delay the elections, saying postponement would be bad for the country. He said the PPP was committed to free‚ fair and transparent elections and that it would not tolerate delay of a single day.

In reply a question about the bad security situation in the country, he said elections were held even after the World War II and during the Iraq War. “Why should elections not be held in Pakistan in this situation.”However, he added, the government should provide security to candidates.

Mr Gilani said despite all problems and conspiracies the government had completed its five-year term and credit for it must go to the PPP. It was because of the 20th amendment in the constitution that an impartial caretaker government was in place, he observed.

When a reporter sought his comments over the failure of the government to arrest retired Gen Pervez Musharraf despite the court’s order, he said: “No comments.”

Mr Ashraf, who has conditionally been allowed to contest the May 11 elections by the Lahore High Court, said under article 63 of the constitution‚ a person could only be disqualified if he had been convicted by a court. He said he had neither been convicted by any court nor was there any case against him.

He said the PPP had given democracy and independent judiciary to the nation.

Mr Ashraf predicted that no party would be able to get absolute majority in the elections. “Those parties who can accommodate each other will form the (future) government,” he added.

The former prime ministers announced that the PPP would cooperate and make seat adjustments with the ITP in the elections.

Allama Wahidi said his party would cooperate with the PPP for the betterment of the country and strengthening of democracy.