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Asif Zardari called upon opp parties to unite against govt

22 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Terming the present government “incompetent”, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has called upon all political parties to unite on one platform to declare that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government cannot run the country.

“Political forces will have to be united and pass a resolution that the present government cannot last long and is not capable of running the country,” Mr Zardari said in a vague term while speaking at a brief news conference after attending a lawyers’ convention organised by the Peoples Lawyers Forum (PLF) here on Sunday.

Responding to a question about the possibility of his meeting with former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, he said that presently he was facing cases that had been initiated during the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). However, he did not rule out the possibility of such a meeting. “The case which I am facing today was initiated by Nawaz Sharif. But it does not mean that a meeting cannot take place,” he said.

Mr Zardari, who did not appear to be in good health, evaded a response to the reported statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan in which he had alleged that conspiracies were being hatched against his government. “Islamabad is always a centre of conspiracies,” he said with a meaningful smile.

Asked if the PPP would become part of any move to dislodge the government, he simply said: “We will decide when the time will come.”

The PPP leader said that when his party had acquired power in 2008, the country was facing a similar economic situation, but they neither depreciated the currency nor allowed price hike. He said the PPP government had introduced a number of “futuristic policies”, but these were stopped by the PML-N government. Calling Imran Khan “prime minister-select”, he said they had no expectations from the government.

Flanked by PPP secretary general Nayyar Bokhari and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Mr Zardari said talks about deals like the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which had been offered by then military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf, were nothing but political stunt. Moreover, he said he had never benefited from any NRO and got himself acquitted after facing all the cases in courts.

In reply to a question, the PPP leader said he had never criticised National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, though he objected to his policies and the manner of work. Agreeing that his party was involved in the appointment of the NAB chairman, he said: “Sometimes people with low mentality occupy big positions. When they get powers, they cannot handle it.”

Mr Zardari said that when he had become the country’s president, he transferred all the powers to parliament.

Earlier, Nayyar Bokhari read out a 10-point resolution which was unanimously adopted by the participants of the lawyers convention presided over by PLF president Latif Khosa and attended by Asif Zardari as chief guest.

“The lawyers’ community as a whole and PLF feel that exercise of direct jurisdiction under Article 184(3) by the Supreme Court should be subjected to an appeal and, therefore, demands that the apex court in the Supreme Court Rules 1980 and the Parliament provide the right of appeal under Article 184(3) of the Constitution so as to comprehensively safeguard the rights of the people of Pakistan,” said the resolution.

Through the resolution, the PLF reiterated and reaffirmed “the principles of democracy, empowerment of the people of Pakistan through the provincial autonomy as enforced through the unanimously passed 18th Amendment in the Constitution and demands its implementation in letter and spirit”.

“Whereas justice delayed is justice denied it is a matter of grave concern that the pendency of cases for over decades has assumed an alarming proportion and hence the need of a regular judicial system in the hierarchy headed by the Supreme Court and a constitutional court has become imminent and appropriate legislation as envisaged by the PPP manifesto be promulgated to ensure expeditious justice to the people,” read the resolution.

It said: “The appointment in the judiciary has noticeably not brought about the desired results which requires a competitive and transparent induction of the best legal brains in the administration of justice and hence necessary amendments in law and Constitution be made by the appropriate authorities/legislatures to ensure a competitive, merit-based mechanism to ensure the best of the best judges are entrusted with the sacred duty of administering justice.”

The PLF convention expressed “grave concern” over the working of NAB, stating that “NAB has been acting in a very arbitrary, whimsical, capricious, discriminatory and autocratic manner. Even the Supreme Court time and again has noticed that NAB has no right to disgrace, humiliate and scandalise any person as compliant verification, inquiry or investigation and even trial don’t warrant any inference of guilt unless so judicially determined”.

The resolution said that “warrants of arrest by NAB are issued only against leaders of opposition while the ruling elite are exempted obviously leading to the inference that NAB is partisan which this house condemns”.

The participants of the convention declared that “the present government resulting out of a dubious electoral process has in the very short span of time exposed its complete incapacity to regulate the affairs of the state. The policies so far initiated have resulted in a colossal mess up and aggravated the economic crises. The price spiral has unprecedentedly depreciated the currency and resulted in price hike inflicting a bombshell on the people of Pakistan throwing not only the have-nots but the people into the abysmal dismay of poverty”.

“It is high time that the government in power resorts to consultative process of the issues in the Parliament taking the entire nation into confidence and taking decisions with consensus instead of the blame-game and the immaturity reflected so far from top to bottom in the government hierarchy,” the resolution said.

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