Various leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Monday reiterated their demands of a “level playing field” for all political parties ahead of the next general elections, as they criticized the alleged “special relief” for PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif.
“The PPP demands a level playing field for all,” stressed PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyer Husain Bukhari in a statement. Reiterating his party’s demands for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce a date and schedule for elections, he said this was a necessary step to ensure continuity of the parliamentary system.
“The caretaker government’s mandate is to assist the Election Commission of Pakistan for transparent elections. The caretakers should remain neutral and go home after fulfilling the responsibility of conducting free, fair and transparent elections,” he said, adding the Supreme Court should ensure the implementation of its decision on elections.
Taking aim at former prime minister Sharif, Bukhari recalled that Sharif was convicted by courts and would have to face the law upon his anticipated return on Oct. 21, as his sentence had been suspended on medical grounds in 2019. “It is surprising to hope that the judiciary will set a precedent for special relief for Nawaz Sharif,” he added, referring to PMLN claims Sharif would resolve his legal issues and contest upcoming polls.
The statement was echoed by PPP Lahore President Chaudhry Aslam Gill, who lamented to media that the party had yet to be granted permission for a public meeting, even as the PMLN had been allowed to mobilize at Minar-e-Pakistan on Oct. 21.
“Level playing field is being ensured only for one party,” he said. “Our request for holding a rally to mark the anniversary of Karsaz tragedy of Oct. 18, 2007 is pending, while the request for Oct. 21 public meeting [of PMLN] has been approved,” he said, adding the caretaker setup could not be considered “neutral.” Maintaining the PPP would not tolerate “biased” treatment, he urged caretakers to prove their neutrality through actions.
This isn’t the first time PPP has expressed apparent panic over Sharif’s return. Last week, in separate statements, both PPP leader Khurshid Shah and National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had alleged the PMLN leader was only returning due to a “deal” between him and the establishment. None of the PPP leaders have, as yet, offered any evidence to prove their claims.