Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Monday clarified that while his party was a part of the ruling coalition, it was not a member of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance and will contest the next general elections as an individual party.
Addressing a press conference in Vehari, he said the PPP would consider the matter of alliances with other political parties ahead of elections. Describing politics as “the art of the possible,” he said negotiations could be held with all politicians and political parties, but stressed that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan was not a politician. “Imran Khan fears courts but a politician does not fear courts or prisons,” he said. “Imran Khan wanted to sell all the institutions of the country but we saved the country by ousting him from power,” he said, noting that Khan had earlier described backtracking from his previous positions—‘U-turns’—as part of his “nature.”
Discussing the PTI’s victory in Rajanpur by-elections, the former president said it was a result of the prevailing economic crunch and price hikes. Rubbishing statements of the PTI that Pakistan would “disappear” if it were to default, he said it was country and not a public limited company. “Japan and other countries have defaulted in the past and default does not mean that the country is finished,” he added.
Discussing a recent statement of foreign minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in which he had hinted at quitting the ruling coalition over “unfulfilled promises to flood victims,” Zardari said his son was a young man prone to anger when promises were not fulfilled. He echoed his son’s concerns with the digital census currently underway, saying Sindh had reservations over how it was being conducted.
To a question on the potential arrest of Imran Khan and whether he had been consulted over it, Zardari said this was the prerogative of the interior minister. “Why would he consult me?” he said, adding in response to another question that it was Nawaz Sharif’s concern when he wished to return to Pakistan.
Answering a question on controversy over judicial bias, the PPP co-chairman said the government had three challenges before it: the economy, the military’s role in politics and judicial overreach. The judiciary is composed of people who are part of society, he explained, noting they had earlier been lawyers who were elevated to judges. “We have to talk to them,” he added.