Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Monday expressed confidence of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) emerging victorious in upcoming general elections, as he thanked the public for reposing its trust in the party during by-elections for local government seats in Karachi.
On Sunday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) conducted by-elections for nine local government constituencies in Karachi, with the PPP emerging the clear victory, followed by the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. According to unofficial results, Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab and Deputy Mayor Abdullah Murad both secured their respective seats, preventing any challenges to their June election to leadership of the Sindh capital.
“The sun of Feb. 8 will rise with the message of Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s victory,” said Zardari in an official statement that also welcomed last week’s ECP announcement of the polling date. “A few days of the public’s difficulties are left. The PPP will bring an end to the people’s ordeals,” he added.
“Sindh’s heart, Karachi, also raised the slogan of Jiye Bhutto,” the PPP co-chairman said, referring to the by-elections. He described the victories of Wahab and Murad a “special message” for political rivals. “Every party worker may become the ambassador of Benazir Bhutto shaheed and start the electoral campaign,” he added, indicating the PPP’s move toward active campaigning for the next government.
In a separate statement, Bilawal also congratulated the winners of the Karachi by-polls. “The public has given its verdict. Now, God-willing, the PPP’s victory on Feb. 8 is also written on the wall,” he said.
As the country gears up for elections, the PPP has sought to take on the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz)—its erstwhile ally in the former federal government—with multiple press conferences focusing on the “special treatment” the party alleges is being accorded to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. On Sunday, PPP Secretary General Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari issued a statement accusing the PMLN of “collusion” with the caretaker government.
“An alliance between the PML-N and the caretakers is obvious,” he said, questioning the interim government’s retention of PMLN Senator Ishaq Dar as the Leader of the House in the Senate. “With which status is Ishaq Dar holding the office of Leader of the House in Senate?” he said, noting the position represents the prime minister and the caretakers should have appointed an “independent member” of the Senate to the post.
“Leader of the House is entitled to have a national flag on his residence and car,” he said, and reiterated calls for the ECP to “prove” its impartiality by ensuring free and fair polls with no favors for any single party or individual.