Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has advised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to step down if the Supreme Court rules against him in the Panamagate case.
Speaking with anchor Javed Chaudhry in ExpressNews show ‘Kal Tak’ on Wednesday, Zardari warned that reluctance on Sharif’s part to accept the court verdict might have an adverse impact on democracy. “Premier Nawaz has never been in the habit of accepting things which go against him,” he said. “[But] if there is agitation, it won’t be good for democracy.”
Zardari gave the example of his own party in somewhat similar circumstances. “We did not resist when the Supreme Court disqualified [then premier] Yousaf Raza Gilani. We chose another prime minister,” he said. “Nawaz should do the same. The PML-N has many MNAs. Nawaz should step down and choose one of them as his replacement,” the PPP leader added. Zardari also criticised the prime minister for not attending parliament’s sessions. “Sharif is running parliament like an emperor. He rarely visits any houses of parliament,” he said, adding that a prime minister who did not attend parliament sessions weakened democracy.
Commenting on the development work initiated by the Sharif administration, Zardari claimed all PML-N schemes were based on lies and deception. “Sharif claims everything by putting up an inauguration plaque. He even claims to be the man behind Pakistan’s nuclear programme,” he said. “The only thing the PML-N can successfully pull off is coordination with police.”
Conversely, the PPP, he added, did not ‘put its own plaque’ on many schemes. “Benazir Bhutto used to say, ‘some secrets you take to the grave’,” he said. The PPP leader added that his party was better at management and that the PML-N has “inherited a better government than we did.”
Zardari accused the federal government of ‘tunnel vision’ when it comes to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said the PML-N was only fixated on its own interests.
“The federation is taking controversial positions with Sindh on many issues to shore up support for the upcoming general elections,” Zardari said. “This is against the interest of Pakistan, the federation and the 18th amendment which made it possible for Sharif to become prime minister for a third time.”
Talking about rows with the centre on issues like gas and water, Zardari dispelled the impression that Sindh was being ‘rebellious’. “The province faces pressure. Everyone knows Sindh provides 67 per cent of the gas and needs only 37 per cent.
PM inaugurates Bhikki Power Plant, 717MW added to national grid
But the province receives only 18 per cent, which means you have to suspend generation at 12 power plants, which in turn necessitates load-shedding.”
He added that PPP would support the Sindh government if it decided to take over the offices of the Sui Southern Gas Company. “The centre and Sindh are already locked in confrontation. The prime minister and the federation should engage in dialogue with the Sindh chief minister to end this. If you do not let the chief minister do his job, naturally he will protest.”
The PPP leader vowed to take to the streets against the government over load shedding. “We will stage a sit-in against power outages, unemployment and inflation, and will protest till this government is dismissed.”