Thursday, February 22, 2018
By Asad Hashim
Walking a tightrope
Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that all the parties should respect the Supreme Court verdict that disqualified former premier Nawaz Sharif as the head of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Zardari said it was the duty of everyone to respect the top court’s decision. He said confrontation with institutions of the state would be counterproductive, undermine democracy and must be avoided.
Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif as president of the ruling PML-N in its verdict regarding petitions against Election Act, 2017.
The apex court ruled that a person who did not qualify on Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution could also not head any political party.
“Ineligible person cannot hold the office of party presidency,” the court said.
The court also annulled all decisions made by Nawaz Sharif as the party chief.
Last month, the sc had accepted petitions for hearing against the Election Act, 2017.
These petitions were submitted by the Awami Muslim League, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Pakistan People’s Party, other political parties and groups of lawyers. The approval of Electoral Reforms Bill 2017 had paved way for Nawaz Sharif to become president of the PML-N after he was disqualified as the prime minister in July last year.
It was passed from both houses of the parliament despite the bone of contention being its Section 203, which allowed the former PM to hold office as the PML-N president. Reacting to the sc verdict, Nawaz Sharif complained that “hands of a state institution have reached parliament’s collar.” However, Zardari said it was unfortunate that “Nawaz Sharif chose to tread the path of confrontation.” The PPP co-chairman also vowed that the party would continue to protect and promote democracy and constitutionalism. Separately, addressing a gathering of party workers, Zardari said in the next general elections the PPP tickets would be awarded to the candidates who had the confidence of the party workers.
He said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto were proud of their Jiyalas (diehard workers) and he also cherished Jiyalas of the party.
“Jiyalas offered sacrifices for the party and its leadership,” he said, instructing party workers to start working for the next elections as the party was destined to form governments in the centre and the provinces.
Zardari said that politics was the name of serving people and resolving their problems and hardships.
“Bhutto had said that the political heaven is under the feet of the people. PPP leadership has never believed in political revenge,” he added.
Zardari asked workers to spread the message of the PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to every corner of Pakistan. Meanwhile, politicians from the Federally-Administrated Tribal Areas called on Zardari on Wednesday and announced joining the PPP. Former independent candidates from Mohmand Agency NA-36 Shah Sawar Khan and from Bajaur Agency NA-44 Muhammad Hasseb Khan were among those who joined the PPP, a party statement said.
President PPP Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Humayun Khan, Behramand Tangi, Senator Sardar Ali Khan, Dr Farooq Afzal, Fazal Hadi and Imtiaz Khan were also present on the occasion. Zardari welcomed the new entrants in the party and said that the Fata was neglected in the past by the anti-PPP elements, and the “PPP target is to make [the] Fata a part of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.”