Zardari backs electoral reforms, seeks next election per schedule

  • PPP co-chairman says majority of PTI leaders are ‘turncoats expelled from other parties’
  • Hints Bilawal Bhutto will contest next general elections

Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said his party wanted to bring reforms in the existing electoral system, adding that the next general election should be held per schedule.

In an interview to a news channel on Wednesday, he said a Parliamentary Electoral Reforms Committee (PERC) was in place and was working to remove flaws from the present system. “Although the PPP had some reservations over the 2013 elections transparency, it opted to follow a democratic path in line with Benazir Bhutto’s vision,” he said. PPP would play its role in the PERC to ensure holding of free, fair and transparent elections in future, Zardari added.

To a question that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan had declared 2015 as election year, Zardari said Imran Khan’s rhetoric was aimed at attracting public attention and to keep his supporters attached to the party.

Zardari questioned the PTI’s claim of introducing new faces. “If you look at a majority of PTI leaders, they are all turncoats or expelled from other political parties.”

Commenting on the establishment of an accountability bureau in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Zardari said the PTI’s provincial government was inaugurating the bureau following the arrest and questioning of veteran politician Liaquat Shabab who had rendered great sacrifices for the cause of democracy.

The PPP co-chairman said there had been no political prisoner in PPP’s last five-year term in the government.

He warned KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and PTI Chairman Imran Khan to refrain from political victimisation in the name of accountability. “They should remember that Khattak has never been to jail and Imran Khan has never tasted jail’s hot water.”

Answering another question, the former president said political parties would contest the next general election on the basis of performances in their respective provinces and centre. “Political parties’ performance will be gauged in the next elections,” he added.

Referring to the PTI’s protests and sit-ins, Zardari said PTI was pursuing politics of agitation and wanted to derail a democratically-elected government. “But PPP would not let democracy be derailed,” he added.

He said PPP had time and again assured the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) that it would continue to support the government and strengthen democracy in the country.

About estranged PPP leader Zulfiqar Mirza, Zardari said it was nothing new for the PPP as several big politicians joined and parted ways with the party. Despite that PPP was still intact and standing with full strength, he added.

Talking about PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the former president said his son had completed his studies abroad and would soon join practical politics. To a question on whether Bilawal would contest the 2018 general election, Zardari said “Inshallah”.

Zardari also claimed that whenever PPP came into power, law and order improved considerably in Sindh— including Karachi. He said there was notable development in the Safoora Goth investigation because Sindh police were working well.

Zardari pointed out that the KP government could not prevent the tragic Army Public School attack despite receiving intelligence reports.