- Zardari flays unconstitutional ‘invasion’ of Sindh by federal govt
- Former president wants respect for constitution, warns standoff will push nation towards political instability
Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday came down card on the federal government, saying the Centre has invaded the province of Sindh which was against the letter and spirit of the constitution.
“The nation will slip into a quagmire of instability and uncertainty if the constitution is trampled in this manner,” warned the PPP co-chairman in his message on the 139th birth anniversary of the father of nation, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
“It is a sad thought on this day that the cherished principle of constitutionalism, which was so dear to the Father of the Nation, has been trampled by the central government,” he went on to say.
Zardari’s statement comes amidst reports that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to intervene in the issue of Rangers’ special policing powers in Sindh, which has pitted the federal government against the Sindh government after the latter restricted the paramilitary force to act only against targeted killings, extortion and kidnapping from ransom cases and not directly against individuals allegedly involved in corrupt practices.
In response, the Federal Interior Ministry rejected the summary sent by the Sindh government regarding Rangers’ restricted role, and extended the security force’s deployment in Sindh with full powers for two months.
The federal government’s decision was severely criticised by the PPP-led Sindh government, which said it would not submit to the “unconstitutional” decision of the central government as the constitution empowered provinces to limit role of federal agencies operating in provinces under Article 147.
In his statement, Zardari called upon the people to adhere to the principles of democracy, constitutionalism and rule of law, as proposed by the Quaid, and to banish the militant and extremist mindset forever.
“The Pakistan People’s Party reiterates its resolve to protect and preserve the Constitution and fight extremism to the finish. Every worker of the party will continue to fight for these values to make Pakistan a truly democratic state where constitutionalism and rule of law reign supreme,” he added.
“The Father of the Nation Mohammed Ali Jinnah had envisioned a democratic and progressive Pakistan, which had constitutionalism and the rule of law, and where every citizen would have equal opportunities to advance without any prejudice or bias, be it religion, cast and creed,” he said, adding, “the need to follow this philosophy was never as great as it is now”.
Zardari said, “On this occasion, we also reiterate our resolve to fight enemies within who seek to destroy the state in the name of religion. We pay homage to all those in the armed forces, the police, and the civilian law enforcing agencies and people who have made huge sacrifices in the fight against extremists and militants.”
“On this occasion, I urge people to forge unity in their ranks, reject attempts to undermine the Constitution. I also urge people to reject the militant’s narrative of religion and protect and preserve the values for which Pakistan was created by its founding fathers under the leadership of the Quaid e Azam,” concluded the former president.