Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has welcomed the announcement of former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari to return home after living abroad for 18 months.
Speaking to journalists accompanying him on his three-day official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina at a breakfast meeting, Mr Sharif said: “Frankly, I am happy on his return. He should come and take over the reins of his party.”
Zardari, who is scheduled to land in Karachi on Friday (today), left the country in June last year apparently in a hurry after stirring up a controversy with his remarks about the country’s military leadership led by the recently retired Gen Raheel Sharif.
The PPP has never offered any explanation for Zardari’s long stay out of the country which is widely described in the media as a self-imposed exile.
The prime minister said he was in favour of political affinity and mentioned “the Charter of Democracy” signed by his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the PPP.
He said never during the PPP government, he made any attempt to derail the system. Despite differences with the PPP, Mr Sharif said his party did not adopt the policy of agitation and sit-ins.
Since the announcement of Zardari’s return the PPP seems to be in celebratory mood. The Sindh chief minister has visited Karachi airport to review arrangements for the former president’s welcome and banners with welcoming slogans are seen everywhere in the city.
Abbottabad Commission report
The prime minister said he would review the Abbottabad Commission report before making a decision to make it public. He said he would review it on his return home at the end of his visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Sharif said though 2016 was a difficult year for his government it was going to end on a good note.
“Running affairs of the country are not everyone’s job, and particularly not for those used to doing sit-ins,” he said.
Without naming former president retired General Pervez Musharraf, the prime minister said even those with seven-point agenda could not make a positive difference and eventually left the nation behind with the curse of electricity load shedding.
The prime minister dismissed the impression that the government was making efforts to end the power crisis to win votes in next general election.
In fact, he said, his government was aiming to address all development issues, adding that he would continue the policy of bringing reforms in all sectors.
Sharif said he was working on fulfilling the objectives of his party manifesto.
He mentioned that a project of construction of 49 modern hospitals was actively being taken up and people in several districts had been issued health cards.
He said transparency had been ensured in the projects of the Liquefied Natural Gas and solar plants, and added that Rs100 billion from national exchequer had been saved.
In response to a question on taking the four regulatory authorities under government control, he said these bodies were meant to regulate the private sector, but these had started regulating the government.
He said this approach by these authorities resulted in a delay of several projects, which could not be afforded, and the decision was taken appropriately.
Earlier, the prime minister visited Kovaci memorial, the largest cemetery of the fallen soldiers in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-95 war.
Sharif along with the chairman of Council of Ministers — the prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina — visited the historic place in memory of the martyrs of genocide and offered dua.
The two leaders then drove to the permanent exhibition of Srebrenica gallery where photographs of the 1995 Serbian massacre have been put on display.
Prime Minister Sharif on Thursday made a brief stopover in the Romanian capital en route to Islamabad after concluding his three-day official visit to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Romania’s Deputy Prime Minister Costin Borc received Mr Sharif at the airport.
Begum Kalsoom Nawaz and Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi accompanied him.
The stopover was made for refuelling of the plane.