PM Imran must go, says Zardari after Fazl meeting


Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said that if the incumbent government is not toppled then the damage caused to the country would be irreversible.

Speaking to the media after his meeting with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who called on him at his residence earlier, the former president said that if the opposition does not oust the government, then “some other force” would do it.

“If we do not oust the incumbent government, the next generations will not forgive us. The captain has to go,” Zardari said, referring to Prime Minister Imran Khan.

When asked about the timeframe for this planned ouster, Zardari said that everything has a time.

Fazl told the media that his meeting with Zardari was a routine meeting in which they had dinner and talked about various national and political matters. “There was a complete consensus between us on multiple issues,” he said.

“We do not want to give the government any surprises,” he added.

Fazl also said he met Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday and discussed matters of mutual interest with him as well.

He said that it is important to rid the nation of the incumbent government and the opposition would continue to hold meetings for this purpose.

Earlier on Tuesday, the PML-N supremo reportedly turned down a request of the JUI-F chief to join the opposition’s street agitation against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

The JUI-F chief had sought the support of the PML-N in the protests announced by the PPP and other opposition parties during a meeting with Nawaz at his Jati Umra residence.

Sources privy to the issues discussed in the meeting said that Nawaz refused to give a clear commitment to Fazl regarding his party’s participation in street protests, saying he would discuss the matter with other leaders.

However, PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair categorically said that his party would not participate in the street protests called by PPP.

Talking in a TV channel’s talk show, Zubair said that the party did not intend to join hands with PPP and other parties in street agitation.

On April 4, while addressing a ceremony on the 40th death anniversary of PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had announced that he would march towards Islamabad along with his party workers to oust the incumbent government.

“The ‘selected’ prime minister’s bubble has burst. The government does not have funds to run the country. I want to tell him that if he cannot collect funds through the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) then he should leave,” he said, adding that his party cannot give this government any more time as it does not care about the people, therefore, it has decided to march on Islamabad to oust the government.

Addressing reporters after meeting Nawaz, Maulana Fazl said that the opposition should join hands to terminate the government.

The JUI-F chief said he had been in touch with other political leaders, including Zardari. He added that he will also call on Zardari in the next few days as believes that “internal connections [among opposition parties] should remain intact”.

“The agenda of the meeting was limited to inquiring about his [Nawaz Sharif’s] health, but we also discussed our shared concerns about towering inflation, which is affecting the common man, and the troubled economy,” he said while responding to a question.

Calling Prime Minister Imran Khan a “fake and khala’i [extra-terrestrial]” premier, Rehman described the current regime as an “installed” one. He added that the ruling regime has no knowledge of the ideology of Pakistan, the ground realities of the country and the economy.

He repeated that the JUI-F has completed 10 ‘million marches’ against the government and that they are ready for a decisive one.

“NAB is an institution of revenge. You should not expect accountability or justice from NAB. I think we need to take some strict decisions when it comes to NAB,” Rehman said.

As the meeting was taking place, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that the Supreme Court (SC) was informed that Nawaz Sharif was so unwell that his life was in danger if bail was not granted. “Now instead of ambulances Fazlur Rehman has reached there and is giving a political injection of Mian saheb. The courts should take notice of this.”