Ruling out involvement of a “third umpire” in the current political impasse, former president and leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari Saturday said if there was indeed a “third umpire” the matter would have escalated. At the same time he said that the PPP wanted the incumbent parliament to complete its mandated term, ostensibly putting his party’s weight behind the beleaguered government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Conspiracies are part and parcel of politics,” Zardari told reporters at a press conference after his day-long trip to Lahore, where he met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with other PML-N members as well as leaders of various other parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI)
“We are all working together because there’s no shutting the door in democracy,” he said.
Maintaining a diplomatic stance, Zardari said, “We welcome the PTI government, it is their first time on the national front.” He also said that the PPP acknowledges the PTI’s right to hold on to their position when he was asked about the party’s decision to resign from the National Assembly.
“One democratic government should not challenge another democratic government, especially through street power,” the PPP chief said, adding, “Under no circumstances should democracy be challenged or derailed.”
Zardari also advised the government to deal with everything in a peaceful manner, and said that the PPP had “completed five years by making peace”.
“I am for Pakistan, I am not for anybody else. I have empowered this parliament,” he said.
The former president also said, “At this moment, we need to focus on standing with our armed forces who are engaged in an operation in the tribal areas.”