- Accuses PTI chairman of having ‘misplaced priorities’
- Says MQM chief’s demand for new provinces lacks ’cause’
- Believes Sharif should not resign and govt will complete its tenure
While dubbing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as a “newcomer” in politics and thus being “politically immature”, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday said that the incumbent government would now have to shun its “laid back” attitude. The PPP leader also dismissed Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chairman Altaf Hussain’s call for the creation of new administrative units as “a move without cause”.
The former president was speaking to Pakistan Today Editor Mr Arif Nizami in a special interview for Samaa news channel at Bilawal House in the first one-to-one interview after leaving the Presidency on the completion of his constitutional tenure.
ZARDARI BELIEVES KHAN NEEDS TO SORT OUT HIS PRIORITIES:
Reiterating that he was able to complete the five-year-tenure as president by following the policy of “tolerance, tolerance and tolerance”, Zardari said that the PTI chairman tends to assert extreme positions.
“In politics, you always have to walk with maturity and far-sightedness,” he said, slamming Khan for “misplaced priorities” by staging protests when the country is facing devastating floods and nearly one million people have been displaced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Wondering how someone would want to bring the Parliament down while the country is facing challenging financial, security and law and order conditions, he added that economic losses instead of the sit-ins were posing the real threat to the country.
He backed Khan for criticising Returning Officers (ROs) for asking irrelevant questions from candidates of General Elections 2013 but said that poll results had been accepted by all.
The PPP co-chairman, whose party dominates Sindh, played down PTI’s Sunday’s show of street power in front of the Quaid’s Mausoleum, saying that “gathering 60,000 to 70,000 people in a city of 30 million was not an achievement”.
Asked if he buys the claim that MQM was backing PTI’s protest in Karachi, Zardari said, “Political parties show their pressure in different ways.”
Zardari said that before criticising others, “pro-change Khan” should first rid his party of “hereditary” politicians.
Zardari said that his government was able to handle Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri “with love” and that he could be appeased this time too.
“But this is not ours but the government’s job,” he said.
ZARDARI VISITED RAIWIND TO SAVE DEMOCRACY:
Backing the jirga led by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq to resolve the current political impasse, Zardari said that his visit to Raiwind was an effort to save democracy, not Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Saving democracy is the collective responsibility of the Parliament and not the sole responsibility of PM Sharif.”
“We are a majority party in the Senate. So, it is our responsibility to save democracy,” he said.
Zardari said that following the political crisis, the ruling party’s leadership would shun the “laid back attitude” they had adopted after winning the elections, adding that PPP would also raise the standard of opposition.
About his critical remarks terming PM Sharif as “Mughal-e-Azam”, he said that the PM is supposed to attend Senate sessions and also bring his decisions to the Parliament.
Zardari said that politicians, military establishment, bureaucrats and “retired minds and retired faces” should work on “self growth”.
Saying that Sharif was an elected representative and should not resign, Zardari added, “I don’t think elections would be held before five years.”
Zardari denied support for PPP leader Farhatullah Babar’s proposal for direct talks between Army and civilian leadership saying that Babar is not PPP’s think-tank.
Insisting that PPP was alive in Punjab as well as KP, he said, “Our loss in election was because of the absence of an election campaign due to terrorist threats. We have accepted our loss and moved on.”
‘ALTAF KEEPS CHANGING HIS MOOD’:
Commenting on the MQM chief’s demand for new provinces, Zardari said that “Altaf Bhai” is good at launching new products in politics but new provinces should not be carved out because there is no cause for doing so.
Zardari said that the country should first reap the “democratic dividends” of provincial autonomy and empowerment provided by the 18th Amendment and then proceed with proposals on the creation of new administrative units.
Stating that PPP is always open to dialogue and reforms, Zardari said, “We would change his (Altaf’s) mood.”