ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday defended his acquittal in the final reference case in the National Accountability Bureau saying that it was not the first time he won a “politically motivated” case against him.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference, the former president said that PPP was a democratic party which struggled against dictatorship, but never criticised state institutions on the streets.
“A long tale is attached to each of these fourteen politically motivated cases. There were 400 to 500 court appearances that we went through to get the verdicts,” he said.
“It is very easy for people to say that I colluded with them to get these verdicts, but instead there has been a real struggle behind each of them.”
Zardari also revealed that Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan and the elections were held due to the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) signed by Benazir Bhutto and former President Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
“The NRO also had election reforms and democracy which eventually led to return of Nawaz Sharif to politics in Pakistan. That is the reason, Bibi (Benazir Bhutto) signed the NRO,” he said.
He also said there is a long saga of cases filed against him during the tenure of former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. “Those cases also based on trumped up charges and I won all of them while in jail,” he said. “But I do not want to bother people with those stories at the moment”
He went on to say that this is not the first time he has faced this situation, and there have been politically motivated cases against him before, but he spend years in jail struggling against them.
“I remember I was in Landhi jail when the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) was quashed by Justice Qazi,” he said “When I was walking out, the superintendent said, ‘Please leave your stuff here as you will return back soon.’ I told him that I will complete my formality.”
“As I was walking out, they told me I was being arrested in the Murtaza Bhutto case,” he recounted. He said that Benazir Bhutto told him that “They have killed a Bhutto to get a Bhutto” and their government was eventually toppled.
“The NRO also called for the General Musharraf to remove his uniform. If he had stayed in power, then Nawaz Sharif would not have formed the government in Punjab.”
“We could have stopped Nawaz Sharif, but we could not have removed a general,” he said. “PPP has struggled against dictators but it has not been a personal one.”
He said that two references were filed against him during the era of Musharraf, but even the Supreme Court said there was apparent bias. “They tried all possible means but I am standing in front of you,” he said.