LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday clearly told his fellow PDM leaders that his party’s lawmakers won’t resign from assemblies at any cost and demanded that PML-N Supreme Leader Mian Nawaz Sharif should fly back to country “for a decisive battle” with the government.
Addressing a Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) meeting in Lahore through video link, the former president maintained that going for a last-resort option like mass resignations will only strengthen the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
He was of the view that he himself served a 14-year-long jail term so if Nawaz Sharif is serious in his battle for democracy, then he should fly back to country.
“Everyone will have to face the hardships in this battle if we are in for a decisive battle (for democracy),” said Asif Zardari, adding the PML-N leader Ishaq Dar too should have come to vote in Senate elections.
The former president maintained that his party, during its 2008 to 2013 reign, strengthened the parliament, introduced the 18th amendment and NFC award, and was “punished” for these “pro-democratic” moves but he is still ready for a long-term battle.
He was of the view that the proposed PDM long march can only be a successful show if Nawaz Sharif returns to the country, the way former PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto Shaheed did in the year 1986 and 2007.
“We mobilised the whole country when Benazir Bhutto Shaheed returned to the country in 1986 and 2007 and PDM should also prepare for a long march on the same footing,” said Zardari.
Zardari’s statement is widely being dubbed as a rift within the 11-party-alliance made against the incumbent government.
Maryam Nawaz responds
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif, while responding to Asif Zardari’s statement, said that her party, despite being the biggest party in the country, supported this alliance and she herself is staying in the country despite all the difficulties she had faced.
Maryam Nawaz said that she has fears for her father Mian Nawaz Sharif’s life in NAB custody as he also suffered two heart attacks in the bureau’s custody in the past.
“Nawaz Sharif participates (in PDM meetings) through video link as you are doing it right now,” said Maryam Nawaz.