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Zardari advises govt to revisit foreign policy, improve ties with US

NAWABSHAH: Pakistan Peo­ples Party Parliamentarians, President, Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday advised the federal government to revisit its foreign policy and improve ties with the United States.

Speaking at a reception hosted at Zardari House in Nawabshah for elite of the Shaheed Benazir­abad district and later to local reporters, he said recent statements of US President Donald Trump against Pakistan reflected flaws in the foreign policy.

Improving the policy and relations with the world community especially the US was all the more important as the country was going through a crucial phase, he said. However, he added that US move to stop trade with Pakistan would have little effect on Pakistan. Commenting on the political situation and a future government in the country, Mr Zardari said: “I see PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] on the opposition benches after the next general election though it is premature to say anything as to who would form the government at the Centre”.

He said if his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) come to power, it would be able to restore good relations with the US, European and countires of the world.

Regarding chances of an interim dispensation, he said it was the PPP that had prepared the Constitution and evolved a consensus of all parties on it. It could better understand it, he said, and added that there was no provision for a “technocrat government” in the Constitution. “The general election and senate election may still be held on time but if the poor policies being pursued by the incumbent government at the Centre remained in force, they could be held before time,” he said.

In reply to a question, he dispelled the impression that all sugar mills in Sindh were owned by him.

He reiterated that the issue of sugar cane rate the result of the policy being pursued by the federal government.

He argued that the Sindh government had even granted a subsidy to cane growers last year and the money had been deposited in Sindh Bank this year but the federal government did not give any subsidy to them.

He said Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi appeared well aware of Air Blue and LNG issues but not about the issues of growers of Sindh.

Mr Zardari said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would definitely bring about prosperity in the country and, as such, it must be fully executed.

He also condemned the criminal assault on a small girl and her murder in Kasur and said recurrence of such incidents was a failure of the Khadim-i-Aala of Punjab.

The PPP leader reaffirmed his party’s support to Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leader Dr Tahirul Qadri on the issue of Model Town tragedy and said the reason was very clear that 14 innocents people were killed and about 100 others were injured in that tragedy. They must get justice at the earliest, he added.

Mr Zardari also refuted the allegation of his party’s involvement in the political crisis in Balochistan.

Turning to the issues of agriculture in Sindh, he noted that some 2.6 million acres of land had been lying dry due to the closure of the main Rohri canal before the scheduled time on a court order. He said he would make efforts to get the canal reopened as soon as possible.

Replying to another question, Mr Zardari said he wished to contest from Nawabshah in the next general election.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2018

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PPP won’t aid any move to dislodge PML-N govt

NAWABSHAH/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) President, Asif Ali Zardari Thursday said that his party would not become part of any non-democratic move to dislodge the ruling PML-N government.

“PPP is the founder of 1973 constitution … we will neither take any unconstitutional step nor will support any non-democratic move,” Zardari told a press conference in Nawabshah. “The constitution does not mention any technocrat government in country,” he maintained.

To a question, the PPPP chief hoped that Senate elections will not be delayed. “I think that the elections for Upper House will be held on time,” he said. “I will contest election from Nawabshah if the party awards me a ticket,” Zardari said in response to a question about himself contesting the election.

On alliance with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri, Zardari said his party will join the protest announced by the former, demanding resignations of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said Shehbaz Sharif and Rana Sanaullah must step down in the wake of a minor’s death in Kasur as they had failed to keep law and order in the province.

“If a deputy superintended of police can be suspended for the death of a peacock in Jati Umra, some big head must also roll in this case too,” he maintained, adding that everybody knows that a chief minister is always responsible for the entire province.

On Kasur incident, Shah said it was not the first such incident to occur in Punjab. “It only got highlighted while the previous incidents were not properly looked into by the Punjab government,” he said, adding that the same issue had been raised in parliament again and again. “If one looks at police performance and court response on law and order situation in provinces, Punjab’s situation is the worst,” he said. The PPP lawmaker said that the incident highlighted the incompetence of the Punjab government and the local administration. He said the culprits involved in the incident should immediately be arrested and punished. “If they are not penalised as soon as possible, the frequency of such incidents will soar,” he feared.

Reacting to comments made by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against the judiciary and security institutions, Shah said that Sharif wanted to destroy the credibility of state institutions, adding that his actual purpose was something other than what he was saying in the public addresses. “His aggressive attitude will only create chaos in the country … this is very dangerous trend,” Shah maintained.

He said that Nawaz Sharif’s main aim to weaken the state institutions. “This is not an encouraging sign as it will allow everyone to stand up and tarnish the image of institutions,” he stated.

Published in Daily Times, January 12th 2018.