LAHORE: President Asif Zardari has said Pakistan is a sovereign and independent country that can make its decisions independently and no power in the world can hinder the completion of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project now.
He was talking to senior journalists at a dinner reception he threw in their honour at Bilawal House here on Saturday.
He said some political parties were dependent on non-state actors but democracy was in strong hands and nobody could derail it now. He said the elections would be fair and free and would be held on time. He said the political party winning most assembly seats would be invited to form the next government. He said the implementation of articles 62 and 63 for the clearance of candidates would bring forth clean candidates for the upcoming elections.
The president assured that all groups in Balochistan would
take part in the upcoming elections. He said the opposition has not so far put forward any names for the caretaker prime minister.
President Zardari said he “will not become Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) and will hand over power to the party which will win the upcoming elections”, Geo News reported on Saturday.
He announced that the Pakistan People’s Party’s election campaign would be run by former premier and vice-chairman of the PPP central executive committee Yusuf Raza Gilani.
Our reporter adds: President Zardari met Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, Pakistan Muslim League-Q President Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Sunni Ittehad Council Chairman Sahibzada Fazal Karim separately on Saturday.
During the meetings, politics, the upcoming elections, the law and order situation in the country and other issues of national importance were discussed.
In the meeting with the Chaudhrys, core issues related to the PPP-PML-Q alliance and the future poll strategy were discussed. Sources said President Zardari also asked the PML-Q leadership to recommend two names for the caretaker prime minister.
The PML-Q leadership is expected to put forward the names in the next meeting with the president expected this week.
Sources said both sides also discussed the seat adjustment issue. A decision has already been taken about nearly 240 seats of the Punjab Assembly, out of a total 297.
The alliance between the PML-Q and Nawab of Bahawalpur also came under discussion.
In his meeting with Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, President Zardari discussed in detail the PPP-MQM relationship which apparently has come to an end in Sindh and centre after the latter preferred sitting on the opposition benches.
The meeting also discussed matters related to the resignations of MQM federal ministers and its cabinet members in Sindh. Both the leaders agreed that the politics of national reconciliation were vital in the current circumstances and the two sides must avoid confrontation which could affect the future relationship, particularly while keeping in view the upcoming general elections scenario.
Matters related to the alliance among the likeminded forces in Sindh against the PPP, including the PML-N, PML-F and some nationalists parties, also came under discussion.
Besides, the Sunni Ittehad Council Chairman Sahibzada Fazal Karim also called on President Zardari and discussed strategy related to the upcoming elections. Fazal Karim is a PPP-PML-Q ally now after a split in the ranks of the SIC.
Meanwhile, talking to reporters, PPP Punjab (Centre) President Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said links between the Punjab government and terrorist organisations had been proved.
He said the PML-N had made an election alliance with terrorist organisations. He added that the transfer and postings on a grand scale in Punjab was tantamount to pre-poll rigging.
Online adds: President Asif Zardari has said elections would be free and fair in which candidates would be cleared in the light of articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. He was talking to Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad.
The overall situation in the province with particular reference to Karachi was discussed during the meeting.
The president said the governor was a representative of the federation and expressed the hope that Dr Ebad would continue to contribute his best towards the stability of the province, a spokesperson said.
In Sialkot, President Zardari will address a public gathering during his one-day visit on Sunday, announced Federal Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan.