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December 8, 2017

Zardari rules out third force intervention

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December 8, 2017

LAHORE: Demanding immediate resignation of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif after the release of Justice Baqar Najfi report, former president and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday vowed to stand by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) in its struggle against the current government.

“Shahbaz stands condemned now after the release of the report and a condemned man is not eligible to be the chief minister of the country’s largest province. He must immediately resign and appear before the court” said Zardari, who was addressing a joint press conference with PAT head Dr Tahirul Qadri at the Minhaj-ul-Quran Secretariat.

The press conference was held after nearly one-and-a- half-hour long meeting between Zardari and Qadri, who discussed various options in wake of the current political situation, Justice Najfi’s report and the US decision to acknowledge Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Zardari said he didn’t foresee the Sharifs being handcuffed in Punjab but they would certainly face punishment for their deeds.Asif Zardari also predicted an early end to the PML-N government before the next caretaker set up.

He said the PPP would join hands with PAT to ensure justice for the Model Town carnage victims and become the part of their struggle at every forum, be it parliament or the streets. “The PPP is waiting for the nod of Mr Qadri,” said Zardari while responding to a question whether his party would become the part of any possible long march call given. Ruling out any intervention by the ‘third force’, Zardari stated keeping in view the economic challenges faced by Pakistan presently, the ‘third force’ wouldn’t opt to hold the reigns of the country, adding that only political forces were capable of handling “this economic burden”.

He said the Sharif brothers had been running the state affairs like Mughal emperors as the former prime minister neither attended the parliamentary sessions nor took any interest in the Council of Common Interests, whose meetings were not held for months.

He said the PPP had struggled for restoration of democracy in the country, not for the present Mughal emperorship, as the Sharifs never ran the country in accordance with the definition of democracy.

The former president said the PPP could work on all options, including resignation from the assemblies, for removing the government. Regarding the formation of a national government, Zardari said he believed that change should come through ballot, but asserted that the days of present government were numbered and he would make this happen.

Voicing concerns over the US decision to acknowledge Al-Quds as the capital of Israel, he said there was a dire need to convince the global community to press the US to review its decision. He said it was welcome sign that many European and other countries had opposed the move.

Seeking help of the PAT chief, Zardari stated that he and Qadri would also play their role in developing consensus amongst global leadership over the issue. To a question regarding electoral alliance with PAT, Zardari, who is the head of the PPP-P, said the issue had not come under discussion yet.

Qadri said there was no ambiguity in the Justice Najfi report and it was clear that Nawaz Sharif, who was holding affairs of federal government which appointed Mushtaq Sukhera as IGP Punjab, along with Shahbaz and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, were behind the June 2014 carnage.

He said the report had clearly stated that such a large strength of police was deployed to remove barriers and the motive behind it was to target the protesters. He said the report had declared Shahbaz responsible for the killings and Rana Sana, who chaired the meeting, had ordered action on his behalf.

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