Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah claimed Friday that the PPP had “saved democracy” in 2014 when former president Asif Ali Zardari convinced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not to resign as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) turned up the political heat with its 2014dharna.
The PTI’s 126-day-long sit-in in Islamabad had called for the resignation of the prime minister amid allegations that the 2013 General Election was rigged.
“Nawaz Sharif was going to resign. We [the PPP] stopped him. We said, ‘This is the Parliament’s war’,” Shah claimed while speaking to media in Karachi.
“Asif Zardari went to Raiwand and showed the world that he had accepted Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister,” he added.
Earlier in March, PTI Chairman Imran Khan alleged that PM Nawaz struck a deal with Zardari to ‘save himself’ in the ongoing Panamagate corruption case.
“I have no doubt that Nawaz and Zardari have cut a deal, and that is why Zardari and Sharjeel Memon have returned to Pakistan while Dr Asim Hussain and Ayyan Ali were set free,” Khan said.
The PTI chairman added that the deal consists of the prime minister announcing projects in Sindh while Zardari is in Lahore.
“The PPP is now repeating history, returning the favour that PML-N did to them by remaining silent for four years,” Khan had claimed.
When asked about Sindh governor and PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair’s statements attributing responsibility for peace in Karachi to the premier, Shah said Nawaz had no role to play in Karachi’s ‘improved’ security situation.
“Gen Raheel, the Army and the provincial government have an understanding,” he said. “Nawaz Sharif is not involved in this.”
The leader of opposition went on to criticise the federal government for attempting to block the Sindh government’s move to remove Inspector General of Police A.D. Khawaja.
“Under the 18th Amendment bill, the provincial government has the right to make decisions as it deems fit,” Shah said.
He added that the Sindh government does not have an “understanding” with the IG and the decision of his removal was taken to “better the law and order situation of the province.”
“By putting blockages in the provincial government’s way, the federal government is playing a dangerous game,” he said, adding that if the move is blocked, the PPP would have to consider its next step.
“As leader of the opposition, I have the position to fight within and without the Parliament for democracy.”
Shah’s statements come at a time the PPP appears to have begun campaigning for the upcoming General Election.
With PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari focusing his attention on reorganising the party in Punjab and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari rallying in Balochistan, the party seems to be on the offensive as it looks to ramp up support for itself away from its stronghold in Sindh.