ISLAMABAD - Former president Asif Ali Zardari yesterday went ballistic as screws on his party stalwarts facing charges of graft and terrorism were being tightened.

The PPP co-chairman said in a statement that his party admitted the defeat in general elections by the PML-N for the sake of democracy, though he claimed, the victory was made with ‘outside help’.

“We accepted the results of 2013 general elections for the sake of democracy, although those elections were RO’s elections. The recent election tribunal decisions have endorsed our point that the PML-N was made to win the elections by outside help,” read the statement issued from London.

He alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was replaying the politics of 1990s – when political victimisation went rampant – though the credit of his premiership went to the PPP.

“Today Nawaz Sharif is the PM (of Pakistan) and Shahbaz Sharif is the CM of Punjab only because of the (Pakistan) People’s Party. It was the People’s Party that lifted the ban on becoming prime minister or the chief minister thrice, though it was evident to us that it will only serve the interests of Sharif brothers,” he said

Zardari’s swipe surfaced a couple of days after an anti-corruption court issued arrest warrants for his party’s vice chairman Yousaf Raza Gilani and his close aide Amin Fahim over graft in a trade development scheme during their rule. Another senior figure in the opposition PPP, Asim Hussain, is in Rangers custody for allegedly financing terrorism.

“First Qasim Zia and son of Senator Bangash were arrested and now Dr Asim has been arrested. Immediately after arrest warrants for former PM Gilani and ex-commerce minister Amin Fahim, who is ill, had been issued. Bureaucrats in Sindh are being harassed by FIA and NAB. The Chief Secretary of Sindh is on bail. All this unmistakably presents a clear pattern of political harassment and revenge. By doing so, Sindh has been immobilised, under the direct orders from the PM House,” the statement read.

Gilani had served as PPP PM until he was disqualified by the Supreme Court in 2012 for defying its order to write to Swiss authorities for opening of money-laundering cases against Zardari.

He said a video showed PML-N Punjab minister Rana Mushhood receiving money on behalf of Sharifs but he has not yet been arrested.

“At a time when our innocent citizens were being killed by indiscriminate ‘bombing’ in border villages by the enemy; when the Army is fighting a decisive war against terrorists and also fighting at our borders, Nawaz Sharif, instead of challenging the real enemy, is targeting People’s Party and other political opponents,” he said.

Zardari said the PPP stands fully with the Army in the ongoing war against terrorism. “We salute our jawans (soldiers) who gave ultimate sacrifice in this war.”

The former president said the government steps suggestive of the fact that the PML-N was “dividing the nation in an attempt to save their natural allies, the Taliban and the terrorists; and weaken the war against terror”.

“It seems that Nawaz has not learnt any lessons from the past. We are not the ones who fled to Jeddah after seeking pardon. The nation very well knows that the ‘honour’ of applying for pardon by any politician in the country only belongs to Nawaz,” he maintained.

He demanded Justice Najafi report on Model Town killing should be made public. He also called for arrest of people involved in the Asghar Khan case.

On the other hand, Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid rejected Zardari’s statement as “based on misinformation and misunderstanding”.

“Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif buried the politics of revenge through charter of democracy,” he said.

“Every case would be referred to the courts, and we would leave it to the independent judiciary of Pakistan to take appropriate measures,” added Rashid. He also stated that it is the duty of the government to act upon criticism it receives from the opposition. He said all political parties, including the PPP, had agreed to an across-the-board operation in Karachi and the operation was launched after all parties had agreed to support it. “The prime minister has also asked for a report on Asif Zardari’s statement,” stated Rashid.