ISLAMABAD - Tension between Pakistan People’s Party and the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has intensified amid the possible arrest of former president Asif Ali Zardari.

The government is also threatening to arrest PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari which the PPP says could become ‘dangerous’ for the rulers.

The Supreme Court’s decision, seeking review of the travel ban on the Joint Investigation Team’s recommendations, gave a push to the PPP which started to play on the front foot. Last week, the federal cabinet had placed these 172 people on the Exit Control List after the JIT found them involved in the fake accounts and money-laundering cases.

However, the cabinet on Wednesday sent the 172 names– including Zardari and Bilawal – to a review committee to reconsider their travel ban.

The tension between the two parties started after the JIT, formed on the apex court’s orders to probe into the alleged money-laundering case last month, presented its 128-page final report to the court which included recommendations for filing 16 NAB references.

Zardari’s sister Faryal Talpur, former president of Summit Bank Hussain Lawai and Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed, property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain, his son-in-law Zain Malik and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah were prominent among those placed on the ECL.

Later, the PTI leaders demanded Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah which was strongly rejected by the PPP.

After the Supreme Court’s order to review the travel ban, the federal government softened its stance and came down to only ‘demanding’ the CM’s resignation instead of the original threat of toppling the Sindh government.

Murtaza Wahab, Adviser to Sindh CM, said the provincial government cannot be ‘demolished’ like one of the restaurants in Karachi’s Saddar. The government should start working according to the Constitution, he added. He said that PTI ministers confessed to stealing Sindh’s water on the assembly’s floor.

PPP leader Nafisa Shah said the PTI government had failed to deliver and was engaging the public in non-issues.

“They cannot topple an elected government. The PPP has the public support,” she said.

Shah said the PTI had turned a blind eye to the corruption by its own leaders and was chasing the opposition members on mere allegations.

The opposite, she said, will jointly expose the corruption by the PTI leaders and their cronies. She said information minister Fawad Chaudhry spoke at his post-cabinet meeting news conference like a ‘loser.’

“The government’s decision to send the names of the people placed on the ECL is only a way to delay the process. There is no logic behind the imposition of the travel ban on the PPP leadership,” she said.

Nafisa Shah said the PTI-led federal government was aiming to topple the Sindh government but are running from post to pillar to save their own government.

Former Interior Minister Senator Rehman Malik said the government had done nothing to resolve the country’s financial crises.

He said the United Arab Emirates had generously supported Pakistan by depositing a hefty amount of $ 3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan but “the credit for this assistance goes to army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.”

He said the people of Pakistan are thankful to UAE government and the UEA Crown Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan for his support in difficult times when Pakistan was passing through financial crisis. 

Senator Malik said the credit actually goes to “our defence strategy under the command of General Qamar Javed Bajwa as a continuation of Bajwa doctrine and his consistent efforts made possible that both Saudi Arabia and UAE deposited $3 billion each in the State Bank to enhance Pakistan’s liquidity and monetary reserves of foreign currency.”

He said the people wonder as why the government was unkind not to give this credit to the silent and shuttle diplomacy of General Bajwa which actually made it possible.

He said the government should have shown magnanimity by giving credit to General Bajwa who manage huge funds for Pakistan.

He added that Pakistan’s policy on Middle East and South Asia is more of our Defence Strategies instead of any bilateral ties and time is proving that it is a less foreign policy and more defence strategy which is playing vital role in building relations.

Senator Malik said that Bilawal was a visionary leader who responded to the federal government very wisely and amiably.

He said that federal government will suffer the maximum and heavily if it tried to topple the Sindh government adding political engineering by the PTI in Sindh will not work and if it worked then it will be the beginning of end of present government and the heat of such unwise move will engulf the federal government too.

He predicted an unfortunate political turmoil in upcoming month and the political boat of the country in a complicated quagmire.

He said that some top advisors are actually misguiding the top leadership in the present government.

He said that to be named on ECL or being under any investigation does not mean one can be termed as convicted adding that “we need to understand the difference between an accused and a convict.”

He advised the PTI govt not to misadventure by trying to destabilize the Sindh government as it will create situation paving the way the ouster of federal govt.

He added: “Let the law of the land take its own legal course”. He also said that the “inter political blame game may rock the boat of the ongoing political business.”

Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, the spokesperson to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said that PM Imran Khan had yet again made a u-turn by appointing his advisor’s company as the firm in charge of Mohmand Dam’s construction.

The federal government’s reality has been exposed through this act and is a proof of the government’s inability to stay true to its promises, he said.

Senator Khokhar said this act of PM Imran Khan demanded attention from the NAB. “The appointment of Razzaq Daood’s company is unfair and proves how bias the PTI government is,” he said. Senator Khokhar demanded immediate removal of Razzaq Dawood from the government’s affairs.

The PPP plans to make the life difficult for the government in the parliament by working jointly with the opposition including the Pakistan Muslim league (Nawaz).