ISLAMABAD - While Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has started holding consultations with political leadership to counter PTI’s Azadi March, PPP Co-chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari once again put weight behind Imran Khan’s demand of recount in disputed constituencies.

“PPP agrees to the contention of recount in the disputed constituencies under the law and opposes invocation of Article 245 of the Constitution in Islamabad,” said Asif Ali Zardari in a telephonic contact with PTI Chairman Imran.

Asif Ali Zardari who is in London after a week-long US visit is in contact with the opposition parties to discuss the political situation arising after the strict stance of PTI Chief Imran to hold Azadi March on August 14. He also phoned ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali as well as PML-Q leaders Ch Shujaat Hussain and Ch Pervaiz Elahi to discuss the prevailing situation.

Adopting a bit mild stance, the former president told the PTI chief that no opportunity should be provided to anyone to derail the democratic system in the country on the pretext of political instability, the PPP spokesperson quoted Zardari as having said.

Earlier, the PPP co-chairman had expressed dismay over the frequent rejection of the vote recount demand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) by the PML-N government. Zardari, in a surprising move, had even remarked that the heavens would not fall if the demand was accepted.

“Recounting of votes in the constituencies where there are complaints should be carried out whether such constituencies are in Punjab or Sindh or elsewhere,” PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari had remarked as quoted by his spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar.

Pakistan People’s Party which is creating ripples in the political arena by giving unexpected statements has shocked the ruling clique for putting weight behind Imran Khan’s demand for recounting in four constituencies. Only a day before, Zardari blasted the government the way it was handling the issue of the IDPs.

Zardari also contacted JI Amir Sirajul Haq and reiterated the same viewpoint, saying he believed the worst democracy was better than any so-called benign dictatorship.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said the former president, through his phone calls, underlined the need to protect and promote democracy, at the same time, sending a clear message to the government to listen to the voices of reason and logic.

He said Zardari was genuinely and seriously concerned over the direction and momentum of the political course in the country. He was keen to consult all political forces in a bid to protect the democratic setup from being undermined under any pretext. He added the phone calls were part of the consultation process.

At the same time, the former president was keen to stop the government from any reaction that could result in political instability and expose the democratic institutions to new and unforeseen kinds of threats.

In reply to a question, the spokesperson said the PPP would not participate in the PAT’s gathering on August 10 in Lahore, being held to pay homage to the victims of the June 17 Model Town tragedy.

“The PPP condemns the Model Town incident, calls for registration of an FIR, holding of judicial inquiry and punishment to those who misused authority,” he said and added it also deeply sympathised with the bereaved families of the victims. But it would not do anything that might be seen as aligning with PAT’s so-called revolution march to Islamabad, he said.

The spokesperson said PPP believed the invocation of Article 245 was a fatal decision which would have serious repercussions, so the decision should be reviewed by the government.

Meanwhile, sources said the former President also phoned Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah and asked him to stick to the party’s stance against the invocation of Article-245 in the federal capital. He also asked him to convey his concern about the decision to the prime minister.