PPP terms Imran’s minus-Zardari formula ‘hopeless desire’

ISLAMABAD –  The Pakistan People’s Party has rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan’s minus-Asif Ali Zardari formula terming it a “hopeless desire”.

This week, Imran Khan rejected the possibility of a political alliance with the PPP under former president Asif Ali Zardari.

“Until there is Zardari, there cannot be an alliance with the PPP. There should be no misunderstanding. I am fighting corruption, how can I join hands with Zardari,” he had said.

Senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said Imran Khan was living in a world of dreams and he could live on with his fantasies. “This is an ‘individualistic desire’ or an ‘annoyed Khan’. There seems nothing practical in his desire,” the PPP central Punjab president told The Nation.

Kaira said the PPP was improving in the Punjab province and would do better in the coming general elections.

“Urban Punjab is a problem but we are not hopeless. The workers are being mobilised. We are aiming to perform better,” he added.

Kaira, a former information minister, said the recent rallies of the PPP had been successful, which had encouraged the activists.

“The PPP workers and leaders are fighting hard to make a comeback and we are optimistic to achieve the goal,” he said.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Khurshid Shah on Tuesday said the government was running away from the Federally-Administrated Tribal Areas’ reforms.

Speaking to journalists here, he said the PPP wanted the government to move forward on the Fata reforms in phases however, the government was still not showing any seriousness.

Shah said that the Fata’s merger into the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province could be delayed for the next government after the general elections but there should be some progress on implementation of the proposed reforms.

The PPP leader said that he would contact other parties including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) to expedite the implementation of the Fata reforms.

Separately, on Tuesday, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said the Fata and parts of Balochistan had become “black holes” and honest answers must be given to questions about internment centres, which had turned into “Guantanamo Bay-like prisons”.

Speaking at an event organised by the National Commission for Human Rights here to commemorate the human rights day, the lawmaker said to retain respect and support, the NCHR must be independent of the executive and also allowed to raise funds on its own.

“The Fata ‘black hole’ is also linked to the state’s Afghan policy, which must be revisited as part of the human rights agenda,” he said.

Babar added: “Freedom of expression is also intertwined with civil-military relations he said and called for a bipartisan parliamentary committee for democratic accountability of foreign and security polices in the “dangerously imbalanced civil-military relations.”

The PPP leader said the impunity with which violence against media persons and human rights defender was committed must be ended as well as the charade of accusing the non-governmental organisations of pursuing foreign agendas without offering any proof.

“Human rights are threatened by succumbing to rule by the mob as in the recent Faizabad dharna [sit-in],” he said, adding: “Something profound happened on that day. The state and society surrendered. A dangerous template was created to reject rule of law as guarantor of human rights. Politics of hate and intolerance triumphed over human rights. On that day Pakistan ceased to be the country it was until a few days before. In one brief page of surrender document the discourse on human rights is fundamentally and dangerously altered. One hopes that we will take it as a serious setback and not allow it to become the norm.”

The PPP leader said the commitment to human rights pre-dates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The senator said in 1928 when the people of India were asked to suggest a draft constitution, the foremost item was emphasis on human rights.

Pakistan, he said, was among the first signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The first Constituent Assembly had a Committee on Human Rights headed by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

There were positive developments also, the senator said, and mentioned the NCHR, the Commission on Status of Women, and the “Anti-rape and anti-honour killing” legislation but warned against the diminishing right to life and right to freedom of expression.

“Right to life had been threatened by extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrariness in the application of death sentences,” he said, and lamented that the parliament, the Supreme Court, the Commission on Enforced disappearances and the NCHR all appeared helpless.

“Right to life [was] also undermined by a broken criminal justice system and arbitrariness in application of death sentence. Right to freedom of expression is ‘fountain of all freedoms’ has come under attack from the state and non-state actors alike,” the senator said.

The “ideology brigade”, he said had prevented free discussion on misapplication of faith-related laws.

“The security brigade has prevented free discussion in the name of what it calls ‘national security.’ In between, freedom of expression is also stifled in the name of dignity and prestige of courts,” Babar said and asked the people to stand and fight for their rights.


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