ISLAMABAD  - Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf  has said that certain elements are out to derail the electoral process on one pretext or the other. He warned that deferment of the elections would be tantamount to playing with the very future of the country and asked the political parties to forge unity to defeat such forces.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf vented out his anger against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) which had created hurdles in the way of PPP candidates while the others were given lax and appeasing treatment.

He said that his nomination papers were initially rejected for his implication in the Rental Power Plants (RPPs) case while those who were convicted in the cases were released from jails and allowed to contest elections.

He added that former water and power minister Liaquat Jatoi, who is also accused in RPPs case with him was allowed to contest the elections and his nomination papers were cleared at first stage.

Pointing out the partisan treatment of the authorities at the helm of affairs, he said that one of the former chief ministers of the country was having several hundred security officials to guard him while he was having 22 security officials deputed on his security when he was in office, and now it is being told to him that he would be getting four security officials for his security.

He warned the leaders of political parties to stop targeting the person of President of Pakistan in their speeches and said that if this mudslinging would not be stopped then the PPP activists would know how to defend their leader, who after the Lahore High Court’s direction had stopped taking part in politics.

He further said that President of Pakistan is part of the Parliament and criticism of him would be taken as criticism of the Parliament and said that it would be unbecoming of the political leaders to target President of Pakistan in their election campaigns.

He challenged the opposition parties to come and have a debate on issues and the policies of the PPP government and said that he was ready to discuss the Sasti Rooti Project of PML-N government and Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme so that people of Pakistan could judge for themselves the transparency adopted in these projects.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said that PPP would respond to all their critics on May 11 when the party would once again win the elections with thumping majority as people of Pakistan knew it well the only PPP could steer the country out the prevailing crisis.

To a question about Gen (Retd) Musharraf he said that the matter should be left to the courts and they should all wait for the courts decision in the cases against the former general.