ISLAMABAD   -  Former President Asif Ali Zardari yesterday launched an anti-government movement saying the country was being run in a wrong way by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf.

Zardari, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman, visited Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, where they agreed to call an All Parties Conference of the opposition parties to develop a joint strategy against the government.

Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed accompanied Zardari during the meeting.

Later, speaking to media persons along with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Zardari said the country was not being run in the right way. The PPP leader said that he was against toppling the elected governments but the incumbent government was behaving undemocratically. “We will not give non-democratic forces any opportunity” he said.

Asked if he will contact Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supremo Nawaz Sharif, Zardari said: “We will contact Maulana (Fazlur Rehman).”

The MMA chief jumped in to confirm that the PML-N was in agreement with the PPP and MMA over the political situation.

“I have held meetings with the PML-N leaders. They agree with us. We will have an APC next week to formulate a new strategy,” he elaborated.

To a question about bringing a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, Zardari said: “We will see (discuss the situation with the other parties).”

Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the PTI had a fake mandate. “This government is similar to the one by Pervez Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz but in a different style,” he added.

Earlier, PPP leaders said the party will seek support of the PML-N and other parties for a joint resolution against the PTI -led government.

Senior PPP leaders told The Nation that the party will contact the PML-N and the other parties against the government as “Pakistan cannot afford them.” Last day, Zardari had said all the parties should move a joint resolution that this government was ineligible and will not be able to run the country.

He said the PPP could support a move to challenge the PTI-led government as ‘Islamabad is the city of conspiracies.’

Asked if the PPP will support any ‘conspiracy’ to dislodge the PTI-led government, he said: “We will see. Islamabad is the city of conspiracies.”

Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan alleged that the opposition parties were conspiring against the government and depicting a picture of “doom and gloom.”

His comments came as the opposition parties mocked him for taking ‘u-turns’ since he took over power in August.  After forming the federal government, Imran Khan-led PTI had pledged to bring a ‘change.’

There has been massive criticism against the government after Imran Khan and Finance Minister Asad Umar announced to borrow money from the international financial institutions to improve the country’s economy. Opposition parties refer to the PTI’s promises in the election campaign that borrowing money was against the integrity of the nation.

Zardari claimed he was not a beneficiary of the National Reconciliation Ordinance – promulgated by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf – as cases against him were revived by the Supreme Court.

PPP Secretary General Nayyar Bokhari said the contacts with the opposition parties will be expedited in the coming days. “The government has disappointed the nation and is victimizing the opposition leaders,” he said.

Bokhari said the PPP stood for democracy and will never tried to derails the system. “But protesting against an incompetent government is our right,” he said.

Reports said three members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet were facing graft charges and may be shown the door if the allegations proved true. However, the government rejected the reports.

PM Khan’s new government took office in August vowing to weigh up whether to seek an International Monetary Fund bailout as it sought other avenues of financing. He has sought loans from friendly countries, promised to recover funds stolen by corrupt officials, and embarked on a series of populist austerity measures.

Pakistan has gone to the IMF several times since the late 1980s. The most recent was in 2013, when Islamabad got a $ 6.6 billion loan to tackle a similar crisis.

PM Khan said it needed to be assessed as to why the debt was accumulated in the first place, adding that a “detailed analysis is required on which projects the funds were spent upon.” He added that the analysis would enable the country to take an informed decision regarding repayment.

PPP lawmaker Dr Nafisa Shah said that ministers of PTI never expected to hold such posts and now were perplexed by their new found positions.

Commenting on PTI ministers ‘bad mouthing’ against Zardari, Shah said that Zardari had only introduced the real Imran Khan to the nation.

“It is a fact that Imran Khan and his party have miserably failed to run the economy and the country. Imran Khan wants to run the country on donations,” she said.

The statements of ministers, she said, clearly showed that the NAB was under the control of PTI government which “is using institutions for victimization of political opponents.”

 

Zardari launches anti-govt movement

SHAFQAT ALI