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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Can PPP pull off long march alone?

News Analysis |

Prime Minister Imran Khan has invited Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his father Asif Ali Zardari to stage a protest in the federal capital. “I invite you and your son: come and stage a dharna in Islamabad,” the prime minister continued, adding that he will not only arrange containers for the PPP leaders but also provide them food.

PM Khan was addressing a large public gathering in the Jamrud subdivision of Khyber district when he bashed PPP leadership. “Zardari sahab: no matter how hard you push, this government is not going anywhere. But you are going to jail,” he stated.

On Thursday PPP co-chairman encouraged the PPP workers to stand up against the government and throw it out of the power. “It is time for us to march towards Islamabad and oust them [government]. I don’t want to do this because I want to be in government; [it is because] he [Prime Minister Khan] has already taken the country 50 years back. If we allow him to remain, he will take us 100 years back.”

Read more: Asif Ali Zardari’s Sindh card won’t work anymore, claims Aleem Khan

PM Khan categorically said that the PPP leadership was struggling to seek a deal or NRO to evade corruption proceedings pending before the courts. “The real issue is that they are pressuring us so that we give them an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance-like deal] for the money they have laundered out of the country,” Khan alleged.

It deserves merit to be mentioned here that the former President is facing two cases at the moment. In disqualification case filed by PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman alleged that Zardari concealed details pertaining to ownership of an apartment in New York City, United States, in the nomination papers filed ahead of the general elections. He also failed to disclose two bulletproof vehicles, thus violating Article 62(f)(i) of the Constitution and Section 231 of the Election Act 2017, they maintained.

They alleged that both the apartment and the armored vehicles were not disclosed in Form B of the nomination papers filed by Zardari on July 6 ,2018, as a candidate for NA-213. The court has issued the notices to the former President. It is also pertinent to mention here that an accountability court will hear the reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in fake accounts on 19th April.

Read more: Asif Ali Zardari rejects JIT’s report, requests SC to dismiss it

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s basic political ideology has remained focused on three points; rule of law, accountability across the board, and development. Political analysts believe that the PM has, therefore, made it clear that he will not compromise on basic principles of his political struggle. “You can stage as many sit-ins and rallies as you want, but you will have to answer to this country for the money you have stolen,” he told PPP leaders. “If you want to save yourselves from jails, there is only one way [of doing it]: return the nation’s money.”

The premier challenged Zardari clan to stage a sit-in for at least a week adding he would fail as “a sit in is only successful when you deliver the public’s narrative.” Arif Hameed Bhatti, a senior Journalist, and a political commentator, and Waseem Abbasi, a prominent journalist, argue that the PPP does not have the ability nor required popularity to bring public on the road.

However, if Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman of JUI-F supports the PPP then there may be some challenges to the incumbent government, they added. But given the NAB cases, PPP leadership is facing, the already reduced-to-Sindh party does not have enough strength to demonstrate its street power.