Zardari weighs in to lead Pakistan for stability

ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan People’s Party supre­mo Asif Ali Zardari is weighing in to change the country’s des­tiny amid the political and eco­nomic crisis. The former President is hoping to return to power after the general elections with an aim to drag the country out of turmoil. The PPP Co-Chairman has already been described by his party as the “Nelson Mandela of Pakistan.” The comparison to Nelson Mandela, the renowned South African an­ti-apartheid leader and Nobel lau­reate, is linked to Zardari’s tenure as the 11th President of Pakistan in which he played a significant role in advancing democracy and strengthening the parliament.

The PPP supporters have erected a billboard in Lahore where he is called “Pakistan’s Nelson Mandela.”

The former President has claimed he will take Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves to $100 billion as he had read sev­eral books on economy. “When I take charge of the economy, I will take the foreign exchange reserves to $100 billion,” Zardari was quoted as telling his party leaders last day at a meeting. In a bid to materialise his econom­ic plan, Zardari has also extend­ed his stay in Lahore till June 12 as political leaders continued to join the PPP. It is expected that more leaders from Punjab will join the party.

According to the latest data issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the for­eign currency reserves held by the central were recorded at $4.091 billion on May 26 while overall liquid foreign curren­cy reserves held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, cur­rently stand at $9.513 billion. Pakistan’s overall liquid foreign currency reserves have never crossed the $30 billion mark.

Yesterday, Zardari invited all the stakeholders to sit together for the “charter of economy.” He said if they stakeholders want­ed an economic revival, they will find PPP standing beside them and vice versa.

“I am not asking for dona­tions but your will, thought pro­cess and energy to be able to implement for what I think the world of tomorrow will be,” for­mer president said. He stressed that common people were al­ready under the burden, adding that tax rates should be slashed. “Economy is not for five years, it’s for the coming generations,” he added. To “revive the economy” however, Zardari will first have to win the elections and form a government. This does not look easy as the political pundits pre­dict a hung parliament.

Zardari will need to do reason­ably well in Punjab to be in a po­sition to lead the federal govern­ment along with the possible partners. The last two general elections have been disappoint­ing for the PPP in Punjab. This time Zardari is optimistic to per­form better. He told his supporters yesterday that the PPP will “win in South Punjab.” A better perfor­mance in Punjab will give the PPP an edge as it is expected to clinch majority seats in Sindh. A few seats from Khyber Pakhtunkhaw and Balochistan will be handy.

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