KARACHI/ISLAMABAD - President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians Asif Ali Zardari met with provincial ministers of the Sindh government in Karachi on Monday.

On this occasion, the former president said that Imran Khan should have thought about the rights of journalists during his tenure as well. Journalists have always been and will continue to be free when PPP is in power, he added.

“The era of Imran Khan was a dark era in terms of press freedom,” says a press release issued by the party spokesman late Monday. The spokesman quoted Asif Ali Zardari as saying, “the relationship between political parties and the establishment has improved significantly over time. With time, there will be more improvements because the goal of all is the development of the country and strengthening of democracy. We have all learned a lot with time.”

Asif Ali Zardari also said that this ‘country has to be taken out of the crisis Imran Khan left us in.’ “The coalition government, establishment and judiciary must abide by the constitution and help the country emerge from this situation.”

Also, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman spoke on the telephone to discuss the country’s political situation after PML-N’s defeat in the Punjab by-elections.

 

The three leaders agreed that a detailed plan of action will be adopted in consultation with other allies. Nawaz Sharif, Zardari and Maulana Fazl reviewed the results of the Punjab by-elections and discussed the future strategy of the coalition government in Punjab and the centre.

 

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has left it to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to decide about the timing of holding general elections after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) swept the July 17 by-elections in Punjab, political sources said.

n PPP leader says country has to be taken out of crisis created by Imran Khan n Bilawal wants PM to take a final decision on general elections n Zardari, Nawaz,

Fazl discuss future plan of action on phone n Gilani says PDM to discuss post by-poll strategy in Lahore today

Citing the PPP Central Executive Committee meeting chaired by Bilawal yesterday, PPP sources said that the party wanted general elections on time but was ready for early elections if required.

 

Bialwal and his father Asif Ali Zardari will hold a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif today (July 19) to discuss the political situation amid the new wave of popularity for the PTI.

 

Earlier in the day, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that he was in favour of early elections instead of forming a coalition government.

 

Senator Khokhar said: “After Punjab by-elections, it has become clear that the coalition government has lost support of the people. I had a clear stance that instead of forming a coalition government, immediate elections should have been announced after no-confidence.”

 

He maintained the government with fresh mandate should sign the deal with the International Monetary Fund. “Tough decisions should be made by a government that has a five-year mandate,” he added.

 

He further said that after the results of Punjab by-elections, political stability will further decline and governance will become more difficult.  “The country and the economy need stability which is possible only after immediate general elections,” Senator Khokhar said.

 

However, after the CEC meeting, it was evident that the party preferred elections on time.  The CEC decided to take the leadership of the PML-N in confidence.

 

LG elections approaching in Punjab and the second phase of LG polls in Sindh were the key issues discussed during the meeting. The first phase of the election was held in June, while the second phase is scheduled on July 24.

 

The committee also agreed the coalition government should complete its tenure but Bilawal the ball in PM Sharif’s court to take a final decision.

 

The CEC expressed their concerns in the by-elections in 20 constituencies of Punjab, where PTI won by a majority of 15 seats against the coalition of parties in the province. The election reforms were termed mandatory before the elections.

 

The recent linguistic riots were also discussed during the meeting of the PPP’s top leadership. The PPP members acknowledged that the riots had disrupted Sindh’s peace. The National Accountability Bureau legislative amendments were also on the PPP agenda.

 

PPP leader Shazia Atta Marri alleged that PTI conducted election campaign in Punjab province by stealing the money of the people of the three provinces.

 

She said the PTI won the same seats that it had already won in 2018. “In fact the PTI lost five of its seats that it had won in 2018,” she added.

 

In the July 17 Punjab by-polls, the PTI bagged 15 out of the 20 constituencies up for grabs in the province. The clear victory of PTI in the Punjab by-polls has turned around the number game in the Punjab Assembly, with Chaudhry Parvez Elahi now most likely to replace Hamza Shehbaz Sharif as the new Chief Minister of the province in the coming days.

 

Almost all the politicians who joined the PML-N and voted for Hamza Shehbaz Sharif lost to the PTI candidates. PML-N won four seats and the remaining one seat went to an independent candidate, apart from PTI’s 15 seats.

 

Before the by-polls, the PTI and PML-Q had already jointly attained the strength of 173 - 163 of PTI and 10 of PML-Q. Now, with 15 additional seats, this strength has reached 188 whereas the figure for the simple majority stands at 186.

 

 

 

Leader of the opposition in senate Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said Monday that leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance would discuss the next political strategy in the backdrop of July 17 Punjab by-poll results and reaffirmed Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) commitment to stand by the allies through thick and thin in Lahore on Tuesday.

 

Addressing a press conference at Gilani House, he said that PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting chaired by party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari was held at Bilawal House Karachi on Monday evening where all important matters like electoral reforms, NAB reforms, Supreme Court decisions and particularly the July 17 Punjab bye polls were discussed.

 

PPP leadership decided that the party would stay supportive to allies in every difficult time, he said. Gilani said that PPP being part of PDM supported PML-N candidates whole heartedly in the by elections.

 

He said that all the 20 seats that witnessed by-polls in Punjab were the seats won earlier by PTI out which they won fifteen and lost remaining five in the recent bye polls.

 

Responding to a question regarding Article 6 on PTI leaders, Gilani said that it was the prerogative of the government to take the decision, however, added that in his opinion it was not a practical option. He said that PPP would be represented by former President Asif Ali Zardari in the important PDM meeting scheduled Tuesday to discuss the situation and carve out the next political strategy.

 

All the decisions would be taken with consensus, Gilani said adding:”There will be no solo flight. We will not ditch our allies.” To a question, Gilani said that election was a continuous process and loss or triumphs are part of the game. Gilani said that election commission and the government deserve commendation for holding elections in free, fair and transparent manner.

 

He said, contrary to PTI leaders’ claims of rigging and foul play, the whole process was held in a transparent manner, he added. All PTI leaders’ claims proved wrong.

 

Gilani said that the alliance took difficult decisions and would move forward with consensus for stable political and economic environment in the country. He added that political stability brings economic stability.

 

He lauded PML-N leaders particularly Maryam Nawaz Sharif for the hard work during the election campaign. To another question whether PPP would be part of alliance in the next general elections, Gilani said that PPP was a political party having its own vision and manifesto adding that decision as to how party would enter next general elections would be taken by the party’s central executive committee (CEC).