ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party supremo Asif Ali Zardari has directed all his party lawmakers to fully support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led coalition governments in the centre and Punjab, close aides said.

Zardari, a former president, asked the PPP lawmakers to ensure presence in the Punjab Assembly in the coming days for crucial voting to elect a new Chief Minister after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s sweep in the recent by-polls.

The PPP and the PML-N still believe they can retain government in Punjab as several PTI lawmakers were ‘annoyed’ with their leadership.

“Win or lose, the PPP will stand by the PML-N. The coalition partners have decided to complete Parliament’s term and it will be crazy to let the PTI come to power again,” a close aide of Zardari told The Nation, quoting the PPP Co-Chairman.

He said the PPP was not power hungry but wanted to carry out electoral reforms before the general elections.  Another aide of Asif Ali Zardari said the PPP had advised Hamza Shehbaz not to quit as the Chief Minister as ‘all is not lost” until now. “There are still chances of survival and the coalition partners will do everything democratically possible to stop the PTI from coming to power,” he added.

PPP leader Shazia Atta Marri meanwhile urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to announce its ‘long delayed’ verdict in the prohibited foreign funding case against the PTI.

She said that Election Commission of Pakistan should not delay announcement of judgment on PTI’s foreign funding case.

Marri questioned that why was Imran Khan running away from facing the foreign funding case. “The issue of funding from prohibited accounts is causing chaos and unrest in the country,” she added.

Marri said PTI chief Imran Khan was exerting pressure on the ECP to influence the foreign funding case.

| Coalition partners still optimistic to keep PTI away from power

Marri says PTI chief Imran Khan exerting pressure on ECP to influence foreign funding case

She alleged that BRT, Malam Jabba and Billion Tree project were mega corruption scams of PTI and Imran Khan. PPP leader Faisal Karim Kundi said Imran Khan’s political future will be decided by Asif Ali Zardari. “Imran Khan has conceded defeat by expressing desire to put Asif Ali Zardari in jail. PTI is shrinking. Most members of PTI want to get rid of Imran Khan in the National and Punjab Assembly,” he contended.

Kundi claimed that Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and Fawad Chaudhary were going to become political nomads once again.

Another PPP leader Senator Palwasha Khan said Imran Khan inherited hatred of Asif Ali Zardari from Ziaul Haq. “Imran Khan’s politics starts with abuse and ends with crying. Most PTI members want to be freed from the slavery of Imran Khan,” she maintained.

The lawmaker said if the members of the Punjab Assembly belonging to PTI were united then “why is Imran Khan and company crying.” She accused that Imran Khan “introduced ball tampering” in cricket and “gambling and abuse in politics.”