PPP co-chairman accuses gov't of 'blackmailing NAB chairman'

ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has accused the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led federal government of blackmailing the chairman of the National Accountablity Bureau (NAB).

The former president made these accusations while speaking to reporters at the Parliament House.

When asked by a reporter if he had any reservations against the government appointing NAB Deputy Chairperson Hussain Asghar as the head of the ‘commission of inquiry’, the PPP co-chairman remarked: “We have reservations on everyone from top to bottom.”

The former president said that his hopes were high despite being behind bars.

He said that political forces had to unite to force the incumbent government out of power. “If political forces do not step forward, other forces will,” he warned.

Zardari calls for end to arrests in order to ‘move forward’

Earlier, the former president called on the government for an end to the accountability and arrests in order to ‘move forward’.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Zardari thanked the Opposition parties and the government coalition parties for backing the production order.

Criticising the budget presented by the government last week, the former president said that the budget raised government salaries but it had also increased taxes. “There is fear among the businessmen. If you have more than Rs500,000 in your cheque book, then you receive a notice to give an explanation for it. There is no doubt that this budget was not made by them.”

Drawing the attention of the house to pests damaging the crops in Sindh, Zardari said, “If this was happening somewhere else, then we would have received aid from Saudi Arabia by now.”

“If we are receiving money from the IMF, why are the people crying? Why are the industries crying?” Zardari questioned.

He added, the current economic situation was an issue for everyone and that the government and opposition should sit together to discuss the issues affecting the economy. “It is time to stop the accountability and arrests and move forward.”

“My arrest will not make a difference. It will only strengthen the party. However, it will create fear among the common man that if Zardari can be arrested then they can also be arrested,” he added. 

The former president added, the government should avoid taking steps that could trigger countrywide protests and create a situation that would no longer be in control of the political parties. 

“They should think about this and the forces that brought them into power should also think about the consequences,” he added.