PPP co-chairperson vows to resist move for presidential system

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) would oppose any move to nudge the country towards a presidential system, said former president and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.

Mr Zardari was speaking to the media after appearing before an accountability court in the federal capital in a fake accounts case which he is facing along with his sister Faryal Talpur.

Until it was shifted to Islamabad on March 16, a Karachi banking court was conducting the proceedings of the fake accounts case. It was shifted to Islamabad on the plea of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

PML-N’s Mushahidullah says rumours being floated by those who can’t ‘digest’ democracy

Mr Zardari and Ms Talpur filed applications in the accountability court to submit surety bonds but since their pre-arrest bail applications are pending before the Islamabad High Court the court put it off till the next date.

When asked whether Pakistan was moving towards a presidential form of government, Mr Zardari replied, “We are not inclined towards this system … let them make their efforts, we will stop them.”

Rumours have been circulating in various political and social circles for the past many days regarding a plan for introducing presidential form of government in the country and the issue is being debated on the social media even though Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has refuted all such reports.

Besides the PPP, almost all the major parties of the country, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), are opposed to the idea of imposing a presidential system, saying that any such move would be detrimental to the country’s integrity.

Chairman of the Pak Sarzameen Party Syed Mustafa Kamal, however, recently stated that Pakistan would not progress without having a presidential system of governance.

PML-N Senator and former minister Mushahidullah Khan expressed concerns over reports about the presidential system, saying that such rumours were being floated by those who simply could not “digest” democracy.

Mr Khan regretted that they had not learnt any lesson from history as the country, which had remained under the presidential system for most of the time since its creation in 1947, had already suffered a lot due to such experiments.

The PML-N senator warned that the federation would be in danger if any attempt was made to impose the presidential form of governance in the country.

Talking to reporters on Sunday, the information minister had dismissed talk about the establishment of the presidential form of government in the country as rumours, terming it a “non-issue” being discussed only on social media.

He said: “Such things are circulating in social media only. It is difficult to get simple amendments to laws and routine matters take long; so how can we expect a major change in the Constitution that requires a two-thirds majority in parliament.”

The minister said one prerequisite for the presidential form of government was to have small but many provinces in the country.

“We have 62 per cent of the country in Punjab only; how can this system perform in Pakistan of today,” he said. “Besides you all know legal and political difficulties in creating new provinces, so it is practically not possible.”