ISLAMABAD: With Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif gearing up for his fourth attempt at the prime ministership in the upcoming elections, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, often referred to as the “king of reconciliation,” has hinted at entering the race for the coveted position.
In an interview with a private news channel on Monday, Zardari stated that he, along with Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Khursheed Shah, could be potential candidates for the prime ministership. However, he did not disclose the PPP’s official candidate and mentioned that time would reveal the chosen contender.
As the country prepares for the general elections scheduled for February 8, 2024, Zardari addressed concerns about the security situation and the feasibility of holding the elections. Responding to a question, he claimed credit for making Shehbaz Sharif the prime minister and securing the necessary support for his election.
Last month, Zardari had advocated for Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to become the youngest prime minister of the country during a public meeting in Quetta on the PPP’s 56th foundation day.
When asked about the presidential system, Zardari declared that he had closed the door on it permanently, stating that the presidential system could never be imposed in Pakistan. Taking a swipe at imprisoned former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Zardari accused him of ruining the country and referred to him as “ignorant.” Zardari claimed that Khan’s future depends on his conduct.
Zardari criticized Khan’s opposition to the nationwide campaign against illegal Afghan immigrants and accused Khan of misleading overseas Pakistanis. He asserted that Khan came into power through a conspiracy, orchestrated by his friends and a mindset that no longer exists. Zardari claimed that had he not ousted the person in question, Pakistan would have faced default.
When asked about the possibility of forming an alliance with the PTI, Zardari dismissed the idea and emphasized the significance of actual facts over perception. Regarding the economic crisis, he suggested that every government should introduce a 10-year economic formula to steer the country in the right direction.
Zardari also “congratulated” the Chief Justice of Pakistan as the Supreme Court is set to revisit the controversial death sentence awarded to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in an 11-year-old presidential reference.