‘Political scientist’ Zardari says he could be candidate for PM slot

PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari. — AFP/File
  • Time will tell who will be the candidate [for premier post]: Zardari.  
  • Says every government should introduce 10-year economic formula.
  • “Sometimes a puppet does not know what its handler is doing to it.”

With Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif apparently all set to take a fourth shot at power during the upcoming elections, “political scientist” Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has hinted at joining the race for the coveted slot of prime minister.

In an interview with a private news channel on Monday, the “king of reconciliation” said: “I can be a candidate for prime ministership and Bilawal too. Even Khursheed Shah can be the candidate.”

Without unveiling the name of PPP’s candidate for the top slot, the former president said: “Time will tell who will be the candidate.” 

All political parties are gearing up for the general elections set to take place across the country on February 8, 2024, with some expressing fears that the security situation is still not feasible to stage them.

Responding to a question, Zardari claimed he made Shehbaz Sharif premier, adding that he arranged the required numbers to get him elected as the chief executive of the country.

Last month, the PPP stalwart had rallied support for Bilawal to install him as the country’s youngest prime minister.

“We have to make Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari the leader of today and tomorrow,” he said while addressing a public meeting organised on the party’s 56th foundation day in Quetta.

To another query, Zardari said he had closed doors for the presidential system forever, adding, “The presidential system can never be imposed in Pakistan.”

Firing a fresh salvo at incarcerated former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Zardari said that he ruined the country. The PPP leader also dubbed Khan as “ignorant” and said: “His future depends on his conduct.”

The imprisoned ousted premier, who was removed from power via a parliamentary vote last year, opposed the nationwide drive against the illegal Afghan immigrants to get their support in the elections.

At the same time, the PPP co-chairman accused Khan of “misguiding” overseas Pakistan.

The PTI supremo was brought into power via a “conspiracy”, Zardari said, adding that the conspiracy was hatched by his friends and a “mindset” — which currently does not exist.

“For the mindset, there are actors who create a narrative.”

The former president further said: “He [Khan] would have sold Pakistan and the country would have defaulted if I had not ousted the person…. Sometimes a puppet does not know what its handler is doing to it.”

When asked whether his party would form an alliance with the PTI, he said: “This is what you think. I’m a political scientist. You’re a journalist, you believe in journalism and understand it. You believe what polls are saying; perception is more important than facts. But no, actual facts are more important. We have 400 polling stations in Nawabshah, then how can the PTI cover all polling stations?

To another question about the economic crisis, the PPP leader said that every government would have to introduce a 10-year economic formula to put the country on the right track.

To another query, Zardari “congratulated” the chief justice of Pakistan as the Supreme Court is set to take up the 11-year-old presidential reference on revisiting the controversial death sentence awarded to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — the founder of the PPP.

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