ISLAMABAD: With the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif appearing poised for his fourth attempt at securing power in the upcoming elections, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, often referred to as a “political scientist,” has indicated a potential entry into the race for the highly sought-after position of prime minister.
During an interview with a private news channel on Monday, Zardari, known for his adept negotiation skills, suggested the prospect of his candidacy for prime ministership, alongside the potential candidacies of Bilawal and Khursheed Shah.
Without disclosing the specific nominee from the PPP for the top position, the former president commented, “Time will reveal who the candidate will be.”
All major political parties are actively preparing for the general elections scheduled to be held across the nation on February 8, 2024. Concerns have been raised by some regarding the ongoing security situation, casting doubt on the feasibility of conducting these elections.
Addressing a question, Zardari asserted that he facilitated Shehbaz Sharif’s appointment as prime minister by securing the necessary support to elect him as the country’s chief executive.
Notably, the PPP figure previously advocated for Bilawal to assume the role of the nation’s youngest prime minister, emphasizing this stance during a public gathering held to commemorate the party’s 56th foundation day in Quetta.
When questioned further, Zardari affirmed his definitive rejection of the presidential system, stating, “The presidential system will never be imposed in Pakistan.”
Taking aim at imprisoned former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan, Zardari accused Khan of detrimental governance, branding him as “ignorant” and tying his prospects to his behavior.
Regarding Khan’s opposition to the nationwide campaign against illegal Afghan immigrants, the PPP co-chairman accused Khan of misleading overseas Pakistanis.
Zardari alleged that Khan came into power through a “conspiracy” orchestrated by associates and a “mindset” that no longer holds influence. He indicated the existence of certain forces that craft a particular narrative.
Continuing his critique, Zardari remarked, “Had I not acted, he [Khan] would have endangered Pakistan and pushed it towards default. Sometimes, a puppet remains unaware of the intentions of its manipulator.”
Responding to inquiries about a potential alliance with the PTI, Zardari dismissed the possibility, pointing out logistical challenges for the PTI in covering all polling stations, especially considering the PPP’s presence in 400 polling stations in Nawabshah.