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Asif Zardari urges Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan

“Does Zardari Sahab guarantee that my father’s life will not be in danger in Pakistan?” Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) President and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday urged the former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan to strengthen the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

The two senior leaders spoke during a meeting of the anti-government alliance PDM, wherein the former president told Nawaz that he must be ready to go to jail if they wish to fight against the establishment.

“Nawaz Sharif Sahab, if you are prepared to fight a war, you will have to return to your country,” Zardari said.

“If we all are out to fight, then we must all be prepared to go to jail,” Zardari further said to Nawaz.

Zardari said that he remained in jail for 14 years. He urged PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to return to the country at the earliest. He complained that PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar did not come to Pakistan to cast his vote in the Senate election.

“The struggle against the establishment should be aimed at achieving democratic stability, instead of settling personal scores,” Zardari told the meeting.

Zardari further said that Nawaz’s presence is extremely important to securing support from Punjab. “The PPP is ready to fight until its last breath”, adding that “how he gave powers to the parliament and approved the NFC (National Finance Commission Award) for which my party and I were punished”.

The PDM leaders are sitting together in the federal capital to review the political situation in the country after the recently-held Senate polls.

The main agenda of today’s PDM meeting is the resignation from assemblies which has put the PPP at loggerheads with PML-N and JUI-F who had been calling to quit since December. The PPP is demanding in-house change.

Zardari said that resignation for assemblies will help Prime Minister Imran Khan and the members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. “Mian Sahab if you want en masse resignations then not only us, everyone will have to go to jail.”

“When you return to Pakistan, we will hand over our resignations to you,” Zardari added, urging both Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Dar to return.

The PPP leader also questioned how Nawaz plans on solving people’s problems. “You never increased people’s wages in your tenure, whereas I increased them.”

“We mobilised the entire nation when Benazir returned to Pakistan in 1986 and then in 2007,” Zardari added. The long march will have to be organised in the same manner as our preparations in 1986 and 2007.

“The struggle against the establishment must carry on for democratic stability,” he added.

Defending her father, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz stressed that her father’s “life is in danger” and questioned how he could return under the circumstances. “Does Zardari Sahab guarantee that my father’s life will not be in danger in Pakistan?”

Maryam then said that she is there “of her own accord”. “Just like you are on the video link, so is Mian Sahab,” she said.

She said that Nawaz’s life is “threatened under NAB custody” and that he had had “two heart attacks while in jail.”

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