Legal challenges, anti-PTI stand could lead to PPP, PML-N alliance – analysts

Special Legal challenges, anti-PTI stand could lead to PPP, PML-N alliance – analysts
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Reports suggested a meeting between Asif Ali Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also on the cards. (AFP/File)
Special Legal challenges, anti-PTI stand could lead to PPP, PML-N alliance – analysts
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Former president and leader of Pakistan Peoples Party, Asif Ali Zardari, attends the proceedings at the Banking Court in Karachi on Friday. (AN photo by M.F. Sabir)
Updated 21 December 2018

Legal challenges, anti-PTI stand could lead to PPP, PML-N alliance – analysts

Legal challenges, anti-PTI stand could lead to PPP, PML-N alliance – analysts
  • Ex-PM Sharif expected to hold talks with former president Zardari
  • PPP leader’s bail extended until January 7 by trial court

KARACHI: Despite his bail being extended by a local court in Karachi, former President Asif Ali Zardari is likely to be issued with an arrest warrant by the Supreme Court following a report submitted by an investigating team, experts said on Friday.
Based on the Joint Investigation Team’s (JIT) findings, analysts said that if the arrest warrants are issued, it will help bring Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) closer to the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N).
Irfanul Haq, a Karachi-based legal expert, said that when a trial court grants or extends bail to an accused, the apex court doesn’t issue arrest warrants. “However, if there are more evidences in the JIT report, which allows the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to register more FIRs in the fake accounts case – which are highly likely – the Supreme Court in its hearing on Monday may cancel Zardari’s bail and order his arrest,” Haq told Arab News.
He added that the decision, however, depends on “what the JIT presents against the former president”.
“It is likely that Zardari and [his sister] Faryal Talpur may be arrested on Monday,” Fazil Jamili, a political analyst, said.
He added: “The verdict in [former Prime Minister and leader of PML-N] Nawaz Sharif’s case is also expected on the same day - Monday. So, if both Sharif and Zardari are sent to jail, the parties will have no alternatives but to join hands for an aggressive opposition of the PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf which is the ruling party].”
“The past trust-deficit between PML-N and PPP will no longer remain a reason to bar the parties of the both jailed leaders from coming closer,” Jamili told Arab News.
PPP Information Secretary, Senator Maula Bux Chandio, said no meetings have been held with the PML-N yet but both parties are expected to meet any time. “If the PTI continue to victimize opposition parties through fake cases, in order to conceal its own bad governance, they will forget their own differences to join against this injustice,” he said.
“This conduct of the PTI’s federal government will certainly bring the opposition parties closer,” Chandio said.
Jamili concurs, adding that “both parties have held several meetings away from the eye of the media”.
“PPP’s leaders who were privy to those meetings have told me. They most likely will hold these publicly now,” Jamili claims.
PML-N leader, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, also confirmed that the meeting is going to be held. “It has not been decided yet,” he told Arab News.
“This oppression and victimization which is to bring PML-N and PPP closer,” he said, adding that in such a scenario trust and mistrust become secondary things. “The politics and alliances are names of possibilities and conveniences and the current conditions that both parties are facing have made the likely anti-PTI alliance a need for both,” he said.
Khan said that the irony is “that the PTI is unaware of the consequences of the steps it is taking”.
“Instead of the focusing on improving its governance, the PTI is leading the situation to a level where it will result in a non-confidence motion against it. I see a non-confidence motion against Imran Khan very soon,” he maintained.
Jamili argues that if Zardari and Sharif are sent to jail it may benefit the PTI for a while only. “In the long run, the PPP and PML-N will be the beneficiary of legal action against their leaders,” he said, adding that it was Zardari who had avoided holding talks with Sharif and now he needs it the most.
Issues raised by the Balochistan National Party’s chief and the growing mistrust of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan of the PTI may be exploited by Zardari who knows the art of making alliances, Jamili said.
However, the PTI leader and lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman rejected allegations that the PTI was victimizing the PPP and PML-N. "The JIT was formed by the courts, not by the PTI,” he said.
He added that if the PPP and the PML-N were to merge, it would pose no threat to the government. "We want strong opposition, which is good for democracy but they are joining hands not for a strong opposition but for their self-interest and protecting themselves from action for their wrongdoings," he added.