Pakistan: Zardari hints at alliance with rival PTI

Islamabad: The co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari, has expressed readiness to form an alliance with the rival opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, if the situation demands it.

“If a post-election situation requires it, we will strike an alliance with Imran Khan like [we did] [in the Senate elections]” Zardari said talking to journalists on Friday.

“Necessity is the mother of invention, we forged alliance with PTI during Senate elections,” Zardari said. “If need be, we can opt for it again after the [general] elections.”

The news came as a surprise as PTI chairman Imran Khan has, on several occasions, ruled out the possibility of his party’s political alliance with either the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), or the PPP, citing major differences in the ideology of the parties.

However, the PPP and PTI formed a joint opposition against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to back Sadiq Sanjrani, an independent senator from Balochistan, for the top Senate slot while setting aside their differences.

The collaboration led to the victory of both opposition candidates as Sadiq Sanjrani was elected as Chairman Senate and Saleem Mandviwala as Deputy Chairman, defeating the PML-N backed candidates.

The recent war of words between Asif Zardari and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif is also being seen as one of the reasons that PPP is leaning towards PTI.

Lately, the PPP chief and PML-N supreme leader have levelled serious allegations against each other, highlighting the cracks in the association between two leaders who enjoyed a cordial relationship in the past.

Directing criticism at former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the PPP co-chairperson said Sharif had caused great harm to the democratic process nurtured by the sacrifices of the late PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and late leader Benazir Bhutto.

“Benazir Bhutto and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto embraced martyrdom to strengthen democracy, Nawaz, by playing the role that of a Mughal prince, only weakened the struggle for democracy,” Zardari was quoted as saying by local media.

While Nawaz Sharif has accused PPP leadership of betraying the London accord for restoration of democracy reached by late Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Zardari, however, said that PPP would not forge alliance only to reach the power corridors as the party is ready to be in either in the government or in the opposition.