Zardari calls Durrani’s arrest a challenge to democracy

Islamabad: Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani was a challenge to democracy. He said the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani was a continuation of the government’s victimisation drive against opposition leaders. Addressing a news conference in Islamabad shortly after Durrani’s arrest, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-Chairman said the arrest of a serving assembly speaker was a direct challenge to democracy in Pakistan. Zardari said the PPP was ready to face any and all challenges. “This (arrest of PPP leaders) is nothing new for us. We have faced such actions in the past and are ready to deal with them today too.” He, however, reiterated the need for amendments in the accountability laws. The former president also fired a warning shot at the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government. “Enough is enough! We gave them [PTI] eight to nine months to get their act together but their performance is there for all to judge.” He accused the PTI-led government of contributing to Pakistan’s increasing diplomatic isolation. “We have an inexperienced government running the country right now. Their policies have left Pakistan more isolated in the diplomatic sphere and it is essential to address this matter at the earliest,” said Zardari. “It is unfortunate that Pakistan has an amateur at the driving wheel and that the backseat driver knows nothing about politics.” The former president also spoke on the Kashmir situation and rising Indo-Pak tensions. “Let it be known that the Pakistani nation stands united on the Kashmir issue. Any sort of misadventure by India will garner a befitting response from our side. The PPP and all of Pakistan stands in support of our armed forces.” He called for caution in Pakistan’s diplomatic moves, particularly highlighting Iran’s recent statements on relations with Islamabad. “We welcome the Saudi crown prince’s recent visit and what it entails for Pakistan. However, we must remember that Iran is our neighbour. It is essential that we make all efforts to address Tehran’s grievances.”