PPP wants govt to complete term, says Wattoo

Mid-term polls not unconstitutional

LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab President Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo has said that though mid-term polls are not unconstitutional, his party is totally committed to ensuring continuity of political system in the country and will not allow its derailment come what may. 
In a statement on Tuesday, Wattoo said that the PPP government completed its five-year constitutional tenure because of political foresight of former President Asif Ali Zardari that was based on mutual consultation and reconciliation along with taking all political parties on board on all issues of national importance.
The PPP Punjab president said that unfortunately there was trust deficit between the ruling party and the rest of political parties and that reluctance of the rulers to extend olive branch to the opposition had further complicated political environment filled with apprehensions of damage to the system.
He maintained that protests and processions would not lead to the downfall of the elected government but that blunders of the incumbent rulers could – because they were known for shooting themselves in the foot with their own gun. 
Wattoo urged the government to negotiate with all political parties at all costs – even if it had to resort to gatecrashing. He added that the time was the essence and that there was no room for indecisiveness and complacency.
He also called upon that the government not to contemplate on pre-emptive arrests of political opponents and instead engage them to defuse the tension by accepting their lawful demands. The reluctance of the rulers to allow thumbprints verification at four electoral constituencies had led to the demand of mid-term polls, he observed.
The PPP leader said that mid-terms polls were not unconstitutional as being maintained by some quarters and that the prime minister could dissolve the National Assembly for seeking fresh mandate if in his judgment conditions prevailing in the country warranted so.
Wattoo pointed out that it was the sole prerogative of the prime minister to take such a decision and that nobody else was empowered to do so for which the credit goes to PPP leaders to introduce such a constitutional mechanism. He recalled that it was former president Asif Ali Zardari who voluntarily relinquished notorious presidential powers under Article 58 (2) (B) of the constitution to dissolve the assembly and that henceforth; only the leader of the House was empowered to decide the fate of the incumbent National Assembly.

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