By Rauf Klasra
JEDDAH: PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari made it clear on Sunday that he did not accept Pervez Musharraf as the “constitutional president” because he was there by default and urged the media men to directly ask Musharraf what he was actually up to.
Zardari who was in a relaxed mood during his informal talk with the media in the lobby of the hotel where the PM delegation was staying, also claimed that Saudi King Abdullah had assured he would consider the “wish list” which PM Yousuf Raza Gilani had brought with him on his state visit.
According to a source, the wish list valued $3-6billion including free oil supply to Pakistan as it was done in 1998 after Pakistan went nuclear and faced sanctions. Asif Zardari who extended his stay for a day in Saudi Arabia to follow up the meetings with the Saudi king, was quite satisfied with the outcome of the talks held between the leadership of the two countries. He did not mince words when he said that “wish list” of Pakistan had been given consent by the Saudi king. However, Zardari refused to give the details of the “wish list” which was accepted by the king and said, let PM Gilani himself give you the details.
Earlier, Asif Zardari was asked to comment on the discussion of the president with the Pakistani journalists at Army House on Saturday. He was asked whether this was a deliberate attempt on the part of President Musharraf to overshadow Zardari’s meeting with the king by going public in the name of offering his defence to many of the attacks, which were made against him during the last three months.
Zardari said he was doing his own job as a politician and a head of the party. His primary job was to save the country, which was passing through very testing times. But, he said, why don’t journalists ask Musharraf what he was actually up to. “We are doing what we are supposed to do, but you must ask Musharraf what he is doing”, said Zardari without making any comment on the real question whether Musharraf had tried to put pressure on him and PM Gilani during their meeting with the Saudi king. But, Zardari avoided a direct answer on why Musharraf had chosen the day to break his silence when he along with the PM was meeting the king for very crucial talks.
Zardari said, the people must understand that he did not accept Musharraf as the legal president as his party had to maintain a working relationship with him by default as we have to run the country. Zardari said one could not adopt the policy of likes and dislikes in running the country. This is a disadvantageous situation but we want to take advantage of it at the same time. But, he did not explain what he meant by taking advantage of this situation when he was openly terming Musharraf an “illegal president”.
Zardari said he first wanted political reconciliation within Pakistan and then would extend the range of his reconciliation to other Muslim countries and finally he might also include other countries in the process of reconciliation. He sounded as he was on a mission to bring peace to the whole world on the pattern of his newly found love for the word “reconciliation” which is presently being applied in Pakistan. He also gave the details of the Benazir Bhutto card, which would be made available to poor women and said, initially its value would be Rs1,000 but gradually he would rise to Rs3,000.
Source: The News, 9/6/2008