Pakistan: Zardari says he’ll seek working relationship with President


New York : Pakistan People’s Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was on Monday quoted by a major US newspaper as saying that he would seek a working relationship with President Pervez Musharraf since their coalition government may not able to impeach him.

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“The ground reality is that we do not have two-thirds majority in both the houses of Parliament” that would be required for a successful impeachment, Zardari said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

“Our main objective is to work for the smooth transition to democracy,” he said.

The newspaper’s correspondent, who interviewed the PPP leader, wrote, “His (Zardari’s) comments are among the most conciliatory to date from a senior official of the coalition regarding its intended approach to Musharraf.”

The PPP plans to form a coalition government with Pakistan Muslim League-N led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

“We want to unify the country, which is facing some very serious challenges,” Zardari said. “We have to establish democracy and for that we need unity and not confrontation.”

The PPP hasn’t officially nominated its candidate for prime minister, but Zardari confirmed that Amin Fahim, a senior party leader, was the front-runner. “We will name the candidate when the party is invited to form the government,” he said.

Zardari said his government would increase cooperation with the U.S., adding that Pakistan faces its own threat from the extremists. “We are fighting our own war on terror, rather than the American war on terror,” he said.

Zardari said his government wouldn’t talk to the militants, but that it would reach out to the people living in the tribal areas. “We will take democracy there and political reforms to win the support of the tribesmen.”

The PPP leader said he didn’t have any intention of becoming prime minister, but would concentrate on party organization and assist the government. Though leader of the party, he didn’t seek a seat in Parliament in the election. “It is more important to guide the government and the party,” he said.

Zardari indicated that he might run for a parliamentary seat in a by-election in Ms. Bhutto’s constituency in the southern province of Sindh. “I will contest the elections if the party decides,” he said.—