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Feb 8 polls: Zardari sees over 80 NA seats if not for certain ‘roadblocks’

As political parties across the country look to woo supporters ahead of the upcoming general elections, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari Monday claimed that his party might bag more than 80 seats of the National Assembly on February 8.

Speaking during an interview on a private news channel, Zardari said that the Bilawal Bhutto-led party could even clean sweep Karachi and win from all constituencies of the metropolis if not for certain hindrances.

The former president’s remarks come as his son and party Chairman Bilawal has been actively leading the PPP’s election campaign across the country — with a special focus on Punjab and its capital Lahore, which has become a battleground between the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Zardari’s party.

The verbal showdown has increased between the former allies as both parties compete to woo supporters to strengthen their positions ahead of the much-awaited polls.

Commenting on the PPP’s strategy for elections, Zardari reaffirmed that the party has been focused on Punjab and still is — as it will play a key role in forming of government courtesy of its share in the upper house of the parliament.

“This time we [the party] intend to dig in and stand our ground in Punjab,” Zardari said.

Firing a fresh salvo at the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, the PPP stalwart said that he doesn’t see support for the PML-N among the masses.

“For me, pro-Nawaz vote doesn’t exist,” he said while predicting the PPP and PML-N to emerge as the country’s primary political force.

Commenting on the legal victories of the PML-N supremo, the former president said: “Has it ever occurred that Mian sahib wasn’t ever a ladla [blue-eyed boy]?”

The remarks, apparently, refer to notable relief secured by Nawaz in multiple cases including Avenfield and Al-Azizia references as well as the lifetime disqualification issue.

“He [Nawaz] doesn’t stay in power when he isn’t a ladla anymore,” the PPP leader said while taking a jibe at the three-time former prime minister.

“My cases are still lingering on. Only Mian sahib’s cases have been disposed of […] Maybe that’s because of my domicile.”

Mian sahib doesn’t operate like that […] He’s arrogant,” the former president said while taking a jibe at the PML-N leader’s occasional confrontational and aggressive approach in politics.

Road to PM house leads through PPP

Boasting his party’s relevance in the political arena, Zardari claimed that no one could become prime minister without the PPP’s vote.

“[We] wouldn’t have been able to support the vote of no-confidence [against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Imran Khan-led government] if we hadn’t stayed in the parliament,” he said, while referring to the PPP’s role in ousting the then prime minister Khan.

Recalling the alliance in the PML-N-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government, Zardari revealed that Bilawal wanted to step down from the post of foreign minister.

However, he noted, it was necessary for Bilawal to have the experience and exposure as foreign minister.

Addressing the issue of those who parted ways with the PPP to join the PTI, the veteran politician said that such individuals would find their back to the Bilawal-led party after the polls.

“Those who joined the PTI want to come back [to the PPP].

“[We] hope that these [friends] would come back into the PPP’s fold after the elections,” he said, adding that he would be surprised if Latif Khosa manages to succeed on February 8.

The politico also touched upon various concerns surrounding polls, primarily related to harsh weather conditions and terrorism, saying that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is witnessing severe cold due to which usually there is a decline in terrorist attacks — which in essence will allow the voters to cast their votes on poll day.

Political crisis will decrease once the elections are over, he predicted.