ISLAMABAD: Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan's former minister of foreign affairs, claimed Monday that the chief of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Asif Ali Zardari , had sought help from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to strengthen his position in his own political party after the general elections of 2008.
While speaking to anchorperson Muneeb Farooq on Geo News' programme Aapas ki Baat, Asif said: "[Zardari] himself told us — told me and Mian sahib — that 'all these PPP individuals have come together'."
The former minister went on to say that the PPP co-chair told him: "'I do not have a single vote among them and they will send me back abroad in two to four days'."
Zardari had requested Nawaz Sharif to save him in the face of the situation that had been developing, Asif said, adding that the PPP co-chair had first requested him in person and then again when he had visited Garhi Khuda Bakhsh alongside the former premier to offer condolences over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
The PML-N quaid "told him to visit Islamabad and discuss the matter," Asif said, adding that Zardari took the names of the individuals who are currently his followers for they have their political limitations since "Zardari sahib has the franchise."
"I do not want to delve into too much detail for the atmosphere is spoiled enough already and I do not want to exacerbate it any further," the senior PML-N member said.
"But I want it to be recorded rightly … I should not have benefitted Asif Zardari. He does not deserve to be benefitted."
Asif said they later gathered in Bhurban where Zardari held a one-on-one meeting with Nawaz Sharif, after which he was called into the room.
"We had two demands: holding Musharraf accountable and restoration of judiciary," Asif said, adding that Zardari told them that he was ready to deliver on the two demands.
"'You only save me from individuals that have Bibi's [Benazir Bhutto's] political heritage'," he quoted Zardari as telling them.
The minister said the late PPP leader Amin Faheem shamed him for that and told him he would regret doing so. "And I am regretting it. I am narrating my repentance before you."
'Respect the vote' narrative
Speaking of affairs pertaining to the PML-N, Asif said his biggest asset today was his party and his loyalty to the party leadership.
Voicing his support for 'respect the vote' narrative, Asif said no one in the PML-N leadership ever switched loyalties but that the leadership of other parties did have such individuals.
He said the motorways, metro, and other development projects were also part of their narrative.
The former minister said that he differs from the verdict of disqualification, and reserves a legal, constitutional right to file an appeal against it. He said that Farooq H Naik told him via phone that he wanted to handle his case.
"But during a meeting in the chamber, Farooq H Naik informed me that he has been forbidden to take up my case," Asif explained.
"I was also told to talk to Asif Zardari for he is upset with me," he said, adding that the former president has benefitted every time he knocked on the former minister's door.
"There is no linkage between the cancellation of meeting and Zardari's address," he claimed. "I did not exaggerate the statements regarding Asif Zardari."
In the context of the upcoming general elections , Asif said he would hold discussion with friends and party workers.
"There's a possibility that my son or wife contest in the elections."