Lahore: The ruling Pakistan People`s Party has warned that if conspiracies against it originating from Punjab province continue, the "unity of the federation cannot be guaranteed".
The remarks were made by federal Law Minister Babar Awan, a senior leader of the PPP and a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari.
Awan is currently the point man of the government`s efforts to stymie the Supreme Court`s efforts to revive graft cases against Zardari.
Awan said Pakistan cannot remain "united" if conspiracies from Punjab province do not stop.
"I am here to give a message that all fronts should not be opened in Punjab, that nobody can control (this) at the end of the day. In Pakistan, everyone has equal rights and
accountability should not be selective," he told a function in Lahore yesterday.
Continuing his tirade, Awan said: "former prime ministers Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulifqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto were murdered in Punjab and all petitions (against government functionaries and the President) have been filed here.
"There are High Courts in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah,
Balochistan, Azad Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan but no
petitions have been filed there against them, showing where
the conspiracy against the centre is being hatched," he said.
"If these conspiracies are not stopped now, then this
time there will be guarantee from anyone (about the unity
Awan said the PPP would not allow any mid-term
elections as it had restored democracy "with our blood and
nobody has given this to us on a platter".
He said: "We are not afraid of facing cases. President
Zardari has been facing cases for the last 17 years. (Slain
former premier) Benazir Bhutto also faced cases."
He argued: "Is not it a revolution that instead of
the opposition, the people in the government are facing
Political observers said Awan`s remarks appeared to be
a threat to the judiciary and the opposition PML-N, which
heads the coalition that rules Punjab.
The judiciary has been perceived as being soft on the
PML-N as the party played a key role in the movement to
restore judges who were deposed by former President Pervez
Musharraf during the 2007 emergency.
The government and the superior judiciary have been
engaged in a stand-off since the Supreme Court scrapped the
National Reconciliation Ordinance, a graft amnesty issued by
Musharraf, and directed authorities to reopen over 8,000
corruption cases, including those against Zardari and his
Awan contended that "fake" cases were being filed
against PPP leaders in Punjab.
"They chose someone from the prison to get a murder
case registered against Zulifqar Ali Bhutto, then a cycle
thief became the complainant in a drug case against Asif
Zardari and yet again they have found someone from prison to
frame me," he said, referring to the prime accused in the Bank
of Punjab scam.
Awan, who has been accused of receiving money to
secure a favourable verdict against persons involved in the
Bank of Punjab scam, also questioned why army generals like
Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zia-ul-Haq and Musharraf were not taken
to task by the judiciary.
He said even the judges who handed down the death
sentence to Zulifqar Ali Bhutto later confessed that they did
so on the "order of a dictator".