Zardari does not rule out Army's role in future set up

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Islamabad, Mar 8 : A day after Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen Perwez Ashfaq Kayani said that the Army did not to want to interfere into day to day political affairs of the country once the next government is formed, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari yesterday did not rule out the role of the chief of the Army staff and the armed forces in the future set-up.

He was speaking at a panel interview with a Jang Group of Newspapers.

He also said that the National Security Council (NSC) and the local governments would stay, and that the next government will not do anything to dismantle such institutions.

"The NSC and local governments are also institutions, so the Pakistan People's Party would not be in a hurry to send them packing. Rather, the formation and working of these institutions could be improved through discussions in parliament," The News quoted him as saying.

In a wide ranging interview, Zardari spoke at length on various issues like the priorities of the future government, relations with the allied parties, the party policy on Kashmir, PPP's economic policies, the future of local governments, freedom of the media, petroleum prices and power shortage and on many other national issues.

However, he did not reveal the name of the party candidate for the prime minister, saying consultations were still going on within the party and even with the allied parties.

When asked how the 'troika' - President Pervez Musharraf, PPP's prime minister and Nawaz Sharif - will work, Asif Ali Zardari said this troika would work due to their political handling. "We want to keep Nawaz Sharif on our side and he will sit with us," he said.

Zardari, who was hopeful about his party's long-term partnership with the Pakistan Muslim League-N, said he desired to take them along on all the major issues, which would confront the next government.

He said there were many issues on which the PML-N and PPP had 30-40 per cent agreement but on some issues, such as freedom of the media, they had 100 per cent understanding. "I will make all-out efforts to persuade them to come on board as I have already termed Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali and Maulana Fazalur Rehman my elder brothers," he added.

ANI

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