PESHAWAR: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday called for an ‘economic emergency’ in the country, saying that the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) government had brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy. “Whenever the PML-N comes to power, it destroys the economy. The PPP strengthens the economy,” he said, while addressing a press conference in Peshawar. “Who is behind the current economic crisis? An economic emergency should immediately be declared in the country,” he said. Zardari said that the debts incurred by the PML-N would eventually have to be repaid. “The PPP always encouraged economic activities and avoided taking foreign loans,” he said. He also criticized former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. “He is still unsure why he has been disqualified. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan is living in a world of his own,” he said. Zardari also visited the ancestral village of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. “I have seen no change here, but damaged roads and garbage,” he said. He said that the upcoming NA-4 by-election in Peshawar would give a new direction to the people. “The PPP is making all efforts to participate in the by-polls,” he said. He also said the PPP had given a new identity to the Pakthuns, fought to drive off militants from Swat, and would continue for the work for the rights of the people. He also vowed to merge FATA with KP and declare it a single province. “We will restore the writ of the state and will eliminate the strife in the area. We will announce a package with assistance of the world to provide employment and development to the region,” he said. “Today is the time to merge Fata,” he said, adding that the PPP would move forward despite objections from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. When asked about the current clash between the government and other state institutions, Zardari said it was the responsibility of the parliament to resolve the crisis. He said that the judiciary had also dismissed former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gillani. “However, we did not take to the streets or issued threats against anyone,” he said. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.