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After his return to Pakistan from an 18-month, self-imposed exile, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari announced Tuesday that both he and his son, the party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, will contest elections and be part of “this Parliament”.

“I want to share the good news I had promised to share: Bilawal and I will contest the election now, right now, [and sit] in this Parliament,” Zardari told a charged crowd of PPP supporters as the party obvserved the 9th death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh near Larkana.

This was Zardari’s first major appearance alongside his son and party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at a rallyin three years, DawnNews reported.

Zardari said that he would contest the election from Nawabshah for the seat currently occupied by Azra Fazal Pechuho, and that Bilawal would contest the election from Larkana for Ayaz Soomro’s seat.

Zardari’s announcement is being interpreted as a strategy to enter parliament through by-elections in the two constituencies. Fresh polls will have to be called if Pechuho and Soomro give up their seats in Parliament in line with the party’s directives.

“We have sacrificed much for the sake of democracy and politics to save Pakistan. We will not leave this Mughal emperor [Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif] to rule,” Zardari continued.

The former president hit out at the premier. “Mian [Nawaz Sharif] Sahab we gave you this democracy as a sacred trust. We made every decision with your input. We made decisions in Parliament through consensus. It is a pity that you seem to have forgotten all your promises today,” he said.

Zardari also demanded that the Supreme Court decision on Panamagate be brought to the floor of the Parliament and be vetted by all political parties.

“We would like to see you and your judges go down in history as respectable individuals, not as people who twist the law for their own gains,” he added.

“This is our right. We will protest, exercise our democratic right and go to the parliament. Go to the courts and the bar councils, and talk about what is happening and what should be happening,” Zardari said.

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