MULTAN - Asking the nation to forget about local government elections, former prime minister and senior vice chairman of PPPP Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the PML-N encouraged the youths to become turncoats by tossing the idea of non-party local government polls.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Gilani said the local governments played the role of political nurseries at grassroots level and PPPP demanded the election on party basis under a vision.

“Our vision is to boost youngsters’ engagement in political process and extend them opportunities for political training so that they do not become turncoats, but the Nawaz League is acting otherwise,” he maintained.

To a query on the fate of former President Pervez Musharraf, he said the government will have to face humiliation on this front as former military ruler would slip out of the hands of rulers. He added that the government spoilt a vital opportunity by declining to start the trial over October 1999 act and its stance got feeble in the eyes of masses.

“The mishandling of Musharraf case has given the impression that he is being victimised and now many forces have assembled behind him,” he said.

Referring to the performance of PML-N government, he said it badly failed to deliver or interpret the aspirations of masses.

“They made tall claims during election campaign. It was their responsibility to implement their election manifesto but they have done nothing. Terrorism, lawlessness, price hike and power crisis have worsened,” he maintained.

When asked about the prospects of peace talks with Taliban, Gilani said his party thought that the situation was almost out of control of the government.

“Whoever you hold dialogue with Taliban, this process requires you to be stronger. But unfortunately the government is in much weaker position,” he opined.

The former premier, however, said that his party would still support peace initiative as all the political parties had given mandate to the government on this issue. He blamed the government for spoiling precious time, adding that the PPPP would extend support for eradicating hurdles from the way of peace process.

He claimed that the PPPP would be triumphant again soon.

“It’s nothing new. We faced the same situation in 90 and 97 as political ups and downs are part of game. We made a comeback and we’ll repeat it,” he asserted. He said the PPPP was the only federal party of Pakistan that was liberal and progressive and its government was the first in the history of Pakistan that transferred power to the successor government.

He asked his opponents not to underestimate the leadership skills of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He said that Bilawal was elected as chairman by the central executive committee of the PPPP six years ago and he enjoyed strong support from within the party.

“Our party has roots in all regions and areas of the country. Bilawal’s young and energetic leadership will play key role in party’s comeback,” he claimed.

Answering a question on recovery of his kidnapped son Ali Haider Gilani, he said that efforts were underway and he hoped that a good news would surface soon.