Lahore: President Asif Ali Zardari is behind a move to delay Pakistan's general election, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has alleged.
"The Attorney General's support for (cleric) Tahir-ul- Qadri's petition in the Supreme Court to reconstitute the Election Commission shows President Zardari wants to delay the general election," said Sharif, the younger brother of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.
The Supreme Court rejected Qadri's petition for dissolving the Election Commission, saying the cleric had failed to prove his eligibility to file such a petition. The Apex Court also repeatedly questioned Qadri about his Canadian nationality.
"By supporting Qadri's petition through his Attorney General, Zardari has proved that he is behind him (Qadri) to delay the polls," Sharif alleged at a gathering on Thursday.
"Zardari is behind the conspiracy to delay the general election and to derail the electoral process," he added. Sharif contended that the people would thwart Zardari's designs.
This was the first time any senior leader of the main opposition PML-N party has directly pointed a finger at Zardari about possible moves to delay polls expected to be held in May.
Earlier, the PML-N had accused the security establishment of backing Qadri and hatching conspiracies to delay the election. The PML-N is of the view that Qadri was 'imported' from Canada by Zardari for delaying the polls.
"Since the PPP is likely to lose in the coming polls, its leadership wants to delay it," PML-N spokesman Pervaiz Rashid said. Qadri returned to Pakistan late last year after living in Canada for seven years.
He triggered a storm in political circles by launching a movement to push the federal government to carry out sweeping electoral reforms.