Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, while addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Friday, said, “Raiwand’s prime minister” Nawaz Sharif was sent abroad despite being convicted.
Bilawal said former president Asif Ali Zardari remains in Pakistan, moving from one doctor to another, despite his children telling him to go abroad and seek treatment.
“If the president [Zardari] is from Nawabshah, he remains on medical bail despite trumped-up charges,” said chairman PPP.
“I want to ask the prime minister (PM) what sort of accountability and justice is being implemented in the country? I want to ask the PM what kind of rule of law is there within the country?” Bilawal asked, adding that if the premier’s friends are being alleged of a crime, no action is taken against them.
“This is revenge and political engineering and their ministers themselves accept it has hurt the economy,” added Bilawal.
“If the prime minister and his sister are blamed for a crime, nothing happens to them,” Bilawal lashed out.
However, if a former president from Nawabshah’s sister is blamed for something, then she is dragged to jail from her hospital bed, he said, referring to PPP leader Faryal Talpur.
The PPP chairman denigrated the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and questioned its standards of accountability. “This system is a mockery of the Constitution,” said Bilawal.
“If the Leader of Opposition is from Lahore (Shehbaz Sharif), he is awarded bail, and if the leader of Opposition hails from Sukkur (Khursheed Shah), he is denied the right and treated like a ping-pong ball — back and forth from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) courts to Supreme Court,” Bilawal said.
The PPP chairman claimed the authorities were repeatedly blackmailing Shah’s children and his wife.
Bilawal further said that the party would support Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly on the budget despite the inappropriate behaviour of some Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) members.
“I unconditionally say to Shehbaz Sharif in front of the media that all PPP members will be in your support with regards to parliament and this [upcoming] budget despite tantrums [of some PML-N members].”
He said that PPP members would come and vote on the day of the budget and now it was up to Shehbaz as the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly to “do his work and stop the government’s budget.”
Bilawal was responding to a question on whether the PPP had been contacted on the budget issue and whether it would support the Opposition. He responded that despite the “inappropriate behaviour” of the PML-N and other political parties in the Opposition, the PPP had prioritised national issues and the budget over differences between the political parties.
“So despite their insults, the PPP went to Shehbaz Sharif’s invitation for dinner so we can rid the people of economic difficulties. Unfortunately, our host was publicly insulted after that dinner by some officeholders of the PML-N,” said Bilawal, adding that flinging statements at guests was not a part of “our tradition, values, and culture”.
The PPP chairman also lashed out at the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), saying it should have offered resignations the same day or the next when the PPP had “supposedly” refused to listen to its demands and set out for its long march.
“If they still want to do politics of resignations, then they should have given them by now.”
Hitting out at the prime minister, the PPP chairman said that the statements since the past few weeks on the state of the economy showed that the “prime minister has no connection to the common man”.
“The prime minister says Pakistan’s difficult time is over. Not sure about the common man but the IMF’s (International Monetary Fund) difficult time is over, for sure,” he said.
Bilawal Bhutto said the government’s ministers had come around to accept the PPP’s stance on the economy and expressed the hope that Pakistan would escape the “IMF’s grip” in the budget next week.
Bilawal similarly hit out at an ordinance for the creation of a new media body and said the PPP would continue to oppose it. He added that the recent attacks on journalists such as Asad Ali Toor or pressure being applied to media personnel such as Hamid Mir through petitions had “exposed the government’s weakness and insecurity”.
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