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KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday threatened the PTI-led Federation that he would march towards Islamabad along with people of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) if elections in the strategically important region were rigged, and results were manipulated.

Addressing a press conference at Bilawal House, PPP chairman said that he wants to see free, fair and transparent elections in Gilgit-Baltistan.

"A transparent election in GB is crucial for the peace and progress in Pakistan, otherwise the region would turn out to be a security threat to the country."

"I am optimistic that the entire poll process would complete in a transparent manner. Army is not being deployed inside and outside the polling stations which is a good decision [of the election commission]," he said.

"I would personally go to each and every district and constituency of GB and personally monitor the electoral process. As to how long we will tolerate this rigging," Bilawal said.

He said the people of GB have a right to find a just solution for their future in accordance with their will.

Bilawal also urged the federal and provincial governments to immediately release the 'political prisoners' including Baba Jan, a local right activist in Hunza, and People's Students Federation (PSF) member Mumtaz Ali Khan languishing in prisons for the last many years on the eve of GB elections.

He said release of the political prisoners is also important to ensure a transparent election in the region.

He was flanked by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Minister Labour Saeed Ghani, Advisor for Law Murtaza Wahab and Special Assistant Waqar Mahdi.

PPP chairman also rejected the presidential ordinance pertaining Sindh's Island, and asked the federation to withdraw the same with an immediate effect.

He said the Centre was trying to take control of Sindh island. "The move to occupy Sindh's Island and coastal belt is obnoxious and unconstitutional. We will strongly oppose the illegal 'annexation' of Sindh's Island through Presidential ordinance in National Assembly and the Senate," he said.

We will offer a strong resistance. It's a childish act of our Prime Minister. Such arbitrary actions hurt the federal constitutional set up, and forcing the country towards anarchy. We will not give a small piece of our land unconstitutionally.

He said that the President Dr Arif Alivi on September 1st promulgated this ordinance in dark hours without taking the Sindh government and people on board.

He said the federation instead of focusing on the genuine issues of the country is hell bent upon experimenting one adventure after another. The prices of essential commodities including wheat and sugar, besides electricity tariff are skyrocketed. Sindh despite being the largest gas producing province is facing gas load shedding. Provinces are deprived of their due NFC award share. "This incompetent government has pushed our people against the wall," Bilawal said. We have been opposing this 'selected' government from the very first day.

Imran Khan's narrative of accountability is just confined to his political opponents, while big mafias are operating in PTI with impunity.

He said Sindh's money is stuck in the Supreme Court, if it were released, the same would have been utilised for the social well being in the province, lifting garbage from the city and providing clean drinking water for the people.

To a query PPP chairman said that Imran Khan should not involve Pak Army for his vested political gains. Army as an institution has dignity because it represents the whole of Pakistan, not any single party.

He said it was not the responsibility of the armed forces to act against corruption. There is NAB, FIA, and other departments for the very purpose.

"Our interviews are being censored on television channels." he said.

We are left with no option but to oust the incompetent government. We want a democratically elected political set up. We want the supremacy of the parliament.

He said all state institutions including army and judiciary should operate within their defined constitutional boundaries. The opposition parties have joined hands to ensure real democracy and rule of law in the country, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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