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LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has backed the Jamaat-e-Islami Emir Sirajul Haq suggestion for initiation of national dialogue among political forces on the issue of election reforms.

Both the leaders were addressing a press conference at Mansoora, following arrival of Bilwal Bhutto led PPP delegation at JI headquarters on Monday. It was Bilawal’s maiden visit to Mansoora as PPP chairman.

“The JI could play a historic role [to unite the political parties] for electoral reforms because of its neutrality and acceptance to both campus [government and opposition],” said the PPP chairman.

He said the PPP also agreed to the JI stance that the country needed an across the board system of accountability. But, he added, his party had no trust on the present anti-corruption watchdog because it was extremely biased and its unconstitutional status as it was established by a dictator. He said the JI chief was right when he (Sirajul Haq) says the present government damaged the Kashmir cause, hence there was need to develop a joint strategy for the liberation of Indian occupied Kashmir.

Earlier, the JI Emir Sirajul Haq along with JI Secretary General Ameerul Azim, JI Deputy Emir Liaqat Baloch others welcomed the PPP delegation. Both sides discussed the current political situation and other matters of mutual interests in the meeting which continued for more than one and half hours. The PPP delegation comprised of Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Parvez Ashraf, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Saeed Ghani and others.

Talking to reporters, Sirajul Haq said the JI was a democratic party and believed on dialogue among the political forces. He said the PTI government’s economic policies brought a horrible wave of inflation and unemployment in the country. He said the political force must join hand for election reforms before the next election to end the blame game and to restore the masses’ trust on democratic system. He said the JI was in favor of across the board accountability and believed that everyone whether it was general or a judge, a politician or a bureaucrat should be held accountable for his/her deeds. He said the PTI government took a fragile stand on Kashmir cause after India’s unconstitutional move to abrogate of special status of Occupied Kashmir on August 5, 2019. The government, he said, was expected to call an APC on Kashmir and develop a united policy for the liberation of Kashmirs from India yoke but it failed to meet the nation’s expectation, disappointing both the people of Kashmir and Pakistan. He said national action plan for the liberation of IOK was need of the hour.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari talking to the media said that according to the democratic traditions, the opposition leader in the Senate should be from the party that has the majority. Chairman Bilawal responding to a question said that the PPP does not have it in its genes to compromise and be selected because we have always believed in a fair competition.

The manner, with which Maryam Nawaz Sharif has been called by the NAB, makes it obvious that the institution itself is inviting criticism. Responding another question he said that any statement by Maryam Nawaz will be addressed by my vice president.

Chairman PPP said that it is the responsibility of the politicians to ensure that political parties look for common ground on issues such as that of electoral reforms, accountability and Kashmir.

The PPP and the JI have the similar stance on these issues. However, there are political parties in the country that use foul language. PPP have been resisting and condemning rigging in elections and it should be stopped.

Chairman Bilawal responding to the questions by the journalists said that the economic crisis is the biggest challenge that the country is facing, and that he had made an effort to engage all parties while forming the PDM. Nawaz Sharif’s demand of there being the same standard of accountability for everyone including generals has been made today, while we have been demanding the same for the past three generations. NAB, as an institution should not be used for carrying out personal vendetta. In both the National and Punjab assemblies, the situation is extremely favourable to no-confidence movements. A tough time should be given to the government from inside and outside the Parliament.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that he will hold a separate press conference on PDM if needed, and that we want to create hurdles for the government by reaching a common ground with JI as well as other opposition political parties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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