ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that his party would support the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in the coming Budget 2021-22 in the Parliament, 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 the Parliament and the coming Budget-2021-22 despite the tantrums [of some PML-N members],” the PPP chairman expressed these views, while addressing a news conference at Zardari House, Islamabad, on Friday.
Farhatullah Babar, Syed Nayyer Hussain Bukhari, Senator Palwasha Khan and Faisal Karim Kundi were also present on the occasion.
Bilawal said his party members of the National Assembly 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, while hitting out at the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) government in the Centre, said that despite being convicted, “Raiwind’s prime minister” [Nawaz Sharif] had been allowed to go abroad.
“If the president is from Nawabshah (Asif Ali Zardari), he remains on a medical bail despite trumped-up charges. I want to ask the prime minister (Imran Khan) that what sort of accountability is being implemented in the country? If the premier’s friends are being alleged of a crime, no action is taken against them. If the prime minister and his sister are blamed for a crime even then nothing happens to them,” he said.
Referring to his aunt and PPP leader Faryal Talpur, he said if a sister of former president from Nawabshah is blamed for something, then she is dragged to jail from her hospital bed.
While lambasting the PTI government over accountability, he claimed that it was not accountability but was political engineering and political revenge.
Taking a jibe at the federal government, the PPP chairman said the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly from Punjab [Shehbaz Sharif] had been granted bail, while the Opposition Leader from Sindh [Khursheed Ahmed Shah during previous PML-N government] was in jail.
“We are not going to request anyone to topple the federal government. The PPP will not back down as it believes in the power of the people and the parliament. If the opposition parties were not capable of sending the government packing, then in the next election, the people would do their work for them,” he said.
The PPP chairman said the people would soon hold the PTI and Prime Minister Imran Khan accountable for their alleged corruption and mismanagement, as he vowed his party would not back down from its stance despite the government’s pressure on it.
Bilawal also claimed the authorities were repeatedly blackmailing PPP senior leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah’s children and his wife.
The PPP leader also demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to give account of the funds given by international organisations for the prevention of coronavirus pandemic.
He said Pakistan received $1.25 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while another $1.5 billion were received from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fight against coronavirus pandemic. Where were these funds used? he asked.
Bilawal further demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan to tell the nation as to where did he spend $200 million received from the World Bank as well as the billions of rupees deposited by Pakistanis in the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund.
He said whether it was Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin or any other minister, this government was now coming to the terms that the PPP’s stance was correct.
“If you remember, President Zardari had said “the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the economy cannot run together,” he said.
“The prime minister says Pakistan’s difficult time is over. Not sure about the common man but the IMF’s difficult time is over, for sure,” he said sarcastically.
He said the incumbent finance minister had admitted that the government had been handling financial matters in a poor manner.
Bilawal also reiterated his demand for the Parliament to be taken into confidence about the situation in Afghanistan and briefed by the relevant institutions involved, so the people could decide what Pakistan’s policy would be.
He also criticised the government’s attempt to introduce electoral reforms through an ordinance, and called upon the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take notice of the issue.
Terming it the government’s attempts at rigging, he said a high-level delegation of the PPP would approach the ECP to explain its stance.
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 persons such as Hamid Mir through petitions had “exposed the government’s weakness and insecurity”.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021