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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday vowed to “oppose” the move of the outgoing federal government to present a budget for the full one year, terming it “illegal and pre-poll rigging”.

Speaking at a press conference at the residence of the party’s secretary general Nayyar Bokhari, the PPP chairman urged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government to present the budget only for three to four months, saying that the ruling party could not announce any new development schemes through the budget.

Read: Murad says Sindh govt to present budget for only three months

He said that by presenting the full one-year budget, the government would be snatching the democratic right of the next parliament and the elected government of future and advised the rulers to only arrange funds for ongoing development schemes.

Advises Nawaz to avoid confrontation with institutions and ‘step back’ in the interest of democracy

Mr Bhutto-Zardari regretted that the chief ministers of three provinces had to jointly stage a walkout from a meeting of the National Economic Committee on Tuesday. He said that there were reports that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was also not present in the meeting, adding that “this is a message from all the provinces that the steps they (the federal government) are about to take are illegal and not allowed”.

“We will be opposing these steps in parliament. This is our democratic right and principled position,” he declared. Replying to a question, the PPP chairman explained that under the Constitution, a government could present only five budgets.

He said that the PPP-led provincial government in Sindh would only ensure provision of funds for ongoing schemes in the coming budget. “We are going to announce a budget which will include only the payments for ongoing schemes and will not include new schemes,” he said while giving the outline of the Sindh government’s last budget.

After coming to power, the PPP would strengthen the accountability laws, he said and insisted that the incumbent parliament had no right to change the laws.

He also advised PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif to avoid confrontation with the institutions and “step back” in the interest of the country and democracy.

He said that the talk about sanctity of ballots was only “rhetoric” and the rulers had no interest in strengthening institutions and democracy. He regretted that no one was doing “issue-based politics” in the country.

Responding to a question, the PPP chairman once again ruled out the possibility of having cooperation with the PML-N or the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf at any level or in any province.

“I do not want to work with Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan. They are different people but they have the same political philosophy and economic policy and I am contesting against them,” he said.

in reply to another question about those who had recently quit the PPP, he said that this was “Lota-ism” and such practices were not being appreciated by the young generation. He said that his party’s doors were closed for those who had recently quit the party.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018