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'Are you declared a traitor if you don't follow a script?': Bilawal lashes out at 'fascist trolls'

March 22, 2019

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Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at a press conference last week had said that he does not trust PTI to crack down on banned organisations. — Online/File
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at a press conference last week had said that he does not trust PTI to crack down on banned organisations. — Online/File

A day after a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MPA submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly demanding that the government register a treason case against Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari for his alleged "anti-Pakistan statement", the PPP chairman questioned whether those who refuse to follow 'scripted narratives' would be declared traitors.

Early in March, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said the government had planned a crackdown on militant groups in accordance with political consensus in the National Action Plan (NAP). The announcement followed a Feb 21 meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) which had "decided to accelerate action against proscribed organisations" and re-ordered imposition of a ban on the Jamaatud Dawa and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation.

A source, however, had denied that the action was in response to Indian pressure after the Feb 14 Pulwama attack, saying that the decision had been taken much before then, although it became public later.

Last Thursday, Bilawal at a press conference had said that he does not trust PTI to crack down on banned organisations and demanded the removal of a trio of ministers from the federal cabinet, whom he accused of having "long-held ties" with members of proscribed organisations.

Read more: Govt plans decisive crackdown on militant outfits

"They [the PTI] are not taking action against the banned organisations because they had been their allies in the last general elections," he alleged. "The groups had been rebranded to help the PTI form its government," he had said, calling for the formation of a joint parliamentary NSC with the mandate to oversee NAP implementation.

On Thursday, PTI MPA Mussarat Jamshed Cheema in the resolution said that Bilawal’s statement about the government’s action against proscribed organisations as "protective cover" was no less than treason as it reflected the 'Indian narrative'.

At a time when the whole world is standing by Pakistan for its narrative of peace, Indian aggression on Line of Control (LoC) and Kashmir issue, Bilawal’s statement was "no less than an Indian rocket launcher", she added.

Bilawal, in a strongly worded tweet today, wondered whether those who don't "follow a script" are declared traitors. "Screw you and your narrative, I have an ideology," he said. "My ideology doesn't change, your narrative will keep changing."

"Read, think, speak, and ignore fascist trolls who run this country," he advised followers on Twitter.

Bilawal and PTI lawmakers have traded barbs over the past couple of weeks as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigates the PPP leader and his family members, among others, in various corruption cases. Opposition lawmakers have accused the government of using NAB for political victimisation, but the government and NAB itself have both denied such allegations.