Bilawal should change his narrative and 'stand with Pakistan', says information minister

Updated March 24, 2019

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Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain addressing a press conference on Sunday. — APP
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain addressing a press conference on Sunday. — APP

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said that PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari should change his narrative of bashing the government and censuring the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and instead "stand with Pakistan".

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the information minister said that Bilawal should focus his energy on issues bigger than running a movement to "save his father as there will be plenty of time to do that later".

Bilawal's father and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari is currently embroiled in a NAB investigation regarding the use of fake bank accounts to launder money.

"You should concentrate on bigger issues; this 'if you ask us about Rs5,000 corruption then we will launch a movement against you' is an inappropriate attitude and does not justify a political movement against NAB," Chaudhry said, addressing Bilawal.

Last Thursday, Bilawal at a press conference had said that he does not trust the PTI government 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 groups.

Responding to Bilawal's allegations, the information minister said that the young parliamentarian is in need of a deeper assessment of the facts and history within his own party of similar "long-held ties".

"Bilawal has not assessed this fully. If only he had looked at who Qamar Zaman Kaira and Khursheed Shah had been pictured with he would not have made such statements," he said.

"He doesn't know what big 'terrorists' Khursheed sahab has been meeting," Chaudhry alleged. "If taken strictly [the viewpoint that Bilawal holds] the entire [National] Assembly would have to be banned."

He said that all of the ministers stand with Pakistan and will remain devoted to the country. "Bilawal will have to change his narrative and stand with Pakistan."

On the side: Fawad Chaudhry: The megaphone

The information minister went on to claim that "the two favourites" [Bilawal and Maryam Nawaz] pose no political challenge to the government.

"We are of the view they have just begun [their political career] and we hope that they serve people and engage in philanthropy [before jumping into the deep end of politics]. They should at least get a job for six months so they know what life is like [for the common man]. It is not appropriate to engage in politicking over abbu's (father's) money," said Chaudhry.

'Goebbels of the puppet government'

PPP issued a quick response to the information minister's remarks, terming him the "Goebbels (referring to the propaganda minister of Nazi Germany) of the puppet government".

"The country knows that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan are two sides of the same coin," alleged PPP leader Nafisa Shah.

"Bilawal wants to save Pakistan which faces danger from banned organisations," she claimed.

"Bilawal's statements hurt Imran Khan and when Imran Khan is hurt then NAB becomes more charged than ever," said Shah.

She said that the PPP only demands a complete implementation of NAP.

The exchange of barbs between the minister and the PPP comes days after PTI MPA Mussarat Jamshed Cheema submitted a resolution in the Punjab Assembly demanding that the federal government register a high treason case against Bilawal following his allegation that some incumbent ministers had ties with members of proscribed organisations.

After the resolution was submitted, Bilawal had lashed out at the PTI-led government whom he labelled "fascist trolls" and questioned whether those who refuse to follow "scripted narratives" would be declared traitors.