LARKANA: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the party does not oppose accountability in principle if it is conducted in a transparent manner but they will certainly not tolerate political victimisation in the name of accountability.
Bilawal said in his address to party workers who had gathered at Larkana railway station to welcome their leader when he arrived at midnight on Thursday that he was being held accountable in a case that pertained to the time when he was barely one year old.
He referred to the apex court’s comment that he (Bilawal) was innocent and said that later the comment was not made part of the original order. On whose behalf his name was implicated in the case, he asked.
“They have now fixed their eyes on me, Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur but they cannot frighten us through National Accountability Bureau. We don’t have any objection to a transparent process of accountability but we will never accept political victimisation in the name of accountability,” he said.
He was highly critical of the move to refer money-laundering cases to Rawalpindi and spoke about putting in place an effective system for accountability and fighting corruption instead of using NAB as a tool for political victimisation.
He said that he had heard rulers’ cries when Bhuttos’ name echoed in parliament. After they failed to stop him through rigging in election they were now trying to sideline him through political victimisation.
Bilawal said that rulers wanted to roll back the 18th Amendment and impose One Unit but PPP would oppose the move tooth and nail. The prime minister had announced that NRO would not be given to anybody but then the same was granted to banned outfits and retired Gen Musharraf etc, he said.
He said that ‘selected’ prime minister’s politics began and ended with NAB. Accountability should not be done on the basis of one’s association with Larkana or Lahore, he said before leaving for Naudero House where he was scheduled to stay till April 4.
Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, president of PPP Sindh chapter, said in a statement that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had been taken aback by the rousing welcome accorded to Bilawal at all railway stations from Karachi to Larkana.
He said that Bilawal had chosen to travel by train only to participate in Z.A. Bhutto’s death anniversary in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto. It was just an exercise to keep workers ready for ‘train march’ to Rawalpindi later, he said.
SUKKUR: Earlier, speaking to workers at Rohri, Sukkur and Gosar-Ji railway stations, Bilawal said that they were not afraid of NAB nor would they run away from inquiries. “PPP is not fleeing from accountability, we have no objection to accountability but revenge in the name of accountability is not acceptable,” he said.
He accused the federal government of instituting fake cases against opposition and blamed the Centre for “robbing” Sindh of Rs120 billion of its share. People had been drowned in a tsunami of inflation since the day the “puppet government” came to power. “Khan Sahib, you had promised constructing houses but instead you demolished peoples’ homes in the name of encroachments and made them homeless,” he said.
Bilawal’s caravan departed for Shikarpur and Larkana after the brief stopover. Strict security arrangements were made at all railway stations where people were allowed to enter after complete body search.
PPP senior leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah told media persons at Jinnah Municipal Stadium on Thursday that Imran Khan had failed to fulfil his promises. Nothing had happened so far with regard to his slogan of provision of jobs and construction of houses, he said.
He said the government would carry out development works in Sindh if the province received Rs120bn from the Centre.
Not only Sindh but Punjab and other areas of the country were also complaining against Islamabad, he said.
He said that since the apex court had endorsed NAB’s modus operandi they respected its decision.
“We say that if there is any lacuna or weakness in a law it should be brought into parliament and debated.”
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2019