ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday warned the government against arresting the Sindh chief minister, saying this would constitute crossing a red line.
Talking to reporters outside Adiala jail where he went to visit his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, he said such an irresponsible move would evoke a reaction so strong that the JUI-F’s Azadi March would be forgotten.
About cases against Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, he said the court itself had asked on whose directives the names of Mr Shah and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had been included in the JIT report.
“There is no reason morally, constitutionally and otherwise for Syed Murad Ali Shah to be arrested and if he is, then it will be a bad omen for the federation because he is the chief minister of a federating unit who has been elected CM with the greatest majority in the history of Sindh province”, he remarked.
Accuses government of victimising political opponents in the name of accountability
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the “selected” PTI government had imprisoned political opponents without any evidence against them and that this was not accountability, but victimisation. It was unfortunate that the “judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto” had been carried out in this same city [Rawalpindi] while a petition had been pending in Supreme Court regarding this, he added. “If no one is ready to apologise for this judicial murder, then what will be the situation with the common citizens of this country?” he asked.
“We are proud that president Zardari is not ready to compromise on principles, just like Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” he said.
The PPP chairman said his father was not being provided the necessary medical facilities, with the intention being that he be put under pressure, but he refused to bow down. He said Mr Zardari had sent a message to his party’s office-bearers and workers not to give in to these tactics and continue to fight dictators. “The selected government wants to appease the selectors and is indifferent towards the people of Pakistan who are being crushed under the burden of price hikes and unemployment. The selected government does not come to power with the votes of the people but is imposed on the people so they have no feeling for the masses,” he said. “The common people are worried about their utility bills and to make ends meet with the meager incomes they have.”
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that whenever the PPP came to power, it gave relief to the common people, not the rich, citing the Benazir Income Support Programme, salary increase of up to 150 per cent and pension up to 10pc. In a sharp contrast, he said every promise made by the “puppet” had remained unfulfilled. As people had become frustrated, “we have to send this puppet government packing. We will send packing this failed government with the help of the people very soon,” he said.
Regarding Kashmir, he asked why India that had not “attacked Kashmir in the past 70 years” had dared to do so this year.
Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2019