Bilawal accuses PM Imran of 'undermining parliament'

Updated 04 Oct 2019

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"If you don't make parliament functional, then democratic forces will be forced to take to the streets," says PPP Chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. — DawnNewsTV
"If you don't make parliament functional, then democratic forces will be forced to take to the streets," says PPP Chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. — DawnNewsTV

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of "undermining the parliament", saying that opposition had no choice but to take to the streets.

"If you do not make the parliament functional, democratic forces will be forced to take to the streets," he said in conversation with reporters in Islamabad.

Bilawal, who was speaking after an accountability court extended his father Asif Ali Zardari's judicial remand, said the former president had in the past remained in jail for 11 years without a conviction but had "never compromised on his principles".

"No matter how many of our party leaders they arrest, we will not compromise on the 1973 Constitution or the 18th Amendment," Bilawal declared. The lawmaker said that the "tadeeli sarkar" (regime of change) had failed.

"Imran Khan promised justice but he arrested his political opponents as well as the women of their families without any conviction or trial," he said, adding that the incumbent government had ruined the economy and increased unemployment.

Bilawal said the business community was so "fed up" with the government that they went to the army chief. "Insha Allah (God willing) their problems will be solved, but this is a very bad precedent that the people are approaching general headquarters instead of the parliament," he said.

"How much burden can we place on our institutions? Every institution will have to do its job. Our defence and intelligence institutions are supposed to deal with elements that are conspiring against our country. If Khan sahib starts directing them to deal with elections, economy and foreign policy, when will they protect our borders, which is their foremost job?"

Bilawal was referring to an event had been held at the Army Auditorium in Rawalpindi yesterday. News media had reported that several businessmen had met the army chief at a dinner reception hosted by the latter. Attendees later told Dawn that he meeting had focused on areas where an economic revival could be brought about, as well as building confidence between the government and the business community

When asked if his party will join Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Chief Fazlur Rehman's long march, Bilawal remained non-committal and said that the PPP has called a meeting to discuss "the extent to which they can help".

Rehman had announced yesterday that, as part of his campaign to take down the incumbent government, he will set out on a long march on October 27 which will culminate in Islamabad.

"We and the PML-N hoped that a joint opposition rally or protest could be held, [but] Maulana sahib has announced this march himself."

The PPP had expressed unwillingness to participate in the anti-government movement because of the inclusion of the issues of blasphemy laws and Namoos-i-Risalat on its agenda. Moreover, both the PPP and the PML-N had also opposed the idea of holding an indefinite sit-in, as the PTI did in 2014.