ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday severely criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan and said the country would have a new premier next year.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the PPP’s core committee, he said the movement against the “selected government” had started and that the “selected prime minister” must go home.
He said the PPP believed in democracy and wanted a fair and free election so that complete democracy could be restored in the country where rights of people were protected. “We don’t want to go from one selected government to another,” he said while answering a question about the possibility of an in-house change.
He said the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) did not inform the opposition’s Rehbar Committee about its Plan B and Plan C in detail, adding that it even did not take the committee into confidence on its talks with leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q. “How will we comment on this issue when we still don’t know about the Plan B and C of the Azadi march and the understanding between the JUI-F and PML-Q,” he said.
Says JUI-F has not informed PPP about its Plan B and C
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that the PPP had fulfilled its promises to Maulana Fazlur Rehman by participating in his party’s public meetings. He said the PPP had also held many public meetings across the country.
Terming the JUI-F’s Azadi march a successful movement, the PPP chairman claimed that it had increased the chances of Imran Khan’s departure from power. The 13-day movement had also broken censorship on the media and now people were more openly talking about alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections in the country, he added.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari lashed out at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, accusing it of taking revenge on its political opponents. “Asif Ali Zardari has not been allowed to meet his personal physician for the past six months despite repeated requests by his family,” he said, adding that meeting with his personal physician was Mr Zardari’s right under the law.
He said Mr Zardari was neither convicted nor charged in any case, but he was kept under detention. “Despite my repeated requests, Mr Zardari has not applied for a bail because he is of the view that he is not convicted in any case and his detention is illegal and that he is being kept under detention just to build up pressure on his party,” he said.
He claimed that the PPP was being victimised on the name of accountability. According to him, there is a law that the trial must be conducted where the case is reported, but contrary to this cases against PPP leaders, especially members of the Bhutto family, were transferred from Karachi to Rawalpindi. This is a question over the current accountability process in the country, he added.
Raising questions over the government’s foreign policy, the PPP chairman said that it was facing crisis. He condemned human rights violations in India-held Kashmir and said the PPP would not stop raising its voice for the people of the occupied valley.
“On the PPP’s founding day, we will hold a public meeting in Azad Kashmir where our party’s plan of action will be presented,” he said, adding that the PPP was founded on the basis of Kashmir issue.
“We will clarify our policy regarding the re-organisation of the PPP on its founding day,” he said.
The PPP chairman lashed out at the government for not having an economic plan in place. “Ever since the PTI came into power, the economic situation in the country has taken a turn for the worse,” he said.
Mr Bilawal-Bhutto claimed that the PTI-led government had surrendered before the International Monetary Fund. He said the PPP would continue to fight for the economic rights of people according to the vision of former prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.
He said people were facing financial difficulties these days because of wrong economic policies of the government. “Ask those unemployed who are facing the burden of inflation and those who are going through economic problems. Instead of providing jobs, the present government has made people unemployed. The present government had the slogan that there is one Pakistan, but now there are two Pakistans in which tomatoes are being sold for Rs17 for one person and Rs300 for another,” he said sarcastically.
Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2019