LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Thursday that the opposition was weighing different options, including an in-house change, to “rid” the country of “inefficient” Imran Khan-led government.
“All opposition parties are on the same page to get rid of the ‘inept’ and ‘selected’ Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government. Whichever way is adopted for this purpose, we have to send this ‘illegal and unconstitutional’ government home very soon. Options like an in-house change and mid-term polls are under consideration,” he said while talking to reporters at the residence of PPP leader Samina Ghurki here.
At the same time, Mr Bhutto-Zardari drew the attention of the “selector” to the poor performance of Imran-led government, saying that enough time had been given to it to deliver.
Earlier, Shahbaz Sharif, president of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), another major opposition party, had also supported the idea of in-house change, saying the sooner the nation got rid of PM Khan, the better it was for the country.
Tells ‘selector’ that enough time has been given to PTI’s ‘inefficient’ govt to deliver
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that Mr Sharif would return from London soon, indicating that on his return the joint opposition may show its cards regarding a joint strategy to launch anti-government protest. According to PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah, the opposition leader in the National Assembly would return next month.
Asked whether the joint opposition would be in a position to bring an in-house change in the wake of what had happened in the Senate when a no-confidence motion was tabled against its chairman last year, the PPP chief said: “This will not happen in the National Assembly. If a no-confidence motion is tabled in the National Assembly against the prime minister, the opposition lawmakers under the law will have to vote in accordance with the party line. This [no-confidence move in the NA] should not be equated with the Senate episode.”
In an indirect reference to the establishment, he said: “If we go for an in-house change, there will be a problem for it and it may not repeat what it had done in the Senate polls.”
Mr Bhutto-Zardari recalled how some opposition senators had defied party policy and voted against a no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. “The way some votes of the opposition, which has a majority in the Senate, went missing shows that the PTI regime has been imposed on us forcibly,” he said.
Interestingly, the opposition, particularly the PML-N and PPP leadership, had vowed to take action against such senators but later it changed its mind because of “political compulsions”.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said there were two reasons for immediately getting rid of this government — first, it was “unconstitutional” and had been installed through “massively rigged elections” and second, the poor could no longer face the brunt of the “fascist regime’s” policies.
He said the PPP was the only party that had come to power without the blessing of the establishment in the past. “In the future too it will come to power with the people’s mandate,” he declared.
“Today people are asking the ‘selector’ [a reference to the establishment] to take notice of what its selected government has done. It has made their lives miserable,” he said and added that during the one-and-a-half year of its tenure, the PTI government could not fulfil a single promise it had made to the people.
The PPP leader demanded scrapping of the PTI government’s “anti-people” agreement with the International Monetary Fund and said that the government had made the country food-insecure. “The PTI government has taken more loans as compared to the previous government showing that PM Khan is corrupt, inept and incompetent.”
He said the government had committed economic murder of the masses. “The people have drowned in the tsunami of inflation and price hike,” he added.
Replying to a question, the PPP leader said he had no issue in meeting with PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former premier Nawaz Sharif.
Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020