'Go home if you don't have solutions to people's problems,' Bilawal tells PM Imran

Published December 24, 2020
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a ceremony in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addresses a ceremony in Karachi on Thursday. — DawnNewsTV

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday heaped scorn on Prime Minister Imran Khan's admission that his government suffered from a lack of preparation in its starting months, telling the premier that he should "go home" if he couldn't provide solutions to people's problems.

Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the Malir Expressway project in Karachi, Bilawal said Prime Minister Imran's remarks that his administration was undergoing "training" for a good part of its first year was a "joke" with the country.

"What was he doing in KP for seven years if he wasn't preparing [for the Centre]? How was the '22-year struggle' that we keep hearing about not helping in the preparation?" he asked, referring to the premier.

Editorial: PM Imran's admission about lack of preparedness when coming into power is disturbing

Bilawal's remarks come two days after Prime Minister Imran said that never should a new government come to power without doing its homework and without getting briefings.

“When I review my performance, we took three months only to understand [issues as] everything that we had been looking at from outside was altogether different after we came to power.

"I must also share, for one-and-a-half years we remained unable to even know the actual figures of different sectors, particularly the power sector. From one ministry at times the figures indicated we were performing very well and then sometimes some other figure showed we were not performing that well," he had said at an event in Islamabad.

Bilawal said Imran had promised to "eradicate corruption" in his first 90 days and end the country's difficulties within 100 days. "Now after [nearly] three years, you are saying it was the training? This is a joke with the people of Pakistan," he added.

Considering the potential of the Pakistani people and resources, he said, the state of affairs in Pakistan would be different "if our prime minister was even mildly competent".

The PPP chairperson alleged that Prime Minister Imran had only one answer when asked about resolving national issues: "What can I do?"

"Prime Minister sahib, if you don't have the solution to the people's problems, then your only recourse is to resign and go home."

The PPP leader said his party had the "solutions" and knew how to drive the nation out of economic hardship, adding that the PPP government too in its tenure had dealt with a global economic crisis and financial recession, as well as floods and terrorism.

"But during that economic crisis we never even once said 'What can we do?'. We never left the people orphaned for even a day," he said, adding that the PPP raised salaries, pensions and pays of soldiers despite the treasury being "empty".

'Unconstitutional steps'

Talking about the expressway project, Bilawal said it would be beneficial for the people, labourers and businesspeople of Karachi.

He said his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had introduced the concept of public-private partnership in the PPP's 1993 manifesto and the PPP government in Sindh had taken this vision forward.

"The projects carried out by the PPP across the country in public-private mode are more advanced than those of all other provinces and the federal government," Bilawal said, citing the "revolutionary" success of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company in Thar.

He alleged that Sindh and other provinces were not being given "their fair share" and the National Finance Commission (NFC) award had not been renewed even though provinces had more responsibilities after the 18th amendment.

"But while we protest, we haven't sat down complacently in the disappointment of not receiving the funds; we came up with solutions for our people, one of which is the idea of public-private partnership."

Bilawal said even though Sindh's sales tax on services was less than that of other provinces, it was ahead of other provinces in revenue generation.

"This is because unlike the Centre, [we] don't use NAB, blackmail, torture and injustice for this resource generation but we encourage and incentivise the business community.

"And those who have missed their targets year upon year, have a record of failure and incompetence, they are lecturing us that we are inept provincial people who can't generate revenue," he said.

"They are taking unconstitutional steps and think they can police the provinces?" Bilawal added, referring to the PTI government's plans to review the mechanism of NFC Award distribution.

He continued while addressing the federal government: "The day provinces demand accountability from you, you will have nothing left, you have to move forward together with the provinces."

Bilawal said "the way Imran's government has abandoned the people, if the situation continues in these difficult circumstances then the nation's anger and passions will grow out of control.

"When you come into power because of the signals of someone else, then you always look towards them first and later give attention to the people if you have time."

As part of the opposition's anti-government movement, Bilawal said he was "proud" that all of PPP's members of parliament and assemblies had sent their resignations to him.

"I am aware that many forces are doing their work around and putting pressure on nearly all of my [party's] members, but [they] continue to stand steadfast. [...] I want to tell such forces to stop this behaviour with my people.

"I know who is doing this and why. Don't force me to expose all of them one by one," he added, without naming anyone.

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