'PDM has asked for democracy, not relief,' says Bilawal

Published January 3, 2021
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to media in Thatta on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to media in Thatta on Sunday. — DawnNewsTV

PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Sunday that the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had never asked for "relief", and that it was instead seeking "democracy, [a] level playing field, and an end to unemployment, inflation and poverty".

Bilawal was talking to reporters in Thatta when he made the remarks in response to a question about the government's stance that the PDM was formed only to "seek an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance)"-like concession.

He said the government only brought up the NRO when it had no answer to the PDM's criticism but the people could "clearly see through these tactics".

Addressing questions regarding any disagreements between the PDM and PPP, he said: "Our CEC (Central Executive Committee) has endorsed every decision of the PDM." He emphasised that the decisions regarding contesting the upcoming by-elections or any other elections will be made from the PDM's platform "with consensus".

The PPP leader rubbished Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid's comments from the previous day who had said the PDM had accepted defeat and the PPP had won. "I understand that PDM's win is PPP's win and PPP's win is PDM's win so we are one. When PDM wins the people of Pakistan win," he said.

'NAP not being followed'

Bilawal also condemned Sunday’s incident in Balochistan where 11 coal miners were kidnapped and shot dead.

“I strictly condemn the terrorist and murderous action against the coal miners, and demand from the government that it implement the National Action Plan (NAP) and bring it into action,” he said.

He said the NAP had been forgotten and not been followed ever since the incumbent government came to power. Bilawal alleged that “major terrorists are escaping” and that culprits involved in the Army Public School (APS) attack were also being “let go”.

“Our innocent people are being left at the mercy of these terrorists, no investigations are happening and nor is anyone being caught,” Bilawal alleged.

Pointing to the interior minister and the federal government, he said if they did their jobs instead of “doing politics and making noise over PDM” then such incidents might be avoided.

Sindh and Balochistan Islands

The PPP chairperson also addressed the ongoing tussle between the federal and Sindh governments over the planned takeover of Sindh and Balochistan's islands beginning with Bundal and Buddo.

He said the PPP’s voice was the most prominent regarding the issue of the islands and that whenever such attempts had been made under authoritarian rule, the PPP was at the forefront in resisting them.

Bilawal further said the Sindh cabinet and Sindh Assembly had passed resolutions to show the “people of Sindh’s wishes and rejection of this move” and presented them to the whole country. “Sindh assembly doesn’t have the constitutional and legal right to overturn any ordinance but it will become the voice of the people and try where it can,” he stressed.

“In the National Assembly and the Senate, members of the opposition have continuously fought this issue […] and we will fail every such effort like this.”

Speaking about natural gas shortages in Sindh and Balochistan, Bilawal said the issue will be raised regarding the first right of use of the gas that Sindh and Balochistan produced. He said the two provinces had a constitutional right to the gas since they produced the most.

Media 'propaganda'

In reference to Rashid's comments yesterday on the PDM and PPP, Bilawal alleged that propaganda was being done through the media to sow discord in the PDM in which some ministers were involved. He appealed to the media to not give space to such elements.

He said the media had portrayed “Imran Khan addressing empty chairs as a revolution” but was now deliberately campaigning against the PDM on behalf of “undemocratic forces”.

The PDM is running a democratic movement for a “real, organic and national representative government”, Bilawal emphasised.

“PDM's workers [working together] with the people of Pakistan will face this government and send this puppet [government] home.”

He said the PPP had never looked to someone else but always believed in the “power of the people”.

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