Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has offered his support to Shehbaz Sharif to thwart on the budget despite the “inappropriate behaviour” of some PML-N members.

He said this while addressing a press conference at Zardari House, Islamabad, on Friday. Farhatullah Babar, Nayyer Bukhari, Senator Palwasha Khan and Faisal Karim Kundi were also present on the occasion.

Bilawal said he would “unconditionally support you and all PPP members will be in your support in the parliament and during budget session.”

He said that the PPP members would vote on the day of the budget and now it was up to Shehbaz as the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly to “do his work and stop the government’s budget.”

Replying to a question on whether the PPP had been contacted and whether it would support the opposition, he said that despite the “inappropriate behaviour” of the PML-N and other political parties in the opposition, the PPP had prioritised national issues and the budget over differences between the political parties.

Bilawal said that there is not one Pakistan, but two – one for the former prime minister from Raiwind, who despite conviction, was allowed to live abroad and the other for the former president from Nawabshah who is still living in the country and refuses to go abroad for medical treatment despite pleading of his children.

He said that there is one Pakistan for the leader of opposition from Raiwind and other for the leader of opposition from Sukkur who has been running from pillar to post just to get bail for over two years. He said that it is flabbergasting for him and he is still looking for an answer.  

The PPP chairman said that the prime minister is again singing the tune of mafia and corruption. Now the selected PM says that if he gets the next tenure, there will be accountability, which is a joke.

“Khan Sahib had said that he wants Pakistan to be one. However, there is a double system here which he is benefitting from. This is political revenge and political engineering by this government. It is not a just system. I ask the prime minister where the accountability is and where is the justice? If the prime minister’s friends are accused of a crime, they do not go to jail. If the prime minister himself is accused, nothing happens. If the prime minister’s sister is accused, nothing happens,” he added.

Bilawal said that now the people will hold them accountable. The people are suffering due to this failed government. The parents, who cannot help their children from being deprived of education, cannot provide bread and water due to this selected government; will not spare the prime minister. The PPP believes in the people and the parliament. If the opposition parties do not have the power to overthrow this government, then there will be elections and then the people will grab their members by the necks. The focus of the entire nation is on the country’s economy, he continued.

He said the prime minister or his ministers have nothing to do with the common man. The government of Pakistan is not aware of the plight of the common man in every field. The prime minister says the hard times are over, but that is only the case for his ATM machines. On the other hand, the days of the common man are getting worse than before and the Prime Minister claims that the economy is growing. Inflation in Pakistan is higher than in all of South Asia, but he says the economy is growing. The people do not have two meals a day; the common man does not even have money for medicine and education.

“I wish the prime minister knew what the problems of the people are. If the economy is growing then why are you begging in the world and why you do not kick the IMF out,” he added.

When the prime minister says the GDP is increasing then why beg from Islamic countries, Bilawal asked.

When your economy is improving, then you will increase the salaries of government employees by 100 percent, pensioners by 150 percent and salaries of soldiers by 175 percent. We hope that if there is money, all the problems including hunger, poverty, shelter and unemployment will be solved in a week. After the budget, there will be canals of milk and honey in the country. Now everyone, including Shaukat Tareen, has started admitting the PPP’s position. Former president Asif Ali Zardari used to say that NAB and economy cannot go hand in hand, and now the government has accepted this. The finance minister himself says that the deal with the IMF was wrong, then why are you still with the IMF, Chairman Bilawal asked the prime minister.

He said that the rulers are afraid of the people and even today they are running away from the Azad Kashmir elections. They also tried to cause trouble in the Senate but the Election Commission took a stand and did not allow rigging. Now that efforts are being made to bring electoral reforms through ordinances and the Election Commission has to take action. We will send a high-level delegation to the Election Commission to thwart this fraud attempt.

The PPP Chairman said that the Media Ordinance is an attempt to control the media like the dictator Zia-ul-Haq. We have condemned the attack on Assad and the petition against Asma Shirazi and Hamid Mir. The government is showing its weakness of not being able to tolerate the truth.

Chairman Bilawal called for a briefing on the situation in Afghanistan. He said that we demand that you create a forum, be it a parliamentary committee or a speaker, to take Parliament into confidence. The decision on Afghanistan is now up to the people through the parliament.

Replying to questions, Bilawal said that Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman has the right to have his say. The PPP has been doing politics with his party for three generations. In spite of inappropriate behaviour by some PML-N people, the PPP still wants to cooperate in the parliament with the opposition leader. He assured all his members’ support for the opposition leader to thwart this budget

Bilawal said If the parties in the PDM had been truthful in their resolve to tender resignations, they would have resigned the next day when the PPP did not accept linking long march with resignations.

If they had to resign, they would have resigned and they can still resign if they want to, he added.

He said Punjab has been left at the mercy of Usman Buzdar. Fair distribution of water is essential not only for Sindh but for the entire country. The facilitators of the government are those who do not want to dislodge Imran and Bazdar despite the fact that numbers are there in the parliament to do so. 

The writer is a member of staff
The reporting desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk

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