LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday said that the concern expressed by the PPP over a ‘level-playing field’ was related to the PMLN.
Talking to the media after expressing condolence with senior journalist Imdad Soomro over the demise of his father, Bilawal said, “The demand to provide level-playing field is from the PML-N.” He further said: “It would have been better that the matter of level-playing field was addressed by the parties of the Pakistan Democratic Movement.” He said as far as PPP’s reservations over a level playing field are concerned, we have empowered PPP Co-chairman Zardari to address them.
“Our Central Executive Committee had demanded an immediate announcement of election schedule,” said Bilawal and added that all political stakeholders must be given a level playing field.
The law for the development funds and completion of projects is clear, he said. “It is unfair to decline budgeted development schemes in Sindh, while schemes allowing judges to buy plots in Punjab without interest rate are being launched. The rule must be similar for all provinces.”
Bilawal said if schemes have been approved and budgeted, they should continue but that is not being allowed in Sindh. “This puts a moral, legal and constitutional obligation on the ECP to ensure that there is a level playing field in Centre as well as provinces.”
Asserting that the PPP was ready to face cases against it, he expressed the hope that PMLN supremo Nawaz Sharif would also do the same. “It was a longstanding demand of the PPP that Nawaz Sharif should return to the country. If a date has been announced, we welcome it. As far as cases are concerned, we are ready to face ours and we are sure they are too.”
He said all the NAB cases are old and baseless and will have no impact on the upcoming elections. “The perception that people are not joining the PPP or are leaving the party is wrong since people are joining us every day.”
About the controversy surrounding the election date, the PPP chairperson said that neither the establishment nor anyone else but the Election Commission of Pakistan alone had the authority to decide the poll date.
Responding to a question, he said a full court hearing the Practice and Procedure Act 2023 case was an appropriate decision as it dealt with the supremacy of parliament and the court itself had a stake in it. He also praised the live transmission of Supreme Court proceedings.
Commenting on the statement of Canadian prime minister, he said it was a very serious allegation that the Canadian government had levelled against India on the killing of a Sikh Canadian citizen on its soil.
“This should have been highlighted by the media and the interim Foreign Office. India has been exposed before the world now.
“How long will the international community, especially the West, continue to ignore such incidents and actions of India? It is time for international community to accept that India has become a rogue, Hindutva terrorist state,” said Bilawal, adding that India conducted terrorism in Kashmir. “Not only have we in Pakistan caught their spies involved in terrorism in our country but now they have been caught violating the sovereignty of a Nato member state. This is not only a violation of Canadian sovereignty but also the international law and norms. The government of Pakistan should stand with the people of Canada and highlight the atrocities of religio-fascist state.”
Bilawal said it was an honour for him to have served as the youngest foreign minister of the country and to have re-established ties with age-long allies of the country and created new ones with other nations.
Answering a question, he said the common man was concerned only about the historic price hike. They have to choose between sending their kids to school, healthcare for their elders or paying power bills. He said that no one cares who is doing what, they only need a roadmap.
“Our priority should be how to give relief to common man in this time of high inflation,” Bilawal said, adding that the country needs a people-friendly government.
When it comes to the question of PPP being able to achieve this feat, the party history has proved that it helped the country not only to stay afloat but prosper during the 2008 global recession. “We gave the BISP to people to empower women, increased salaries and pensions and transformed the country into one exporting its produce rather than importing it.”
He said the sacrifices and services of the mothers of democracy, Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, were recognized all over the world. “It was through their struggle that we were able to witness women empowerment that has grown to the extent that a judge took his oath with his wife by his side.” In his reaction to PPP chairman’s demand for a level playing field, PMLN leader and former federal minister Khurram Dastgir said Bilawal Bhutto must raise this issue with the ECP and establishment.
Talking to Hamid Mir during Capital Talk, Dastgir said the 15-party PDM alliance had an ideal working relationship during its 16-month-long stint in power. All the component parties took decisions unanimously during the government and must own them now as well.
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