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Thursday February 22, 2024

PPP, PMLN in another row over 18th Amendment

PPP and PMLN exchanged barbs with the former accusing the latter of plans to abolish the 18th Amendment after coming to power and the latter blaming the former for unnecessary criticism to win over anti-PMLN votes

December 03, 2023
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari can be seen at an event at the Balochistan High Court Bar Association.  —x/sardarsammadkh1
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari can be seen at an event at the Balochistan High Court Bar Association.  —x/sardarsammadkh1

ISLAMABAD: Leaders of two major political parties, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN), exchanged barbs on Saturday, with the former accusing the latter of plans to abolish the 18th Amendment after coming to power and the latter blaming the former for unnecessary criticism to win over anti-PMLN votes.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Saturday whether it was in Pakistan or in any other country, establishment was a reality.

Addressing a press conference in Quetta, Bilawal said as a young politician, he wanted to shift the politics of confrontation in the country to politics of consensus, adding that decisions should be made with consensus among all political parties and institutions. “We want the institutions to work within their own ambit.”

About the PMLN leadership’s alleged announcements to roll back the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the PPP chairman said such thinking was dangerous for the country and the Federation. “Those who want to abolish the 18th Amendment, in fact, want to rob the resources of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. They want to cut public health and education budgets and send them to Islamabad,” he added.

He said that currently there were 17 ministries in Islamabad, which should be devolved to the provinces, adding that the annual budget of the said ministries was over 100 billion rupees, which was being wasted. “If the PPP government is formed, then the devolution process will be completed. I will close those federal ministries and spend 100 billion rupees on my people,” he announced.

Bilawal called upon the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif to give respect to vote instead of relying on anything else. “Mian Sahib should ensure respect for the vote and not disrespect it,” the former foreign minister said. Nawaz Sharif should contest the elections based on his ideology rather than the administration. He alleged that his party was not being provided the same space for electioneering as the PMLN.

About the ongoing protest in Chaman, he said the government should negotiate with the protesters and find a solution to the problem. “Problems cannot be solved by not giving media coverage to the issue,” he contended.

Separately, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari met political leaders, party’s organisational officials and workers of the PPP Balochistan. He discussed the political and electoral situation of Balochistan with them.

Meanwhile, PMLN leaders sharply reacted to the allegations levelled by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari regarding the 18th Amendment. “The PPP wants to attract anti-PMLN vote and politically, they can do so by targeting us,” PMLN Punjab President Rana Sanaullah told reporters in Lahore.

“We expect and hope the PPP will keep in mind democratic values. However, if they believe that they have to criticise PMLN, they can. They can try to woo Punjab’s votes,” Sanaullah added.

PMLN Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said the PPP was spreading “needless fears” regarding the 18th Amendment. He said the PMLN would not abolish the 18th Amendment after coming to power.

“The PMLN intends to fully implement the 18th Amendment.”