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August 12, 2017

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Establishment has no role in Panama Papers case: Bilawal

Establishment has no role in Panama Papers case: Bilawal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Friday that the establishment had no role in the Panama Papers case and he did not see any threat to democracy or system but only Nawaz Sharif was in trouble. He also made it clear that the PPP would not hold talks with Nawaz Sharif in the present situation.

“Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is only trying to save himself and making contempt of court in his speeches but it appears that contempt of court applies only to the PPP," he said while addressing a press conference here on Friday at the Parliament House.

Bilawal Zardari said that Nawaz Sharif did not have any ideology and he only wanted to save himself. When he was removed, he began talking about the Charter of Democracy and social contract. “The PPP has never supported the PML-N but we always come forward for democracy and if there is any threat to democracy, the PPP will gain on the forefront to defend it,” he said.

Commenting on the GT Road rally of Nawaz Sharif, Bilawal said that it appeared to be a ‘drama’ as Nawaz Sharif had taken the narrative of conspiracy in his farewell rallies but it would not benefit him. 

“Nawaz Sharif wants to hide behind the injustices faced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and we will not let that happen," he said.

The PPP chairman said that the Panama scandal surfaced through foreign entities not by military or judiciary and they did not have anything to do with the leaks.

Asked about the PML-N contacts with the PPP, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said no contacts
were made between the two parties and he would not make any contact with the PML-N. “If they contact me, I will not pick their calls or go to a meeting or sign any agreement," he said.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari claimed that the Sindh's accountability commission would be more successful than the National Accountability Bureau and said that the right to legislate on the matter had been transferred to the provinces after devolution of powers. "If KP can pass its own Ehtesab Commission, why can’t Sindh. Why do we not have the same right?" he said.

He said the NAB blackmailed people and was involved in plea bargains, which allowed for it to pocket some money and leave the rest with other culprits.

Asked about the grand dialogue of parliament with executive, judiciary and military as proposed by Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, Bilawal Bhutto did not agree to the proposal saying if Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani felt any threat to the system, he could do it but he did not see any role of military and judiciary in parliament as he did not want to see institutions intervening in the work of others.

When asked about the difference of opinion between the PPP and Raza Rabbani on the political situation that emerged after the Panama case verdict, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari did not agree with the questioner saying that Mian Raza Rabbani is a respectable person who being the Senate chairman took an independent stance due to his constitutional position.

To another question regarding the stance of PPP leaders on the current situation, he said the whole party had the same stance as Qamar Zaman Kaira was expressing the same stance.

Responding to another question with regard to statement of PTI Chairman Imran Khan through which he stated that alliance with the PPP was possible minus Zardari, Bilawal said that there was no possibility of 'minus-one' formula in the PPP. “We make our policies on principles and take our own decisions not on dictation,” he said.

In reply to question regarding PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s remarks that now it would be Zardari’s turn after Nawaz Sharif, he said now it would be the turn of former president Asif Ali Zardari to form the next government. He vowed that the PPP would return stronger in the upcoming general elections, irrespective of when they would be held.

Responding to a question with regard to the dismal performance of the PPP in the previous general elections of 2013, Bilawal Bhutto said the former president Asif Ali Zardari was barred from campaigning by a judge while the Taliban had issued threats to the PPP while allowing the PTI, PML-N and Jamaat-i-Islami to campaign freely.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he and Asif Ali Zardari would contest the upcoming elections whenever held either this year or in 2018.

Asked whether the PPP would support the PML-N if it brought the amendments to articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution, he said Nawaz Sharif would not get benefit if these clauses were amended and these would not apply retrospectively.

The PPP chairman condemned alleged enforced disappearances in Sindh and said that he had asked the government of Sindh to find out the reason behind the disappearances. "I have asked the Senate's human rights committee to take up the issue as well," he added.

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