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Imran himself thumped desk on being called ‘selected’ PM: Bilawal

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June 25, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Monday said the banning of word ‘selected’ prime minister in the National Assembly was censorship.

Speaking in the National Assembly during the ongoing debate on the Federal Budget 2019-2020, the PPP leader said in English ‘selected’ meant ‘chosen’ and asked as to how the word could be termed unparliamentarily.

“There should be freedom of expression in Parliament, but it is being muted here.”

“In my absence, the deputy speaker expunged the word ‘selected' and banned its use in the House, but Imran Khan himself thumped desk when he was called a 'Selected Prime Minister' for the first time in this very Parliament. If Imran Khan is not selected prime minister, then why committee for election rigging is formed?” he asked.

“The slavery of a puppet prime minister is unacceptable. This censored Pakistan is unacceptable. An independent Pakistan is the solution, not a censored Pakistan,” he said. He said ban on the word ‘selected’ was imposed due to ego of prime minister.

He said last year when he used this word, the prime minister thumped the desk and now this word had been banned. “Quaid-i-Azam got freedomfor the country, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gave freedom to the people and Benazir Bhutto Shaheed sacrificed her life for freedom. This is not new Pakistan but Censored Pakistan,” he said.

He said if the prime minister was not selected, why he had formed the committee to probe the allegations of rigging. “We neither accept censorship on the media nor slavery of the puppets. We not only rejected political censorship, but also the Naya Pakistan which is a censored Pakistan,” he said.

He said if somebody thought that the situation would improve with censorship then he would say that they were fueling the fire, as issues could not be resolved through hiding them.

“The solution is not a censored Pakistan but free Pakistan,” he said. He said criticism for betterment was always welcomed in democracies, as solutions to problems came out through discussions but in Pakistan neither the people were free nor the politics and not even the media.

The PPP chairman said not issuing production order of a member of House was also censorship. “This House is responsible for the rights of people, and we are their spokespeople. If the House is not given its due respect, it will start portraying the setting in George Orwell’s novel.”

He said democracy meant the government of the people, by the people, for the people and it was the opposition’s job to protest but the prime minister was not ready to accept the opposition’s protest and turned Parliament into a ring.

“If the government also played the role of opposition, who will rule the country?” he asked. The PPP chairman said tin-pot dictators had even called Fatima Jinnah a traitor but the nation rejected them and now they were in the dustbin of history. “People have sacrificed a lot for this democracy so that we all can sit in this Parliament,” he said.

He said Parliament was not complete until the representatives of North and South Waziristan were produced in this House otherwise the history will record that these members and their constituencies were deprived of representation in this House.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said his and opposition’s freedom of expression was being curbed. “Different views are heard in democracies to chalk out policies for the people,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the federation had not been able to collect taxes and people were paying for the incompetence of PTI government whereas Sindh had collected taxes more than any province and also expanded its tax base.

He further said this time around three provinces will get less money from the national kitty and they will face economic difficulties. He rejected the Debt Inquiry Commission and National Development Council terming them undemocratic and unconstitutional.

“How can those answerable to Parliament pose questions to Parliament?” he asked.

Bilawal said Parliament was the supreme institution and the NAB, ISI etc were answerable to it and not the other way round. “There should be a parliamentary forum to probe budget and government spending,” he said.

Questioning the logic for the National Development Council, Bilawal questioned the need for the National Development Council and making the army a part of it. “In the democratic world, the army of every country stays away from economic matters and it should also be kept away in Pakistan,” he suggested.

The PPP chairman questioned the legal basis for the National Development Council. “Our armed forces are supposed to be non-controversial that’s why we keep them away from such political area,” he said.

He said the government should not push the army into economic matters just to hide its own incompetence. “We cannot afford letting the armed forces take the blame for high taxes, unemployment, disastrous IMF deal, or lack of development in any part of Pakistan,” he said.

He said the PPP in its tenure despite international economic crisis, terrorism, two floods and high international prices of petroleum had taken a loan of Rs5 billion on a daily basis, while the present government had got a loan of Rs15 billion per day. “The current government has taken record loans in comparison with the PPP and PML-N regimes,” he said.

Bilawal also rejected the budget and asked the government to take it back, as it was anti-people and pro-rich containing taxes for the poor and tax amnesty for the rich.

“The PTI government should withdraw its anti-people budget because over 8 million more people have already fallen below the poverty line during nearly one year of PTI government,” he said.

He said the Centre had usurped three best hospitals of the country belonging to Sindh while no money had been allocated for these hospitals in the budget.

“This act of government is undermining the provincial autonomy. Every common Pakistani will feel hardship due to this budget that is why it is anti-people,” he said.

He said Sindh had collected most taxes and the federal government should learn from Sindh. He also expressed his reservation about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s slogan of not two but one Pakistan and said in the new Pakistan there was price hike and unemployment for the poor and amnesty scheme and bailout packages for the rich.

He said the BISP programme will not be allowed to be replaced by Ehsas Programme. “Small businesses are being razed to the ground in the name of encroachment but the Bani Gala palace was illegally regularised. This double standard is not acceptable,” he said.

“The shelter for the poor is illegal but encroachment of Bani Gala is legal, the offshore company of Nawaz Sharif is illegal but of Imran Khan is legal, the fake accounts of others are illegal but their’s legal. What kind of these double standards are? “There should be justice in the government of Tehreek-e-Insaf,” he remarked.

Bilawal said the government announced one million jobs, but in this budget there was not even a single job for the youth. He said the government had promised construction of 5 million houses but not a single penny was allocated for this purpose in the budget.

He said during the PPP government the world economy was under pressure and oil prices were high but the PPP managed and petrol prices were kept under control, as the poor could not afford high petroleum prices.

He said three Sindh government hospitals were transformed into state-of-art hospitals after the 18th Amendment but the federal government took them back and did not allocate funds for the hospitals.

Concluding his budget speech, the PPP chairman said in the new Pakistan everything had been destroyed from politics to economy and human rights to judiciary. “The incompetent government is filing references against the judges to pressurise the institution of judiciary. This government has to go, as the Pakistan People’s Party will not compromise on human rights, political rights, the right of expression and democratic rights,” he added.