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June 26, 2019

APC to decide on removing Senate chairman or not, says Bilawal

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June 26, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday said the all parties conference (APC) would decide whether the Senate chairman should be removed or not.

While replying to a question after a press conference at the media corner, outside the Parliament House here, he said if the APC would decide that the Senate chairman should go, then all opposition parties would follow the decision.

The PPP chairman also raised a question about the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision to deploy the security forces inside the polling stations in the tribal districts elections, saying the Commission should avoid making elections controversial.

“Even if no rigging takes place in the tribal districts elections, allegations will be levelled which, I think, will cause a loss to the reputation of the institution.

“Why we were making them controversial after 70 years? Even General Zia and General Pervez Musharraf did not feel the need to deploy the security forces inside the poling stations; then why Imran Khan was deploying them,” he asked.

“There were many ways and means for holding free, fair and transparent elections, without making the security forces controversial,” Bilawal said adding that mistakes of the previous elections should not be repeated in this election, and in the bye-elections. “We have raised this issue in the previous general elections also in the Senate,” he said.

The PPP leader said when one is defeated in elections, allegations of rigging are levelled, but these should be against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the opponent parties, and not against an institution of the country.

About the acquittal of Babar Awan and rejection of a plea of former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf by an accountability court, Bilawal said a clear message had been conveyed in the verdict that either join the PTI or go to jail.

He said the judicial commission, formed by Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, gave a verdict that there was no financial corruption (in the Nandipur project), but the allegations of delay were levelled against the Ministry of Law and Justice; and in today’s verdict, only that ministry was vindicated. The difference is that former minister of law is now in the PTI, and the other is not in it, he added.

“We wanted that justice is done to everyone. But, at the same time, I wanted to say that the PPP will neither be afraid of such tactics nor will make any compromise on the democratic, economic and human rights issues,” he said.

About the National Finance Commission, he said the PPP is the only party which raised the issue in the system and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also raised it. “I also called upon the party to raise the issue at the platform of the all parties conference,’ he added.

To another question, he said the APC was a fresh opportunity to discuss the post-budget and one year of the “Tabdeeli Sarkar” (change regime) and to put forward new agenda.

To a question about prime minister’s absence from the parliament, he said the PPP wanted to launch a campaign against the “ghost employee” of the National Assembly. How come it’s possible that one receives salary from the parliament but doesn’t attend its sessions?

Asked whether the APC would give any roadmap to bring in an “elected PM” instead of a “selected one”, he said the conference would discuss every issue and economic situation would be on top of the agenda and it would expose the government on economic front. “We will also share the point of view about the attacks made on the democratic and human rights of people,” he said.

Bilawal said the PPP gave the government an opportunity to give a pro-people budget, but it proved to be anti-people. “The PPP will oppose the anti-people budget not only in the parliament but also before people,” he said.

About the difference of opinion among the PML-N on the issue of charter of economy, the PPP chairman said there were always different views in the democracies and, after discussions, the best opinion emerges, and the same thing would happen at the APC.

About the government claim of sufficient strength to pass the budget, he said the incumbent government did not need vote, neither in election nor now, as they were used to of rigging. “The two votes of the opposition were not being allowed to attend the session; therefore, they have already started the rigging process. And if they pass the budget, then the PPP will go to people,” he said.

The PPP chairman also sought the federal government help against the attack of locust on the crops in Sindh and Balochistan and demanded compensation for the farmers of Sindh and Balochistan.

He said former president Asif Ali Zardari spoke about it in his speech, and also spoke about it in his budget speech. ‘The SOS calls for help from the federal government fell on deaf ears. The Federal Locust Control division is sleeping,” he said adding that it had affected six districts of Sindh and the poor farmers in both provinces had suffered a lot till to date. "We condemn the federal government attitude to ignore this important issue.”

He said: "One billion rupees should be released for the affected people.” Earlier, talking to the media inside the parliament house, Bilawal rejected the claims that the PPP got an ‘NRO’ through the US pressure and said that Benazir Bhutto Shaheed pressured the US for removal of Musharraf and bringing back democracy in the country. “General Musharraf used to listen to the United States instead of the people of Pakistan and on one call, he agreed to put the country into a war,” he said.

Bilawal said Musharraf had sold Pakistanis to the United States for dollars. He said Benazir Bhutto was a popular leader and she launched a movement outside Pakistan for restoration of democracy in the country. “She was the only leader who had the courage to talk to the US president, and in the United States, she raised the point that double standards would not continue as they wanted democracy in Iraq and dictatorship in Pakistan. “Shaheed Benazir Bhutto used this as pressure point in the United States as Musharraf was not hearing Pakistanis, but the Americans,” he said.

Bilawal said the struggle for the cause of democracy was not a deal or an ‘NRO’. He said Imran Khan was a polling agent of Musharraf’s referendum at that time and was seeking votes for him. “Musharraf was a puppet at the hands of the Americans and also international forces as the dictators never listen to the people,” he said.

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