PPP will fight to stop the “selected government” from rolling back 18th Amendment: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has declared that his party will fight to stop the “selected government” from rolling back the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
The amendment was passed during the PPP government to give due rights to the provinces, but “voices are coming from the government quarters that the 18th Amendment will be scrapped,” Mr Bilawal said during a reference held in memory of the late Nawabzada Nasrullah at a hotel on Wednesday.
Announcing the launch of a full-fledged opposition against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government, the PPP chairman said any attempt to sell the federation by “non-democratic forces” would be foiled.
“We will go to any extent to resist any [such] move of the government,” he said, adding that the government was taking the country to the verge of a disaster every passing day. “Earlier, we had decided to give 100 days to the PTI-led government, but faulty decisions being made by Prime Minister Imran Khan are taking the country towards a disaster and hopelessness,” he added.

Calls for unity among opposition parties against ‘selected govt’

Highlighting the need for unity among all opposition parties, the PPP chief said they should shun their differences for the sake of democracy, as the country was passing through an important political era when a “selected” government has been formed to create a “censored” democracy.
“It had already been predicted by Benazir Bhutto that efforts were being made to bring a censored democracy in Pakistan. Today her prediction proved true,” noted Mr Bhutto-Zardari.
He said after the “rigged” elections members of some opposition parties were not even ready to take oath as parliamentarians. “But today I am glad that they came to the parliament, because we cannot let the country plunge into danger,” he said.
He said the PTI, which had pledged it would not beg money from other countries to run the affairs of the state, soon after coming into power picked the begging bowl and started raising chanda (donations). “Countries are not run on donations,” he added.

Gas, power tariffs

Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the PTI-led government had already increased gas tariff and decided to raise electricity tariff, too, within a month after coming into power. He feared that by this act of the government, the basic utilities would go beyond the reach of the middle class.
Talking about the Kashmir issue, the PPP chief said it was for the first time that the United Nations had prepared a report on India-held Kashmir, but Prime Minister Imran Khan wasted this opportunity by deciding not to attend the UN summit and sending Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on his behalf.
Referring to the government’s plan to construct Bhasha and Mohmand dams, he said military dictators Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf also had made attempts to construct the Kalabagh Dam but in vain because they did not take into account the grievances of smaller provinces. “The government should listen to the people why they are against the dams, proposed to be constructed on River Indus,” he said.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said former president Asif Ali Zardari continued to extend the mission of former prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto despite having spent11 years in jail. The PPP chairman said the former president attended hearings of political motivated cases against him for 30 years, yet nothing had been proved against him. He said political victimization was still on as new cases were being made against him. “Even today our courts are not independent to take the cases of murders of Zulfikar Ali and Benazir Bhutto to the logical conclusion,” he added.
If this system could not do justice to former prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, how it could provide relief to the common man, he maintained.
Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2018

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