Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s media talk outside Parliament building Islamabad

Parliament is being undermined since this government came to power. This session was not summoned for discussion on important issue. We were not summoned to discuss worst economic situation, economic murder of people, price hike, inflation, food insecurity which has been created by the government, wheat crisis and on geo-strategic issues. We were summoned today just because the government wanted to table its ordinances. Government is carrying out legislations through back door and the parliament is an institution where legislations are done, where consensus is created, where debate is done with opposition, best ideas come out after debate and consensus is achieved in country’s interest and they become law. However, there is no democracy in the behaviour and conduct of this government and it wants the Parliament to be rendered powerless. We strongly oppose this which is why we condemn the ordinances and the President House which has now become a factory of ordinances and we walked out of the National Assembly today. Another important issue that is prevalent right now is the series of political arrests which has begun again and include Manzoor Pashteen, member National Assembly Mohsin Dawar and some young students who were holding a peaceful protest. Regarding this, not only does PPP condemn this act but also is trying to make the government understand that they should let democracy prevail and if you have an objection with someone’s statement, you just don’t imprison him but answer the statement instead. Today, one person in the National Assembly was demanding that these members should apologize for their statements, the words that were used to address the Parliament were wrong and these members should say sorry, but including me no one knew what was anti-democratic or unconstitutional in the statements. Why do we not know that? It is because this very government has imposed a censorship on the statements, their statements are not even aired on TV and then those members are not allowed to speak in the Parliament. The ones that come from FATA, and FATA is the area which has been a target of terrorism, where the most terrorist activities have taken place, its people have been combating extremism and terrorism. Before that, the first Afghan war that took place, even in that too, there are a lot of sacrifices of the youngsters of FATA. We know that whenever an operation is held or a war occurs, then immediately after that reconstruction takes place, rehabilitation is done; there is investment in the economy and infrastructure. You give hope to the people that Pakistan will provide relief and show ownership but it is disappointing that previous governments have not adopted this tradition. They didn’t have this ideology. When PPP was in power, we had a 3 Ds policy, dialogue, deterrence and development. So, the development part has not been implemented till today. In PPP’s tenure, we collected the most money for FATA, but we unfortunately have to say that the investment hasn’t been used in the health sector and the infrastructure that was destroyed. Simultaneously, the internally displaced people, IDPS, in PPP’s time as well there was an operation in Swat and South Waziristan. Immediately after that, PPP’s government sent the IDPs back to their homes for their reconstruction and rehabilitation and started the Benazir card system. All the operations that have taken place after that, be it Zarb-e-Azab or Radd ul Fasaad, till today the IDPs have not been rehabilitated. This is a valid demand, this is not the demand of traitors, this is the demand of Pakistanis, to raise voices for and encourage the citizens of Pakistan that have been internally displaced and are homeless because of terrorism. We believe that the government has been unsuccessful and PPP demands for the issue of the IDPs, when Khan sahib was in the opposition he used to raise the issue of IDPs but is quiet on this nowadays. Instead of arresting protestors, instead of arresting students, Khan sahib’s government should do its work and should solve the problems of its people and IDPs should be sent home. The concept of there being not one, but two Pakistans that is prevalent right now, this system cannot work. This harms the federal government. When the government’s tradition is calling their own dharna democratic and our dharna treason then this is a dual system. When Imran Khan curses at the Parliament, then he struggles for a very noble cause, he is delivering very good speeches, and the youth is being inspired by them. When these youngsters say something due to sentiments, then that is treason. There cannot be two laws in one Pakistan. This series of there being not one but two Pakistans can be seen everywhere, be it IG Sindh’s issue, I want to ask you, you all are residents of Islamabad, do you not remember that Islamabad’s IG was changed and sent home because some livestock entered the house of a minister, when a cow entered the minister’s house, and then that IG did not answer the phone. An IG can be changed over this. A very fantastic IG was sent to Punjab who had to oversee the entire Punjab police reforms. He too was changed in a matter of weeks. IGs are constantly changed in KPK as well, neither is that discussed in cabinets and they are changed in less than 24 hours. However, when it’s about the IGs in Sindh, where there has been a consensus between our Chief Minister and Prime Minister, after that we get it approved by our cabinet, we send five names and those are not based on any personal preference but on the basis of seniority. We do all of this, even are given a promise by the Prime Minister, but our IG is not changed. This does not harm me, neither does it harm my MNAs or MPAs, it harms the people of Sindh who we are answerable to about the law and order situation. Where we go, our people complain that the improvements that were being made in law and order are now being faced with difficulties and when we make a democratic decision over that, follow the law, then Khan Sahib maintaining the “not one but two Pakistans” tradition, plays his political games which is harming the people of my province. This is why we condemn this and demand that the law you impose in Punjab and KP and use for Islamabad’s IG, you should work by the same law in Sindh as well. You do not realize, this puppet government does not realize that when such injustice and dual system is present then it harms the federacy. The government should handle these issues with seriousness and not everything is a game or a cricket match, you are playing with the lives of the people while Sindh demands for a change of IG from the same five-name list that has been sent to you on your own choice so that peace can be restored in our province. The economical situation is in front of us all and from my first budget address to my rallies, speeches and press conferences, I have always warned that my people are being financially killed be it farmers, workers, my friends from the media, and now this reality is in front of all of us. The whole world is accepting that Pakistan is facing financial difficulties. The price hike keeps on increasing, food items are getting costlier and the prices of power and gas are being increased daily. Living in this country, for a common man, is getting more and more difficult and instead of giving relief, solving the problems of the people, this government is further burdening the common man. This government should realize that if it has to burden anyone, it should burden the elite and influential class, but unfortunately, the tradition of this government has been that if it is to give a tax amnesty scheme, then it is not for our small traders or farmers, not for you, but it is for billionaires. When this government announces bail out packages, for billionaire stock brokers and bankers but not for you, I believe that the manner with which the government is carrying out its economic policies will bring a very serious reaction from the people. The people demand for economic justice and they also know that if there is economic justice then it is done by the PPP and it will continue its struggle for the same cause.
Question: Bilawal Sahib, when a consensus had taken place between the Chief Minister and Prime Minister, what reasons do you think are responsible for it not being implemented?
Answer: I think that this is another example of the complete and utter weakness of Imran Khan’s leadership and his inability to govern, to administrate and to stand by a commitment. It is not that Imran is talking to Murad, Prime Minister Pakistan is talking to Chief Minister Sindh, in an official meeting about an important issue which has a proper procedure in the law about the consensus. Not once, not twice, but thrice there have been talks but despite that this man doesn’t stand by his words. He is not a man of his words. He is not a man who can stand by any position. He takes a decision, and his party worker objects, his minister objects, his ally objects and he has to take a u-turn. However, countries cannot be run like this, federating units cannot be run like this. Khan sahib should show a little leadership and should stand by his words and commitment, a man should be a man of his words and since the Prime Minister has given his word, I hope that he will now keep his words.
Question: After this whole IG issue, do you think that the working relationship of the federal and Sindh government can be saved? If yes, of what magnitude will it be of then?
Answer: A very good conversation had taken place regarding the IG that maybe there was a potential or scope for the working relationship between the province of Sindh and the federation to improve but unfortunately, from what can be seen, the federal government is not interested and does not want to improve its working relationship with Sindh. It does not want development in Sindh. I would like to remind you all that till today, Prime Minister sahib has not started a single development project in my province Sindh, there has not been a single inauguration, not one project, and if he did, it had been snatched from us. If he has done something, then he has snatched our resources, undermined our powers, and I think that the government cannot be run this way.
Question: Sir, there are other parties and stakeholders in your province other than PPP, are they supporting you in the IG Sindh issue?
Answer: As far as the IG issue is concerned, there is a constitutional and legal way to approach it, there is no consultation between our allies or opposition, neither is there any between the Chief Minister or the Governor, the consultation that takes place is only between the Chief Minister and Prime Minister. If we consult our allies or opposition, then that is illegal. The law says that the consensus is to take place between the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister.
Question: In Pakistan, people are abducted in the name of treason since the 1960s, do you think that the arrest of Manzoor Pashteen is part of the same game?
Answer: I don’t know why this decision has been taken at this time that Manzoor Pashteen sahib should be arrested, I thought that the series of political arrests should be shifted towards the problems of the people instead to solve their problems. However, on every occasion, this government has not been able to tolerate a little criticism be it about PML-N’s arrests or PPP’s. It cannot tolerate a small jalsa or dharna, like I said, their dharna is democracy and our dharna is treason.
Question: When will political parties go on the roads to protest the lack of food and shelter for the people?
Answer: I believe that from the first day PPP has been struggling for this and whatever political activities I have had are very strongly related to this economic aspect. We will further increase its speed, we will focus more on it, and the will raise these problems from among the people. As far as the working relationship of opposition parties is concerned, I do think that there has been no coordination —–inaudible——. We think that why were we sitting in so many committees when there were none called on such an important issue, nor did you tell us that you already had decided. However, I think that it is very important for all political parties to work together to solve the problems of the people. Insha Allah, we will work on this. Thank you very much.

Media Office of the PPPP

Musawat Building,

Zero Point

Islamabad

Ph: +92-51-2202824, 2202837

Fax: +92-51-2202835

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