NAP stands for N-League’s Action Plan, says Bilawal

PPP chairman fears conspiracies are being hatched against provinces under the counter-terrorism strategy

Sarfaraz Memon December 27, 2015
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari waves to the crowd at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh. PHOTO: APP


Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday said that though his party strongly backed the National Action Plan the government has increasingly turned the counterterrorism strategy into a tool for political victimisation of the ruling party’s foes.

Addressing a rally in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in connection with the eighth death anniversary of his mother Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistan Peoples Party chairman claimed that the National Action Plan looks strikingly like  the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s action plan.

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“We firmly support NAP, but it should not be used for political victimisation of opponents,” said Bilawal. He claimed that conspiracies were being hatched against provinces under the action plan.

He also accused the PML-N chief, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, of having a soft spot for terrorists. “Mian [Nawaz Sharif] Sahab, how many terrorists have you arrested under NAP?”

Referring to last June’s clash between the Punjab police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek activists in Lahore’s Model Town that left more than 10 people dead, the PPP chief asked if it was an act of terrorism and ‘who backed the policemen for killing innocent persons’.

Without naming anyone, Bilawal said: “A man sitting in Islamabad is receiving funds from Da’ish and the government has not dared to lodge a single FIR against him.”

In the backdrop of the recent wrangling between the Sindh and federal governments over granting special policing powers to the paramilitary Rangers for continuing their targeted operation against criminals in Karachi, the PPP leader said the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency were being used against his party. “These conspiracies against us are not new, but I would like to make it clear that, like always, you will be defeated, Mian Sahab.”

He accused the Centre of employing ‘negative tactics to distract the Sindh  government from solving people’s problems’. “But all such designs will be foiled.”

Talking about the proposed privatisation of the Pakistan International Airlines and the Pakistan Steel Mills, he said the PPP would never allow the government to commit economic murder of the employees.

“First we shall raise our voices in parliament against anti-people policies of the government. If that does not work, we shall approach the people and then there will be ‘Dama Dum Mast Qalandar’,” he warned Centre.

On the subject of targeted killings, Bilawal said his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was killed by Gen Ziaul Haq, and his mother and PPP leaders Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were also victims of targeted killings. “My mother was a brave woman, who challenged the terrorists and laid down her life with dignity.”

Addressing the premier again, he accused him of providing terrorists with a safe haven in Punjab because ‘he is afraid of them’. The PPP chairman also lauded the efforts of the Pakistan Army for rendering sacrifices in the war against terrorism.

Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah also targeted the federal government throughout his speech. “We have passed, and are still passing, through many trying times, but nobody can bend us to their will.”

He demanded that PM Nawaz stop Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar from acting against Sindh. Addressing Nisar, CM Qaim said: “Sindh is peaceful now. Therefore, turn your attention towards other provinces.”

Meanwhile, National Assembly opposition leader Khursheed Shah once again warned of far-reaching consequences if governor’s rule is imposed in Sindh.

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Talking to the media in Sukkur before leaving for Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, he said: “I have repeatedly requested the prime minister to intervene and defuse the tension between the Sindh and federal governments, but he has done nothing.”

Senator Aitzaz Ahsan said the Constitution was quite clear on the Rangers’ issue. “The Sindh government’s conditions regarding Rangers’ powers are appropriate.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2015.


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