Panama Papers: Bilawal wants ‘democratic accountability’ of rulers

Published: November 21, 2016
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LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has demanded ‘democratic accountability’ of the rulers on the Panama leaks issue and counterterrorism efforts going on under the National Action Plan.

Talking to the media after visiting Data Darbar on Sunday, Bilawal said the government had not yet accepted any demand of the PPP proposed through the Panama Papers Bill, but hoped the government would meet them before December 27.

The PPP chairman also demanded ‘accountability’ of counterterrorism activities going on under the National Action Plan.

“Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan should be questioned in-camera for his failure in implementing the National Action Plan in true letter and spirit.”

He reiterated his demand for reconstitution of the parliamentary committee on national security to measure the performance of counterterrorism efforts.

Bilawal also demanded accountability of the country’s foreign policy. “Pakistani soldiers were being martyred at border, but the prime minister and the foreign minister were not taking any action.”

Answering a question about PTI chairman Imran Khan, Bilawal in a light tone said, “He wishes his ‘uncle’ well”.

Meanwhile, PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira said: Bilawal will not take a “U-turn” if the PPP-sponsored ‘Panama Papers Bill’ is not passed.

“The party can go to any extent, including a long march against the government, to make those accountable whose names have been leaked through the Panama Papers,” Kaira told a news conference on Sunday.

Kaira said the government had already agreed on three points of the bills, but the PPP would never agree on any piecemeal arrangement. “The party will announce its strategy on December 27 from Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.”

He said the PPP wanted to develop consensus among opposition parties on the Panama leaks as no political party could independently build pressure on the government to make rulers accountable.

“The party was never in favour of moving the Supreme Court on the Panama leaks. The PPP believed across-the-board accountability was impossible without proper legislation, he maintained.

Kaira said CPEC was originally initiated by the PPP under the leadership of its co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

“Originally, the PPP envisioned the CPEC as a game changer for underdeveloped areas, like Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and southern region of Punjab, but the incompetent rulers had ruined the whole spirit of the project and caused friction among provinces.

“The PPP was not against development in Lahore, but it wanted to bring underdeveloped regions on par with developed areas of the country.”

“Development is a powerful tool that can make or break people. The fall of Dhaka is a result of imbalance in development and a great lesson for Pakistan,” he maintained.

Responding to a question, Kaira said ‘good governance’ of the present government could easily be judged by the appointment of Sindh Governor Justice (retd) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, who is infirm and can hardly take a step independently.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2016.

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