Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Monday his party could topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)led federal government "within a week", a claim quickly belittled by Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry.
The minister demanded of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah to resign but Bilawal laughed off the PTI's attempts to topple the provincial government, saying that the ruling party lacked maths skills and that the numbers were in favour of his party.
The talk of bringing governments down came in the aftermath of a report by a joint Investigation team (JIT) into the fake bank accounts, which included names of PPP leaders Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Chief Minister Shah.
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"The [Pakistan Peoples] Party can topple the federal government and send them to jail within a week if Asif Zardari [his father] allows him to do so," the PPP chairman told reporters after offering his condolences to the family of slain Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Ali Raza Abidi.
"The PTI has no idea how to govern the country. They not only lack political acumen, but are weak in maths too," a confident Bhutto Zardari said. "Yes, we can do it because PTI has hardly a majority with six members in the National Assembly and its government in Punjab relies on a few votes."
He laughed off PTI's attempt to oust Chief Minister Shah and impose governor's rule in the province. "The PPP has simple majority in Sindh Assembly with 99 MPAs and they [the PTI and its allies] would need around 50 MPAs to bring an in-house change, which is not possible for them," he said.
"The PTI leadership is unwilling to see Sindh's progress that is why such tactics are being used," he said. "Nothing will happen to Sindh government," he said, as he slammed the cabinet decision to place the names of people who featured in the JIT report over the fake accounts case in the Exit Control List (ECL).
He said that there were a host of issues, like terrorism, confronting Pakistan, but "unfortunately, the federal government is giving all importance to victimise opponents". "A fake JIT report submitted recently to the Supreme Court is an ample example of the victimisation."
Terming the report a work of fiction", he said it was obvious the government was behind the report and it was seen by the government before it was submitted to the Supreme Court. "Their target is the Sindh government. Those who do not want Sindh to prosper and want to change the chief minister."
He asked reporters to attest whether there had been any report of corruption committed by him throughout the PPP tenures at the Centre and in the province. "The PPP ran federal government from 2008 to 2013. It is in the government in Sindh for many years. Have you ever heard of my involvement in corruption or interference in the government affairs," he asked.
"Fake cases had been lodged against [former president and PPP Co-Chairman Asif] Zardari in the past as well. He was acquitted then and he will be acquitted again," he said, adding that the PPP would fight all the "politically-motivated cases" in the courts.
Reacting to the PPP chairman's claim, Information Minister Chaudhry, while addressing at a press conference in Islamabad, posed the question as to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari can topple the PTI government when even his father had failed.
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He sought to dispel the impression that the PTI government was trying to oust the Sindh government by terming those reports baseless. He said that his party never spoke of imposing the governor's rule in the province.
However, he remained firm on his demand for Chief Minister Shah's resignation. "Two PTI ministers resigned after inquiries were launched in the light of allegations against them," he said, adding that the Sindh chief minister should also resign in line with principles.
Hinting at the emergence of a forward bloc in the provincially-ruling party in Sindh, the minister revealed that a few PPP members were in contact with him. "The PPP MPAs have contacted me over telephone. Therefore, [CM] Murad Ali Shah should resign, otherwise the assembly will do the needful."
The minister was scheduled to visit Karachi on Monday but "postponed" the trip just after the Supreme Court hearing went against the PTI government's stance on ongoing investigations of the fake bank accounts case.
Chaudhry was expected to meet opposition leaders Pir Pagara, Liaquat Jatoi, Zulfiqar Mirza, Fehmida Mirza and Ayaz Palijo among others during his scheduled visit to Karachi, Badin, Sukkur and Larkana districts.