Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has once again hit out at the government, saying there are serious allegations against the newly-appointed Minister for Interior Ijaz Ahmad Shah over his alleged involvement in the murder of foreign journalist Daniel Pearl.
“What kind of message are you [Prime Minister Imran Khan] trying to send to the international community with such a federal cabinet,” Bilawal remarked while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly on Monday.
Pearl, the South Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, was kidnapped on January 23, 2002 from Karachi, and later beheaded by his captors.
Without naming them, the PPP leader claimed that certain members of the federal cabinet were facilitators of terrorists and had links to banned outfits.
In the same breath, he urged the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to remove all ministers who had “ties with proscribed organisations”.
Bringing Premier Imran into his line of fire, Bilawal said: “You [PM] can’t hide your own incompetence by reshuffling your federal cabinet.”
As if it was not enough, the PPP chairman went on to say that the government must give an answer to the people over the ouster of finance minister Asad Umar. “He [Umar] has left the economy in tatters with the inflation skyrocketing.”
Bilawal also questioned the incumbent government: “What was the use of reshuffling these ministers and putting the same people in those positions who served in the previous governments?”
He added, “The selected prime minister’s government has unravelled in only eight months despite the tall claims that were made when he came to power.”
The PPP chairman said Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had also been deemed as enemies of the state. “But we all know they were the real patriots of the country.”
Bilawal criticised the government’s policies, which he said led to difficult economic situation for the people.
After he concluded his speech, the opposition members moved towards the treasury benches and disrupted proceedings of the house.
Due to constant commotion, Speaker Asad Qaiser suspended the session for some time.
Later, when the session restarted, Minister for Power Umer Ayub made a few remarks about the opposition leaders, saying Zulfikar Ali Bhutto used to call Field Marshal Ayub Khan his daddy.
He criticised the PPP for appointing Hussain Haqqani as ambassador to the United States, who was not a patriotic Pakistani.
At this stage, the opposition stood up and started shouting. The speaker, who was chairing the session, adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday.
(additional input by APP)