HYDERABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced that he will embark on the protest campaign against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government from June 10. He told party leaders and workers at Peoples Secretariat in Nawabshah on Thursday that in the first leg of the campaign he will begin mobilising the people for protest.
"Whether it be the movement for restoration of democracy (MRD) or some other movement, PPP workers must ensure vigorous participation. The workers will also play an active role in the movement against the selected government."
He termed the PTI government enemy of the poor of Pakistan. "The amnesty scheme has been introduced for the rich people," he said referring to the government's tax amnesty scheme. Under the scheme, tax evaders can legalise their illegal assets by paying 4% tax.
Bilawal recalled that his grandfather, former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave sacrifice for the 1973 Constitution and his mother, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto led the political struggle for democracy and supremacy of the constitution for 30 years before she was martyred. "The constitution is once again under threat from all sides. But the PPP will defend this Constitution till the last drop of its blood."
PPP has been blaming PTI for attempting to undermine provincial autonomy which was restored in the Constitution through the 18th Constitutional Amendment. The central government is accused of eyeing control of the provinces especially Sindh's natural resources.
Bilawal also exchanged Eid greetings with party workers at Zardari House and visited his family's graveyard. Bilawal's father and PPP Co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and his two sisters were also in Nawabshah.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while speaking to the media in Sehwan on Wednesday deplored that former PM Nawaz Sharif was not allowed to meet his daughter Maryam Nawaz and other family members on Eid in jail. He said prisoners are allowed to meet their families on Eid days. "This didn't even happen during dictatorships what's been done to Maryam Nawaz," he lamented.
Responding to a question about the arrest of Zardari and his sister, MPA Faryal Talpur, Shah said he is unaware about the arrest of some big figures. "But I know very well that the people of Pakistan have been arrested by inflation."
He said the Sindh government wanted to provide relief to the people in the upcoming provincial budget, praying in the same breath that the federal government collects taxes according to the targets. The CM claimed that the Centre has made a cut of Rs170 billion in funds which were supposed to be transferred to Sindh.
He deplored that for the first time in Pakistan two Eids were celebrated including one by the federal government and the other by the KPK government. He contended that differences between PTI's central and KPK chapters were made evident by that development.
The CM said that an all parties conference will be organised after Eid. He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F), will also soon announce their joining of Bilawal's protest campaign against the PTI government.
Replying to a query about Governor Sindh Imran Ismail's rejection of the amended police law, Shah said the bill will be sent to the provincial cabinet followed by the provincial assembly. "The assembly will decide whether the bill will be passed or not."
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2019.