HYDERABAD: Stirring the passions of the public against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf's (PTI) central government at his party's third public meeting in nine days, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reiterated the vow to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan. "I am fed up with this inept government. I will lay bare its anti-people policies and I will expose the real face of Imran," said Bilawal to a charged crowd of supporters, who kept chanting 'go Niazi go' and 'go selected go' slogans throughout his speech in Kashmore-Kandhkot district on Saturday.
He blamed Khan for leaving poor peasants and labourers to starve through the government's inflationary policies and regressive taxes which have led to massive layoffs in trade, industry, and agriculture. "Imran has isolated Pakistan in the world."
He asked the people to think what has happened in just one year of the PTI government that all segments of society in the country, including doctors, engineers, traders, labourers, farmers, businessmen, and industrialists are protesting. "What happened in just one year that India did what it couldn't dare to do in the last 70 years," he said, referring to revocation of the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir, the annexation of the valley and an unremitting curfew continuing for the 12th week.
He said the world is unwilling to listen to Pakistan's stance due to poor diplomacy of the PTI government and the country appeared to be standing almost alone in the comity of nations.
The PPP chairperson reminded Khan that he used to say that he would prefer committing suicide over taking loans from international financial institutions. "But he has ended up mortgaging the economy of Pakistan and compromising financial autonomy of the country."
He said back-breaking taxes have been imposed and the economy has been plunged into stagflation. He added that the projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor are being closed and hundreds of thousands of people have been made redundant. "I see a very difficult situation for the people in the country in the coming days."
"Is this the new Pakistan? The old one was indeed much better. New Pakistan has emerged as a nightmare for the people." He blamed the PTI government for constraining the parliament's role, silencing the media and pressurising political opponents by playing with their lives - a reference to the health condition of his father and former president Asif Ali Zardari, who is in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) custody as well as former PM and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif.
"If the volcano of the public's backlash erupts, even the selectors of Imran won't be spared. Not just me but the whole country is demanding the resignation of Imran," Bilawal warned. "We ought to raise our voice and tell the selectors of Imran in the chorus that the experiment prepared in Rawalpindi has failed. People should be given their right to rule, and the door of robbing the people's mandate and rigging the elections should be shut."
He said his father has been put in jail without conviction and his aunt, MPA Faryal Talpur, was shifted from hospital to jail on the eve of Eidul Azha by NAB. "Zardari Sahab wasn't being given required medical treatment in order to put him under pressure. When his health deteriorated and the jail administration became perplexed and the court order also came, he was shifted to the hospital [PIMS]."
Bilawal promised that if the PPP government came to the power after ousting the PTI's government, it would liberate the people of the PTI-IMF budget and restore democracy and economic growth.
Ghani assures of PPP’s full support to ‘Azadi March’
Sindh Information and Archives and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani said during a press conference on Saturday that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) does not only welcome the move to hold ‘Azadi March’ but will also participate in the procession.
The provincial minister said that PPP will welcome the participants of ‘Azadi March’ on various routes.
According to Ghani, members of PPP’s Karachi division have made arrangements to welcome the participants of the march, following which they will be received by the members and leaders of PPP in Jamshoro.
Responding to a question, he said, “It is the government’s responsibility to provide security to peaceful protests and people cannot be stopped from staging peaceful demonstrations in the name of security.”
He also called for Grand Democratic Alliance’s Moazzam Abbasi, who recently defeated the PPP candidate in Larkana by-poll, contested on PS-11 seat, to participate in ‘Azadi March’, as it has been announced by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, which supported him in the by-election.
Addressing the press conference, Ghani also criticised the federal government and Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, holding them responsible for the deteriorating health of former PM Nawaz Sharif.
“In case something happens to Sharif or former president Asif Ali Zardari, the only federal government will be responsible for it,” he said. Ghani claimed that neither Sharif nor Zardari, both of whom are in jail, is being provided with necessary facilities as described in the prison manual.
He lambasted the PM for victimising his political opponents and said that “he has surpassed Ziaul Haq in carrying out a vendetta against his rivals.” He, however, added that at least Zia had not denied the political prisoners their rights and access to necessary health facilities, unlike Khan.
Ghani demanded that the former PM be provided with all the necessary health facilities, in accordance with the wishes of his family.
Speaking with respect to the arrest of PPP leader and Zardari’s sister, Faryal Talpur, and Sharif’s daughter and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Maryam Nawaz, Ghani said that while the former was arrested to pressurise Zardari, the latter was arrested to coerce Sharif.
Moreover, Ghani also criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)- led federal government and PM Khan for “awarding all the key ministries to the supporters of Pervez Musharraf.” He said, “The incumbent government has made no attempts to bring back the dictator who blatantly violated the Constitution of Pakistan,” while on the other hand people are being sent to jail on the basis of fake cases.
He also ruled out any possibility of PPP entering into a deal with the federal government, saying, “after repeatedly being subjected to the ruthless behaviour of the Centre, there is no chance of a deal with them.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2019.