Retract ‘Sindh card’ remarks or resign, Bilawal to Qureshi
PPP chairman slams Qureshi for speaking about ‘proving political mettle’ during pandemic
KARACHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday demanded that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi should either retract his statement about his party using provincial politics against the Centre or step down from his post.
The PPP chairman said he was being accused of using the Sindh card, but he had raised the issues of Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa or Gilgit-Baltistan as well.
“Am I playing the provincial card even then?” he questioned while addressing a news conference in Karachi.
A day earlier, Qureshi while speaking in the National Assembly had accused the PPP lawmakers of using the ‘Sindh card’ instead of exhibiting national unity amid the coronavirus pandemic and also criticised the party during the Senate session on Tuesday.
He demanded that the foreign minister’s statement was unacceptable and either he should retract it or resign.
“The minister's comments are a ‘slap on the face’,” he maintained. "What do you [Qureshi] mean by saying that you will prove you political mettle in Sindh? Is this the time for that?”
Bilawal further said this was not the time for running political campaigns. “We are not thinking about proving our political mettle in Punjab during this pandemic. We are not thinking about winning the elections. We only want to save the lives of the people of the country.”
The PPP chairman said not everything was about politics and such statements during a crisis should be avoided.
When he [Qureshi] was our minister, we know who approached him and fuelled his dreams of becoming a future prime minister of the country,” the PPP leader said.
18th Amendment overshadows Covid-19 in NA session
Bilawal regretted that he had offered the federal government to set aside political differences and work together to tackle the pandemic but in return he only received flak and verbal abuse from the highest level against his party and the Sindh chief minister.
The PPP chairman also vowed to thwart any move against curtailing provincial autonomy, saying the federal government wanted to roll back the 18th Amendment on the pretext of the pandemic.
“We [Sindh government] are being victimised because they [federal government] wanted to use the 18th Amendment as a bargaining chip,” Bilawal added.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in the country, federal ministers have criticised the PPP-led Sindh government over its handling of Covid-19, blaming the 18th Amendment, which guarantees financial and administrative powers to provinces, for the Centre’s inability to effectively implement its coronavirus measures across the country.
Bilawal said the federal government lacked the majority in parliament to make amendments to the Constitution but “if the Centre makes any such attempt we are ready to resist them at all available forums”.