ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said he was “blindsided” when former prime minister Nawaz Sharif named top military leadership in a Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) rally last month, BBC Urdu reported Friday.
Reflecting on the PML-N supremo’s move to name military leadership in his Gujranwala speech, Bilawal told the foreign publication that it was the former premier’s personal decision.
Admitting being blindsided by the speech, Bilawal hoped Nawaz would soon reveal evidence to support the statement. “We avoid such comments during public gatherings. No one person can be held responsible for bringing Imran Khan to power,” he said.
Bilawal said the incumbent government has lost the trust of the masses and blamed it for rising inflation and the current economic crisis. “The country is going through a difficult period,” he said, adding that a progressive democratic force is the only way out.
“Even a weakened democracy is much better than dictatorship,” he asserted.
The PPP chairman said his party’s fight for democracy was three-generation strong. “We are pushing for civilian governance and a strong democracy through democratic channels.
Bilawal said the “kidnapping” of Sindh Inspector-General Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar as well as the arrest of PML-N leader Capt (R) Safdar Awan from a Karachi hotel are both matters under investigation.
He added that there had been no further correspondence with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on the Karachi incident. “I am confident the investigation will be completed,” he said, demanding that those responsible should be identified and punished. “I am patiently waiting to be informed about the inquiry.”
“The PDM demands the formation of a fact-finding commission to investigate the role of the establishment during democratic regimes,” Bilawal said.
“The commission should also probe the establishment’s role in the formation of the incumbent government.”
Bilawal termed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise to make Gilgit-Baltistan a province ahead of the November 15 elections as “rigging”.
He said the premier and his party cannot be trusted due to their “U-turns”.
“Imran Khan breaks all his promises. He promised to make South Punjab a separate province within the first 100 days of his government,” the PPP leader recalled. “But he didn’t.”
Bilawal said his party will table a constitutional amendment in the Parliament on GB’s provincial status.
In response to Bilawal’s comments, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and Nawaz Sharif’s spokesperson Muhammad Zubair said that the experiences of PPP were different from that of the PML-N.
The PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb stated that whatever Nawaz Sharif had said in his speech during the PDM rally was based on facts. She said Bilawal’s statement shows his own point of view.
On the other hand, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said that Bilawal’s statement clearly proves that he does not trust Nawaz Sharif.
“These contradictions prove that PDM is nothing but a group of power-hungry politicians, working together to serve their personal interests,” he said in a tweet.
Shibli said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have rejected the hollow narrative of the opposition. He pointed out that the successful PTI meetings and public acceptance in Gilgit-Baltistan was a sign of confidence and electoral victory under the leadership of Imran Khan.
The minister contended that like other parts of the country, including Gilgit-Baltistan in the national mainstream of development was Imran Khan’s vision and promise.
Meanwhile, in a statement in reaction to Maryam Safdar’s speech in Gilgit-Baltistan, the minister said her speech was as usual devoid of decency and reflective of defeat. He added she made mention of turncoats and rigging.
“As far as the turncoats are concerned, I may remind her that her father Nawaz Sharif was the creator of lotacracy and had established the first factory in Changa Manga,” the minister maintained.
The minister said the PML-N was in power in Gilgit-Baltistan for the last five years and it was facing defeat in the upcoming election because of poor performance.
“Likewise, I ask Bilawal you also had your government in Gilgit-Baltistan for five years, and what you will do now for people there, which you could not. People have rejected both PPP and PML-N in Gilgit-Baltistan,” the minister said.
Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in Senate Sherry Rehman said the PPP is fully committed to the PDM programme on a common agenda.
Sherry Rehman said on Twitter that there was absolutely no change in the PPP’s political position from the comprehensive joint resolution put out at the all parties conference. “We will continue to host and attend and play our full role in the alliance we helped build,” she said.