Published On: Tue, Mar 12th, 2019
Published in Category: Politics

Bilawal meets Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat jail, regrets his incarceration

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LAHORE: Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that former prime minister Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif was looking quite unwell and he has requested Nawaz Sharif that the health should be the priority of everyone and we are also praying for your health. Bilawal Bhutto demanded that the government should permit treatment to Nawaz Sharif at hospital of his own choice, adding it is hoped that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government will consider this matter on humanitarian basis. He said that Nawaz Sharif said he has become the ideological and he is stick to his principles and PML-N will also remain stick to its principles. Bilawal said that he is hopeful that Nawaz Sharif and PML-N will do politics based on ideology. He said Charter of Democracy (CoD) was also discussed during the meeting with Nawaz Sharif, adding that CoD will be further strengthened and will be made active. He said that the CoD should be followed. He said that the speech delivered by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tharparkar sent negative message in the world.

This Bilawal Bhutto said while talking to media persons after inquiring after the health of Nawaz Sharif at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore on Monday. PPP Central Punjab President Chaudhry Qamar Zaman Kaira, Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Syed Hassan Murtaza, Jameel Ahmed Soomor and Syed Ali Haider Gillani were also part of the delegation headed by Bilawal Bhutto.

Bilawal said that the main focus of meeting was health of Nawaz Sharif but at some extent the overall political situation of country, performance of current government and last elections were also discussed. He said that it is not true that Maryam Nawaz has become politically silent.

Bilawal said that he will also not like to see Prime Minister Imran Khan in jail and his children seeking justice for their father.

He said that Nawaz Sharif has served the country as prime minister for three times, adding that it is duty of the government to provide best medical treatment to every prisoner. Bilawal said that there is atmosphere of war with India and we are talking democracy and human rights at different places and it becomes difficult for us that a three-time premier is present in jail and he is ill. He said that prime minister will have to take appropriate step for the health of Nawaz Sharif.

He said that it is failure of PML-N and PPP that we could not fully implement the CoD and did not work on judicial reforms. Bilawal said that the black laws included by dictatorship in our system were not addressed.

Bilawal said it was “sort of a historical day” for him as his grandfather, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, as well as various PPP workers, had served time as political prisoners in the same jail.

“I was very sad that a person who has remained the prime minister of the country three times [is again incarcerated here]. It is 2019, and yet another prime minister is serving a sentence in Kot Lakpat jail,” the PPP chairman regretted.

Bilawal said he had come to inquire about Nawaz’s health because he had heard that the former premier was unwell and over the past few weeks the PML-N and Nawaz’s daughter Maryam Nawaz had issued “concerning statements” regarding his health.

He said that though there are political differences between the two parties, the PPP and every individual should follow the cultural and religious values which dictate that a Muslim who is unwell should be visited and inquired after.

“I believe our religion and culture hold such traditions and our leaders should also first be humans and then leaders,” Bilawal said adding: “I believe that such injustice should not take place with anyone, not even with an average prisoner.”

He said that no one should be disrespected; especially when a prisoner was unwell, it is the obligation of the government and leaders to provide them with the best medical treatment.

The PPP chairman noted that an individual with a heart ailment should not be put under further stress, and described this as a type of “torture”. “I was very sad when I saw Mian sahib; he was looking quite unwell,” he said.

While noting that the PPP and PML-N have a long history and may not agree politically on certain things, when it came to health and humanity, the PPP demands that Nawaz is provided with the best treatment and added that he should be provided with whatever treatment he asks for.

“I hope the prime minister and his government think on humanitarian grounds,” the PPP chairman said.

He noted that it did not send a “good message for Pakistan” at a time when there was an environment of war with India, and Pakistan was going to places and talking about human rights and democracy.

“It becomes difficult for us when a three-time prime minister is in jail and is unwell,” Bilawal said and added that he believed that as far as health was concerned, the government should do whatever the prime minister feels is “appropriate” and added “it would be best if the government follows these things”.

In response to a question about whether the Charter of Democracy (CoD) could be seen as the basis for today’s meeting, the PPP chairman said that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had signed the CoD in 2006 and over the decades of doing politics what the two had learnt, they put the country in the right order.

He noted that the country could only function in a democracy and added that it was important to arrive at a code of conduct of how politicians should behave with each other.

Bilawal added that while the two parties had worked on elements on the CoD, it was their failure that the entire charter had not been implemented.

He said that the PPP believes that the basic principles of the CoD should be re-emphasised and the political challenges of today should also be discussed. He said solutions should be found to these challenges and while talking to other political parties in favour of democracy, a new document should simultaneously be prepared.

He re-emphasised that though he came to ask about Nawaz’s health, they are politicians and they did discuss other matters including the CoD. Later, when asked again about what was discussed during the meeting, he said that they discussed the 2018 elections and the current government’s role briefly, but the main focus was the former premier’s health.

He noted that his father had spent eleven and a half years in jail and eventually been acquitted by the courts. However, during the time he [Zardari] spent in jail, there wasn’t a single month where there were not reports that he had struck a deal with former president Gen Pervez Musharraf.

“Of course he [Nawaz] is unwell but I got no impression that there is a deal being made or Mian Sahib is ready to compromise. Mian Sahib is focused on his principles and, God willing, the PML-N will remain fixed on their principles,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto called Finance Minister Asad Umar “a parha likha jahil” (educated fool) for criticising his speech in English on the floor of the National Assembly.

Bilawal said, “The parha likha jahil Asad Umar criticised me for speaking in English. Did Umar speak in English or Urdu in the company that he used to work for?”

The PPP chairman further said it was unclear if Umar was criticising him or Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. “I could not understand if he [Asad Umer] was criticising me or Shah Mehmood Qureshi. If there was an issue with English, Shah Mehmood Qureshi used more English in his speech than I did.”

The PPP chairman added that Asad Umar also had an issue with him using the name Bhutto. “PM Imran Khan through a notification slashed his father’s name, someone should tell Umar that I write Zardari in my name along with Bhutto. Umar should not indulge in politics of hypocrisy,” the PPP chairman asserted.