Published On: Sat, Jul 6th, 2019
Published in Category: Peshawar

Bilawal slams govt over rising inflation

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday criticized Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for rising inflation in the country. Bilawal announced to launch countrywide drive to expose the government.

The PPP leader addressing a press conference in Peshawar Press Club said that economic policies of the incumbent government have made the life of masses more miserable.

“Pakistan going through difficult times, the economic situation of the country becoming worse day by day,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto said that some members of the federal government are still giving statements against the 18th amendment. He vowed that PPP will protect the 18th amendment at any cost.

“PPP ready to bear any kind of pressure but will not comprise over the ideological principles,” he said, adding that PPP would not change its stance on freedom of speech and parliament.

He further said that opposition parties are united over the name of chairman Rehbar committee. Bilawal said that PPP has nominated Yousuf Raza Gillani for the Rehbar Committee chairman.

“All opposition parties should show unity over the Senate Chairman issue,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto announced a countrywide mass contact drive to “expose the government” and said the people will have to struggle for their democratic, human and economic rights.

He termed the current political situation in the country “a reversal of democracy”. “We are on a reverse course. Today, people and media do not have as much freedom as they did during the tenure of the PPP,” he said.

Bilawal also criticized the government for acting like an opposition.

“Who will rule when both the government and the opposition are acting like the opposition?” he asked.

He said that for the first time in the history of the country, over the last decade, a civilian government had shifted charge to another civilian government. He credited the PPP for the transition and said that it was a success that the parliament remained intact.

“Though a very weak one, but the parliamentary system is still working. It is a success of democracy,” he said.

He regretted that the country is facing hardships because individuals are being focused instead of institutions, and because “extremism is given space in elections”.

“If a free and fair election is not held, people lose hope in the democratic order and let their anger out in other forms, which are harmful to the society,” he warned.

Bilawal Bhutto expressed resolve to protect at all costs the 18 Constitutional Amendment, promulgated during his party’s last tenure.

He further said that his mother, Benazir Bhutto, had struggled for 30 years to restore the 1973 Constitution in its original spirit and the PPP had managed to fulfill her vision in the shape of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

The PPP chairman said that the amendment is now being targeted as some quarters are making efforts to reverse it. “Our selected prime minister issues statements against the 18th Amendment,” he said.

The PPP will not compromise on the 1973 Constitution and the 18th Amendment, he said, adding, “You can send my entire family and the entire party to jail but our struggle will continue.”

“The PPP believes that democracy is the solution of all issues,” he said, adding that he believes society needs an atmosphere of political freedom. “Our selected prime minister is unable to run the country, he cannot become a role model,” he concluded.

“I will expose hypocrisy of this puppet government in a series of anti-government rallies throughout the country,” the PPP chairman announced.

“We fought against dictatorships of Zia and Musharraf with the help of press clubs and God forbid if we have to fight against any other dictator, then I know that PPP and all press clubs of this country will stand together in this fight.

“We’ll have to struggle for democracy like we did during dictatorships as people’s basic rights are not protected under this government’s rule.”

The PPP chairman said that for the first time in the country’s history, elected governments and civilian parliaments completed their terms in the past 10 years, adding that it is believed that if the democratic transition is completed for a third time, then the anti-democratic forces and dictators would find it very difficult to attack democracy and become illegitimate leaders of the country again.

Despite serious concerns over the 2018 elections, parliament’s resilience not subdued under severe pressure is considered as a victory for democracy, Bilawal said, adding that his party’s timely action of convincing other political forces of the country to become a part of parliament and the democratic process, avoided a constitutional crisis in the country.

“No matter how weak the current system may be, it is still a democratic system,” he said. However, we have paid a high price for Imran Khan to become the ‘selected prime minister’. By doing so, we have set wrong precedents, we have told the youth that might is right. We let extremism to flourish during election campaign. We focused on personalities rather than policies, and individuals more than institutional building.

“However, whatever expectations we had for this weak government, they haven’t been made. Whatever is happening in the country is not democratic progress, but reversal of democracy. We are moving backwards; people don’t have same rights they enjoyed during PPP’s government.

“Today, media doesn’t have the same freedom, parliament doesn’t have the same strength; today, democracy is not strong enough, and today, we have compromised on our basic human rights.”

The PPP chairman said the PTI government is doing opposition’s politics rather than working for masses. “And if the government and opposition both will play opposition then who will rule the country? Who’ll govern the country? This will drift the masses away from democracy.”

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