KARACHI: PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday criticised the PTI government’s “hypocritical policy” over former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his health.
“The government sent Nawaz Sharif to London itself and has now adopted a hypocritical policy in this regard,” Bilawal said. “[Prime Minister] Imran Khan should not lie to or cry in front of the people; he sent Nawaz to London himself.
“How can you say Nawaz is a criminal? If he was a criminal and if [Imran Khan] believes that he is a criminal, then why did he let him escape?”
“The government has adopted a hypocritical behaviour over Nawaz Sharif’s health,” he added.
The PPP chair said the PM should stop pretending to save the government.
‘Not interested in corruption cases’
Bilawal also spoke of the ongoing cases of corruption against the Opposition politicians. “We know that they are not interested in the corruption cases,” he said, adding that the prime minister’s motive was to continue his “puppet-show rule”.
“Imran Khan’s puppet-show rule sometimes strangles the media and sometimes usurps the civil society’s the freedom of expression,” he noted.
“His system is to defend his puppet-show rule,” the PPP boss said. “When Mian sahab [Nawaz Sharif] did not listen to the voice of the Parliament, we raised our voices.
“Mian sahab is not in power now so there is no need to oppose him,” he noted.
Strike a new deal with IMF
Bilawal also slammed the incumbent government over its economic policies and the rocketing inflation. “Through PTIMF, Imran Khan engages in economic murder of the public and, at other times, takes U-turns.
“The anti-people, anti-Pakistan PTIMF should rip apart the deal and the government should hold talks with the IMF again,” he demanded, adding that the Khan administration should come up with an economic policy that was beneficial for the people.
“The government should not bargain on Pakistan’s economic independence,” Bilawal noted, emphasising that the economy should mean a reduction in the inflation rate.
“The government had earlier said it will not approach the IMF. It should now opt for a new agreement from the scratch,” he added, saying he wished to bring all political parties to one platform against anti-poor policies.
“We raise our voice for the people’s rights and we will continue to do so.”
Criticism ‘neither treason nor sedition’
Bilawal also addressed the role of the civil society, as well as of the NGOs, saying it would have been advantageous for PM Imran if he had maintained good relations with them.
“I praise the civil society for unmasking the PTI-IMF alliance,” he said. “The civil society’s role is quite important; it’s tragic that that role has been reduced.
“The government’s inabilities led to the NGOs’ role becoming so limited. These NGOs are engaged in welfare work and they speak up about human rights. The government wants to control the NGOs and the civil society,” he underscored.
“Constructive criticism is neither treason nor sedition; in fact, it helps steer the government in the right direction,” the PPP chair noted, adding that his party had always welcomed it.
Had the premier maintained good relations with the NGOs and civil society, he would have benefited, Bilawal explained. “The state should tolerate different voices, not suppress them,” he stressed.
The FBR, he underlined, had itself said the inflation rate had risen over the past 15 months. However, “the government’s goal at the moment is only to return money to the IMF”.
Hope from intra-Afghan dialogue
On Asif Zardari’s health, he said his father’s condition worsened because he was not provided medical facilities in the prison but that his treatment was underway.
On missing persons, the PPP leader said his party had raised its voice for them since day one. “We should emulate other countries on the topic of missing persons,” he said.
With regard to the recently signed Taliban deal, Bilawal said if there was any hope, it was from the intra-Afghan dialogue, not the United States. “It seems like there is a Trump campaign behind it.”
The Afghan people have long been fighting extremism and terrorism, he added, saying he hoped now that the US-Taliban peace deal would bring betterment for them.
“I have hope for peace and stability from the intra-Afghan dialogue.”