Hyderabad - Hitting out at government over inflation and alleged usurping rights of provinces, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday said Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised a Naya Pakistan but it turned out to be more expensive Pakistan.
He was speaking in Hyderabad where leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had gathered for its latest power show against the government. Bilawal was joined on the stage by JUI-F Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and other opposition leaders. A massive crowd had gathered at the venue to hear the leaders speak, many waving PPP party flags. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who has delivered fierce speeches against the government at previous PDM public meetings, did not attend the gathering as she was with her daughter who recently underwent a surgery after suffering head injuries in a road accident. PML-N Vice President and PDM secretary general Shahid Khaqan Abbasi attended the public meeting and addressed the crowd.
In his speech, Bilawal alleged that prime minister had refused to accept Sindh as his province and asked: “If Sindh is not a province of the prime minister, then whose is it?”
He claimed that Sindh had been given Rs160 billion less than its due share last year and was being given Rs200b less this year.
He said the “incompetent” and “illegitimate” government had brought a tsunami of inflation with it and food items like wheat and sugar were beyond the people’s purchasing power. “Imran promised to bring a Naya Pakistan [but] it turned out to be a more expensive Pakistan. This is only because these illegitimate rulers were installed on us.”
Bilawal said farmers in the country were protesting and they were not being paid for produce such as tomatoes and onions because the government preferred to import instead of buying from them.
Abbasi lambasts govt for rising prices, unemployment
Bilawal alleged that government also sought establishment’s help to ‘handle media’ on its behalf, as well as to get its budget passed, deal with disgruntled friendly nations, getting the FATF legislation passed, building consensus on the issue of GB, and for the upcoming Senate elections.
He emphasised that the PPP’s narrative was that “every institution should do its work and leave politics to politicians and trust the people of Pakistan” Addressing the rally next, PDM president Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the public meeting was being held to “restore free air of democracy”. “This is a movement and will reach its destination,” he said. “Our workers too will continue struggling; as long as this government has the strength to continue making waves, my workers will have the strength to keep swimming, we are not people who are tired.”
Rehman said the PDM wanted the establishment to be objective and welcomed the army statement that it did not have any relation with politics. Accusing the government of having “bankrupted” the country, the PDM chief asked the government how it would provide 10 million jobs when it “[did not] have the money to pay government employees”. Speaking about the upcoming Senate polls, Fazl claimed that “a big plan” was being made for rigging the elections in the same way as 2018. He said the government was confused and had first announced an amendment for open Senate polls before the matter landed in the Supreme Court. “I would request the court not to make itself a part of this. They themselves have said the Constitution is silent on this, which cannot be broken by anyone other than the parliament. What is being done today appears to be a plot against the courts to me,” he added.
Fazl also lashed out at the government over inflation, saying: “They say Covid-19, I say no, Covid-18. I am here to get rid of 2018’s corona.” Criticising the government’s accountability drive, he said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was an institution established by the “army and [former military ruler retired Gen Pervez] Musharraf” only to lodge cases against politicians.
“God willing, we will make this government and NAB helpless. Even their father will not be able to do our accountability until this government’s accountability is done.”
Earlier, PML-N’s Abbasi lambasted the incumbent government for rising commodity prices and unemployment.