Zardari, Bilawal assail one-sided accountability

KHAIRPUR/Larkana    -  Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday assured Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) workers that their leadership would not be threatened or ‘brought down’.

"No one can scare your leadership," Zardari told party workers while addressing a gathering in Ghotki on Friday. The sitting was organised by Provincial Minister Ali Nawaz Khan Mahar. Zardari said a nation aware of its (constitutional and human) rights could not be threatened.

Talking to newsmen in Larkana, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari blasted the one-sided accountability process, criticising the government for not moving against Aleema Khan, Imran Khan's sister, and  Naeemul Haq.

Zardari began his speech with a jibe aimed at the federal government. “I am speaking in Urdu because those who reside in Islamabad appear to be deaf, mute and blind,” he said.

Referring to the 18th Amendment, he said the PPP government had given provinces their due right in natural resources. “The law was passed unanimously by the Parliament. Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have the same rights as Sindh.”

“The gas and gold mines do not personally belong to me. We have chartered public-private partnerships. PPP’s philosophy stands for the rights of poor people,” he said.

Zardari stressed that applying the same model in Punjab, KP and Balochistan will “unite Pakistan”. “Pakistan becomes stronger when citizens are content – when they enjoy their rights and prosper,” he added.

“If you are disappointed that you could not rig elections in Sindh the way you did in other provinces, you can try again,” he challenged the incumbent government. “We are prepared for the battle.”

The former head of the state also said that the party had chosen to stay in opposition despite winning elections. “We come into power to serve people not to serve ourselves.”

The PPP supremo said that the partial accountability drive will not scare him or his partymen.

In Larkana, Bilawal said said he would not make any compromise on the 18th Amendment to the constitution and also denied that his party seeks any NRO from government.

The PPP chairman, while reacting to the government’s decision of placing his name on the no-fly list alongside his father, aunt and others, said that they were “not the ones to run away”. Bilawal said, “We are not scared of ECL and notices. We are not the ones to run away, but we are those who sacrifice their blood. Puppets will run away but not Bhuttos.”

He said that the joint investigation team’s (JIT) report was false and consisted of a bundle of lies. He also said that his father, Asif Ali Zardari, was put behind bars for 11 years, but “even then we did not run away.” He further said that if Zardari is arrested, the party will contest the case through legal means.

Bilawal said that his party would support the parliament if it amends the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law and called for across-the-board accountability. “National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) is for dictators, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Aleema Khan and PCO judges but vendetta is only for opponents.”

Bilawal said that party leaders neither wanted an NRO nor would they seek it, adding “we would take up issues in and outside the parliament and launch a struggle for democracy and the people”. He said that no forward bloc would be created in PPP and such blocks were only made in the minds of their opponents.

ilawal criticised the government for not moving against Aleema Khan and Naeemul Haq, demanding across the board accountability in the country. He said the "puppet government" has usurped basic human rights of people and undermined the federation.

The PPP chairman also hinted at launching a protest movement.




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