LAHORE: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari hinted at his party’s likely parting of ways with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on Monday when he said that his family had always struggled for upholding the law and Constitution and it was not in his nature to enter power from the ‘backdoor’ and thereby they ‘were never selected’; rather it was the family from Lahore that has the track record of always being ‘selected’.
He was replying to the media with Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq with whom he held a meeting heading a party delegation during his first visit to Mansoora Monday night in connection with getting JI’s support for PPP candidate for Senate opposition leader’s slot. Both sides also discussed matters of mutual interest, including electoral reforms and the coming election of Senate opposition leader.
Bilawal refrained from replying when asked to comment on a tweet of PML-N Vice-Chairman Maryam Nawaz Sharif in which she had hinted that a substitute was being prepared to replace the ‘current selected’ who had badly failed. Bilawal said he would not comment on PML-N’s vice president and would rather ask PPP’s vice president to comment.
To another question, he asked ‘whose idea it was to link the long march with resigning from Parliament when only ten days were left. It should have been decided when the decision for the long march was taken’, adding that PPP had become fully prepared for the long march and rooms had also been booked in Islamabad. He told a questioner that PPP had always taken the stance that Senate elections and by-elections must be contested since it was the only way they caused damage to the government. “Those whose stance of boycotting the Senate polls and by-polls proved wrong should now review their decisions”, he added.
Bilawal said long march should not have been postponed, adding that the issue of resignations was to be discussed at the forum of party’s CEC.
To a question, he said, democratic traditions all over the world backed the candidate of the second-largest party in the House for the slot of opposition leader. He said our stance was that Yusuf Raza Gilani had won the elections. He told a questioner that across the board accountability was part of PPP manifesto and he fully stood by it. He said the way in which Maryam Nawaz was summoned has opened the doors of criticism over NAB, adding that the situation in Punjab and in the National Assembly was fully ripe for tabling no confidence against the government.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said PPP was ready to work with the JI with an open heart on a number of issues. He said both the parties had a similarity of stance on a number of issues including electoral reforms, accountability and the Kashmir dispute, and both the parties had never joined the game of becoming selected.
To a question, he said, PPP had always stressed on electoral reforms, adding that JI could play a historic role in consultations with other parties and bringing them round for those reforms.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said NAB only targeted the opposition, requiring the opposition parties to work jointly. He said PPP from the first day had said that NAB was an institution created by a military dictator, and as a result of its one-sided accountability the corruption had become multiplied under Imran Khan government. He said every Pakistani citizen was being drowned in the tsunami of price hike and said his party would work with JI on the basis of issues.
Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari backed the JI ameer Sirajul Haq’s suggestion for initiation of national dialogue among political forces on the issue of election reforms. “The JI could play a historic role because of its neutrality and acceptance to both government and opposition camps,” he said.
He said the PPP also agreed to the JI stance that the country needed an across the board system of accountability. But, he added, his party had no trust on the present anti-corruption watchdog because it was extremely biased and its unconstitutional status as it was established by a dictator. He said Sirajul Haq was right when said the PTI government damaged the Kashmir cause, hence there was need to develop a joint strategy for the liberation of Indian occupied Kashmir.
Earlier, Sirajul Haq along with JI Secretary General Ameerul Azim, JI naib ameer Liaqat Baloch and others welcomed the PPP delegation. Both sides discussed the current political situation and other matters of mutual interests in the meeting which continued for more than one and half hours. The PPP delegation was comprised of Senator-elect Yusuf Raza Gilani, former prime minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Saeed Ghani and others.
Talking to the media, Sirajul Haq said JI is a democratic party and believed in dialogue among the political forces.