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Zardari Ready To Talk To Nawaz

The Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians  (PPPP) President, Asif Ali Zardari, on Sunday termed Imran Khan a select prime minister and hinted at mending fences with ex-premier Nawaz Sharif.

Zardari said all the political parties needed to jointly bring a resolution against the government, predicting that it won’t be able to function for long.

“Imran cannot run the government or his party,” the former president said while addressing a press conference here after a meeting of the People’s Lawyers Forum. Attendees at the event also passed a resolution, the contents of which, among other things, stated that the incumbent government’s incompetence has been laid bare in a short time. Zardari claimed the PPP delivered in its five years of government.

Responding to a question, the former president said that he never benefited from the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) and that all the cases against him were reopened. He said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) might have benefited from the deal.

The NRO, passed by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in 2007, granted amnesty to politicians and other individuals by quashing various corruption and criminal cases against them so they could return to the country and engage in the democratic process.

When asked about the reasons of annoyance with Nawaz Sharif, Zardari said Nawaz Sharif was responsible for whatever his happening with him. But at the same time, he did not rule out the possibility of holding talks with Nawaz Sharif, saying that despite all these issues, talks can be held with the ex-premier.

Asked about the remarks of Imran Khan that conspiracies were being hatched against him, Zardari said Islamabad is the centre of conspiracies. When asked why the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were criticising the NAB Chairman Justice (R) Javed Iqbal though he was appointed by both the parties, the former president said he was a good person, but his thinking had changed.

“When some people are given important offices, there manners change completely and they show their mentality,” he said. Zardari said when he was the president, despite having all the powers, he transferred powers to the parliament.

When asked whether he was satisfied with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in fake bank accountsscam, Zardari restricted himself, saying that so far they were only calling the servants.

Zardari said when Pervez Musharraf took power, then there was the same economic situation, but he benefitted from the 9/11 incident and got the foreign aid. “But when the PPP came to power, at that time all the aid had already dried up, but we accepted the challenge and stopped the depreciation of rupee and adopted futuristic policies,” he said, adding that the PPP’s futuristic polices were not liked by Nawaz Sharif in his tenure.

Zardari claimed the PPP gave the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and many other programmes to Pakistan during its tenure. “We have to decide whether Pakistan is an agricultural country, agro-industrial or industrial country. When we took charge we raised the support price of wheat and the next year we were able to have exportable wheat,” he said.

Zardari said the PPP had delivered on many areas, but the “select prime minister’ used the helicopter for travelling between his home and office. “Law should be the same for everyone. For the ‘select prime minister’, it was being said that he should regularise his house in Banigala, while the homes of common people were being demolished,” he said.

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Government seems totally clueless about the economy: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Islamabad, 20 October 2018: Reacting to the increase in gas prices, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said this government seems totally clueless about the economy. “This government has no sense of direction when it comes to the economy. Those who claimed that they will break the begging bowl and announced that they will not go to the IMF are now asking for the biggest loan in Pakistan’s history,” says Bilawal Bhutto.

Chairman PPP added that the PPP government faced the worst economic crisis when it came to power but we still managed to keep the inflation rate low as the PPP does not believe in putting the poor at risk.

“The current government has given us nothing but inflated prices of basic necessities. Global oil prices were at $148 per barrel but we did not increase prices,” says Bilawal Bhutto.

Chairman PPP questioned this government’s intentions as the only thing the PTI government has done is to make the lives of the nation more difficult. “Those who claimed that they will give relief to the nation are actually snatching away the rights if the poor people. It is apparent that PM Select has done no homework.”

Chairman Bilawal Bhutto pointed out that these policies could lead to an economic meltdown as there is a probability that inflation rates could go up to 14%.  He said that Imran Khan’s ‘Naya Pakistan’ is turning out to be a nightmare for the people of Pakistan.

“This government has promised to build five million homes but it seems as if they will take away everything from the poor.”

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Democracy in the country is due to martyrs of Karsaz-Asif Ali Zardari

Islamabad, 17 October 2018: Former President of Pakistan and President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians said that democracy which was restored after sacrifices of hundreds of martyrs is once again under threat. Asif Ali Zardari paid glowing tributes to the martyrs of Karsaz tragedy in a message on the anniversary of the disaster.

On 17th October 2007 the caravan of democracy led by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was attacked at Karsaz in Karachi but hundreds of loyal democrats saved their leader but lost their own lives.

Former President said that because of the supreme sacrifices of these martyrs democracy was restored in the country and dictatorship was defeated. Today is the day to pay rich tributes to those martyrs who defeated the extremists and terrorists’ design. It also showed that terrorists and extremists are the enemies of the nation. More than three million people came to welcome their leader on the roads of Karachi on that day and displayed that they support the ideology of Quaid-e-Azam, Quaid-e-Awam and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as they wanted Pakistan to be a democratic, peaceful and prosperous country.

Former President said that the PPP government during 2008-2013 restored 1973 constitution, made Parliament supreme, provinces were given sovereignty and people of KP and GB were given their identity.

Asif Ali Zardari expressed his resolve to defend parliament elected by the people of Pakistan.

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Justice delayed is justice denied-Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari

Islamabad, 16 October 2018: Secretary General Pakistan Peoples Party Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari has said that the entire Pakistani nation is waiting for justice with Bhuttos.

In a statement Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari talking to delegations at his residence said that the truth must come out and it is necessary to hear the reference sent by former President Asif Ali Zardari with regard to judicial murder of Quaid-e-Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

SG PPP said that Justice Nasim Hasan Shah admitted on television that the conviction was due to the pressure the judges were put under. Now is the time to put right the wrong done to the Bhutto family.

He said that the nation is disheartened by the release of accused of Shaheed Mohtarma Banazir Bhutto’s murder. Mr. Bukhari said that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s petitions should be heard soon in this regard. Nation feels that Bhuttos never got justice and the petitions of Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari should be heard soon as justice delayed is justice denied, Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari concluded.

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Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Conference on late Asma Jehangir in Lahore on Sunday.

Bismillah ir-Rahman Nir Raheem,

Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a privilege and honor to be here in remembrance of Asma Jahangir.

She was a friend to my mother, a mentor to me and an inspiration for all the believers of democracy in Pakistan.

Asma Jahangir is synonymous with democracy, rule of law and human rights. Her voice could be heard when many others fell silent.

She continued to feel the pain that others grew accustomed to.
And till the end, never stopped pushing back. Fighting the good fight.

From bonded labourers, to women in abusive marriages; from victims of religious persecution to the sanctity of the will of the people- no fight was too big, no case too small for Asma Jahangir.
Her absence is felt more acutely now than ever before as a “selected” government desperately seeks to undo democratic gains made by Pakistan. The media is under assault and is facing the unprecedented censorship. Human rights are endangered today and rule of law and due process have been discarded in favor of rhetorical populism. Theatrics have triumphed over substance.

But it occurs to me that though Asma is no longer amongst us. Her ideals and her voice can not be allowed to die. They must resonate through you, through me, through us all.

Asma Jahangir was a warrior for a democratic, progressive, inclusive, modern and pluralistic Pakistan. If she was present here, she would never have left this despotism go unchallenged; and neither shall we.

Today our democracy faces serious threats. Not only from unelected forces but also from “so-called” democrats. I believe it was the Honorable Chief Justice who said,
“We know as a matter of historical fact, that democracy has always been a highly endangered specie in Pakistan. It has often fallen to the ground under assaults launched by anti-democratic forces waving the banner of ‘basic democracy’ or ‘true democracy’. These assaults have in the past been made by military dictators. But it should never be forgotten that the forces of authoritarianism need not always be in uniform. Democracy more than anything else is a cast of mind, a respect for the opinions and decisions of plurality of ordinary citizens ….”

The supremacy of the parliament and the sanctity of the constitution are under relentless attack. We still await clarity on the blatant manipulation of the 2018 election and for the uneven playing field which resulted in the imposition of an incompetent government.

A government which is attempting to address grave challenges to the economy by “chandanomics”, ignoring entirely that their lack of policies and consistent U-turns have not only failed to inspire confidence, but have in fact put this nation on a speedy track to further economic instability.
It was the PPP which strengthened the Federation of Pakistan and it is the PPP which will defend and strive for a more vibrant and stronger federation. We, the people, who believe in the ideals of a federal, democratic Pakistan must come together and resist any nefarious designs to undermine this.

Let us not forget how the 18th Amendment sought to protect the Constitution and rule of law on the one hand, and strengthened the federation, on the other.

It has done away with the powers of the President to dissolve, at whim, the Parliament, the symbol of the collective will of the people.

It has conferred upon the provinces due rights over their resources for which they were agitating for the past 6 decades.

It has restored the balance in the distribution of fiscal resources between the federal government and the provinces by a more equitable NFC Award. Instead of making population as the sole criteria, backwardness of a province and other factors have also been given weightage.
I should therefore like to warn against any attempt to roll back the 18th Amendment or the NFC Award.

The PPP will stoutly and resolutely resist any such move. Let there be no doubt or mistake about it.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Civility and democratic norms in politics have been replaced by hysteria and abuse.

This government has neither the will nor the capacity to deliver on the false promises made during its campaign.

The rule of law is the soul of a democratic system. The judiciary has the responsibility to inspire confidence that justice will be done, that everyone will be treated fairly and that fundamental rights will be upheld.

Sadly, in the past, our judiciary has failed to inspire this confidence.
Millions of people wait for their cases to be heard while the justice system appears focused on trivialities, rather than dispensing justice.

I am a victim and a witness to the inequalities of our justice system.

As a child, I remember accompanying my mother to visit my father in jail; my father was imprisoned for eleven and half years’ despite being innocent. My grandfather’s judicial murder remains a blot on the history of our judiciary. I still wait for justice for my martyred mother.

The PPP has faced trials, tribulations and victimization throughout its history, however, we have remained steadfast and, unlike others, we have never ransacked the Supreme Court.

The PPP has sacrificed lives and has borne the pain of confronting tyranny to build a just society and I being my mother’s son, will continue to do so, InshaAllah.

Although, this justice system has failed me like it has failed millions of Pakistanis, I will continue the struggle for an equitable, constitutional and fair justice system where the courts decision is based on the law and not politics and where trials are free and fair and not reduced to witch hunts. We must have a system that focuses on prosecution and not persecution.

I am heartened by the words of one of Pakistan’s most eminent jurists, who, in a note he penned, warns against, and I quote,
“A vehicle for judicial aggrandizement of power at the expense of the elected representatives of the people. On the conceptual plane, it is devoid of merit and amounts to little more than a vessel into which the Judges can pour whatever economic, political or social theory as may their fancy or whim at any give time…

Constitutions in free societies are made by the people, for themselves and through their chosen representatives…
It is for the chosen representatives and no one else to act in such matters. Why should that power not be exercisable by such representatives in their collective wisdom, and why should its exercise be at the mercy of unelected Judges? The decisions of elected representatives have been wrong and have occasionally brought us close to disaster. Is the record of the judiciary that much better? The elected representatives at least need to have their mandate renewed periodically. What of Judges, who in any polity are the least accountable branch and in Pakistan in particular are, in a quite literal sense, a closed brotherhood?…

The constitution does not end (it certainly did not begin) with the Judges, and the courts would do well to remember that. Every institution and each organ of the State has its own role to play. That realization and acceptance ensures that the constitutional balance is maintained. The Court should not do anything that unbalances the Constitution. It should never assume in its own favor that it is the ultimate arbiter in all constitutional matters.”

These insightful words by our Honorable Chief Justice Saquib Nisar, in his additional note on the petition on the 18th and 21st Constitutional Amendment case give me hope that sanity will prevail.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The legal fraternity has always been the first line of defense against the undemocratic forces be it against the autocratic rule of Zia-ul-Haq or the dictatorship of Musharraf. It is the bar that holds the judiciary accountable and is the first to point out deviation from the path of constitutionalism and rule of law. And Asma Jahangir led the bar with incredible courage and unimpeachable integrity to also hold the judiciary accountable.

Seldom before has the need for an accountable judiciary been felt as strongly as it is felt today.

Whether it is the appointment of judges or the division of powers between state institutions or the vast but un-restrained powers under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution, there are issues that need to be looked into and questions that need to be answered.

An accountable judiciary is not a political slogan nor is it a manifestation of politicians seeking to expand their own powers. It is for upholding the majesty of law and the dignity of courts.

History has taught mankind the wisdom, that the greater the power, the greater the need of restraint and greater the need for accountability.

Ladies and Gentlemen
The leaders of the bar must now pick up Asma’s mantle and resist again today, the erosion of rule of law, the undermining of democracy, and the shrinking of Human Rights, as she did in the past.

Today we are only democratic in name, the mindset, the tactics bear all the hallmarks of autocracy.
The legal community has a special responsibility to resist any attempts to undermine the spirit of the constitution.

The objective of the present government is to establish a fascist one-party dictatorship; where criticism is treated as a crime and where democratic opposition is threatened with intimidation. However, dear friends, no amount of victimization and coercion will weaken our resolve and our commitment to democracy.
When democracy and constitutionalism were under threat, Asmas’ voice was always the loudest. And now there is a deafening silence.

Asma Jahangir was guided by the belief in fundamental rights of life, liberty, due process and equal opportunities. As the son and political heir of SMBB, I too, hold these principles as my shining light and hope to live up to them.

The best tribute to Asma Jahangir is to follow in her footsteps and fight for constitutional supremacy, equality and democracy.

This is a debt that we owe to SMBB and to Asma Jahangir and InshaAllah we will succeed, lest we be left at the mercy of dangerous duffers.

Rest in Peace, Asma Jahangir

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Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed deep grief and sorrow over the sad demise of renowned journalist Shaikh Aziz who passed away on Sunday.

In a condolence message to his son Tariq Aziz Shaikh, the PPP Chairman said that late Shaikh Aziz was a professional and outstanding personality whose dedicated services in the fields of journalism, literature and history will remain an asset for the future generations.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage and fortitude to the members of bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss with equanimity.

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Bilawal Bhutto condemns brutal torture on Peshawar University students

ISLAMABAD, October 4: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has strongly condemned brutal police torture on the students of Peshawar University and asked the government not to avenge its continuous failures and U-turns from the students and youth.

In a statement issued here, the PPP Chairman said that holding peaceful protest for their rights was a democratic right of the students and subjecting them to such cruel treatment by KPK Police was an intolerable act for any democrat.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed solidarity with the Peshawar University students demanding that all the detained students should be freed forthwith and their fees should be reduced to make education affordable for every student aspiring for the professional higher education.

PPP Chairman also asked for better medical treatment to the injured students and an strong action against those responsible for torture on students.

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Bilawal says govt behaving in a childish manner

ISLAMABAD: Chairman, Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday said the Parliament is not “some container” and there is a huge difference between leading a sit-in and the government.

Expressing his opinions during a debate on the mini budget in the National Assembly, the PPP chairman said, “I had a lot of expectations regarding ‘Naya Pakistan’s’ first budget, however, it made no mention of the government’s 100-day plan.”

“Even Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) voters are disappointed today. Those voters are disappointed who voted for one Pakistan and not two,” he added.

The PPP chairman further questioned, “Where are those one million jobs?”

“Development, health and education budgets were cut although you [PTI] had promised to increase the budgets for health and education,” Bilawal upheld.

“Where is the government’s 100-day development plan,” he further asked.

Stating that improvement in provision of health was promised but the budget for it was cut, Bilawal said, “The budget does not reflect the promises the government had made.”

Bilawal further said that farmers are facing difficulties and despite promises no water scheme was announced.

“Increase in prices of electricity and gas makes life of the poor difficult,” he asserted.

“They [government] said that they will neither beg nor take loans, but what is happening now?” he asked.

Bilawal demanded that the Parliament be apprised regarding the steps being taken to remove Pakistan’s name from Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) grey-list.

“Leading the government is different, you should do politics in a wise manner and draft policies. You have to take wise decisions and not take u-turns,” he added while advising the government.

Further, Bilawal said that the government needs to realise that its decisions affect millions.

“This is a Parliament and not some container,” the PPP chairman asserted.

“Who will explain to the government that an economy does not depend on funds, politics is not done through hurling abuses and countries are not run on magic,” he concluded.

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Ready to go to jail during PM Imran’s term: Bilawal

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari continued his strongly worded criticism of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf government on Thursday.

Speaking to the media at the Parliament House, he said he was ready to face prison if that was the cost of speaking truth to power in the PTI government’s term. He said PPP leaders were imprisoned during Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf’s governments, and they were ready to go to prison during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s term as well.

“We served prison sentences during Zia and Musharraf’s time and are ready to do so in PM Imran’s term as well,” the PPP chairman said.

Lashing out at the government, Bilawal said, “This is a selected government with a selected prime minister and selected ministers.”

He also criticised the mini-budget presented by the PTI-led government, and said it was unjust to the poor. “PTI vowed to make a common person’s life easier after coming into power but injustice has been done with the poor through the budget,” he said, “The budget only benefits non-filers and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ATMs.” Bilawal also regretted that the increase in gas and electricity prices is adversely affecting the poor.

Published in Daily Times, September 28th 2018.