Not third umpire but people matter in democracy’

Apr 27 2019
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ISLAMABAD: Only the people of Pakistan are the umpire and their will matters and not of the third umpire in the democratic process, said PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari here on Friday.

“The undemocratic forces or non-state actors would wish a thousand times to bring a system of their choice, but all conspiracies against democracy would be foiled,” he said while talking to reporters after a dialogue with parliamentarians for implementation of legislation to protect the fundamental rights.

The dialogue was arranged by the Asma Jahangir Legal Aid Cell together with the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC). Bilawal said some elements in the government and undemocratic people were talking about presidential system and rollback of the 18th Amendment. “The people of Pakistan are satisfied with the Islamic democratic parliamentary system,” he added.

He said the PPP and all democratic forces will resist moves to bring presidential system in the country. “Presidential system is onlyin the United States while it failed everywhere. Wherever it was imposed, it resulted into dictatorships or authoritarianism,” he added. To a question about the referendum, the PPP chairman said holding a referendum on presidential system would be illegal.

Replying to a question about the possibility of bringing a system for accountability, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said NAB was the brainchild of a dictator and it was a black law that was only framed for political blackmail and used for political engineering.

 

“The PPP believes there should be across-the-board accountability and anyone who draws salary from the national exchequer should be accountable be he a general or a judge,” he said. “The PPP government has only taken U-turns so far and did no legislation in parliament. It seems the ruling party has no interest in running parliament,” he said.

He, however, said right now it would be impossible to bring an entirely new system. “We will try to bring the NAB under the rule of law as much as we can. If the government is ready for this, then we are ready to talk to them,” he said.

Responding to another question, he advised the government against making the Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project controversial. “The government should ensure no compromise on the project. We won’t let the government make any compromise in this regard,” he said.

He said the government had recently transferred CPEC funds to its parliamentarians and it was a controversial step, as in the past they had termed development funds for parliamentarians’ corruption.

“Khan Sahib in the past called these funds for MNAs and senators as corruption but now reneging on his own words, he has transferred CPEC funds to the PTI parliamentarians,” he said.

He expressed the hope that the government will take the Pak-China friendship to further heights and avoid making it controversial. He said the PPP government had successfully completed the Thar Coal project under the CPEC that would also benefit the whole Pakistan.

“We will provide power to entire Pakistan,” he said. To another question, he said Sardar Akhtar Mengal had delivered a meaningful speech in the National Assembly but it was blacked out. “The issues raised by Sardar Akhtar Mengal in his speech, be these of missing persons, terrorism or human rights, are 100 percent issues of Pakistan and Balochistan,” he said.

He said Sardar Akhtar Mengal was also a member of Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly. PML-N parliamentary leader Senator Mushahidullah Khan said many issues were discussed in the forum where senior lawyers developed consensus on many issues. Praising Bilawal, the PML-N senator said he was happy to hear his views on the issues.

 

“Bilawal has to serve the country and his views are democratic, moderate and commitment to the law,” he said, adding, “It was encouraging that the young leader holds such views, as he is leading a political party.”

Senator Usman Kakar said during the session issues like missing persons, supremacy of parliament, media censorship, controlled democracy, Election Commission, military courts and others came under discussion and consensus reached on some of the issues. Member of Asma Jahangir Foundation Ms Munize Jahangir said the government representative had also been invited but nobody turned up. TheNews