In a recent press briefing following the conclusion of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) two-day Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting, the party’s Chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, emphasized that the adversities faced by Shehbaz Sharif’s faction in the 2018 elections were a direct repercussion of their 2013 conspiratorial actions against the PPP.
Zardari accentuated that an effort was undertaken in 2013 to exclude the PPP, a representative of Punjab’s marginalized class, from the political arena. He insinuated that this was facilitated by significant figures such as the former ISI director general, Lt Gen (retd) Pasha, ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhary, and a notable political faction.
Election Dynamics and PPP’s Stance
He further expounded on the manipulation seen in the 2018 elections, alluding to a collaboration involving Lt Gen (retd) Faiz, ex-CJP Saqib Nisar, and possibly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led by Imran Khan. Zardari expressed his dismay at the apparent disinterest shown by Nawaz Sharif towards the Sindh province and condemned the targeted vilification of the PPP.
Dispelling notions of the PPP’s limited presence, Zardari clarified that the party maintains a robust nationwide presence, transcending the confines of a single province. “PPP has roots in Punjab and enjoys a substantial presence across Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar, and Karachi,” he said.
He further expressed his readiness to exhibit his 16-month tenure’s accomplishments to the public, urging a swift scheduling of the upcoming elections.
Addressing Legal and Constitutional Matters
On being questioned about the Supreme Court’s recent verdict on NAB amendments, Zardari acknowledged that although he hadn’t scrutinized the decision in depth, the outcome aligned with the party’s expectations. “We maintain that NAB, a brainchild of a dictator, should be abolished,” he remarked, demonstrating the party’s resilience in facing potential graft cases under existing or revised legislations.
Earlier in the briefing, Zardari recited a resolution approved by the PPP’s CEC, urging the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to promptly declare an official election date to mitigate the prevailing political instability. This demand is anchored in constitutional requirements, he stated.
Furthermore, the CEC advocated for immediate economic relief for the populace grappling with soaring inflation and unemployment without taking measures that could potentially undermine Pakistan’s macroeconomic stability.
Zardari also highlighted the recent flood crisis in several regions, calling for immediate financial aid to be dispensed through the Benazir Income Support Programme. The party reiterated its solidarity with the Christian community affected by the unrest in Jaranwala, expressing discontent at the Senate’s resistance to a resolution on this issue. The session concluded with a voiced concern about the escalating rates of terrorism and the country’s deteriorating law and order situation.