Nawaz, not democracy, under threat: Bilawal

* PPP chief says deposed PM wants to play role of the opposition despite being in government

Nawaz, not democracy, under threat: Bilawal

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Friday said that there was no threat to democracy and the system in the country.

"The only threat is to Nawaz Sharif himself," he told a press conference at the Bilawal House.

The PPP chief said the former prime minister only recalled democracy when he was no longer in power. "Otherwise, Nawaz Sharif pays no heed to the Charter of Democracy and other such agreements when he's the PM," he said.

"It appears a drama to me," Bilawal said when asked about Nawaz Sharif's attempts at creating a narrative about a conspiracy against him while addressing supporters during his 'homecoming' rally.

"Had you taken up this narrative from the beginning, things would have been different. But it appears that you want to hide behind the oppression of [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto shaheed and Bibi [Benazir Bhutto] shaheed," he said. "It seems he , despite being in government, wants to play role of opposition … but we will not allow him to do so."

Bilawal said he will not make any contact with PML-N, and will not even pick their calls or go to any of their meetings. "They are on their own," he said.

"PPP has never supported the PML-N but we always came forward to lend support to democracy," Bilawal said on whether his party will support Nawaz in his post-disqualification struggle.

Responding to another question, Bilawal said he believed that there should never be any cross-institutional interference. "What is the role of the establishment or the judiciary in the Panamagate issue?" he asked. "It is a bit disingenuous to link the two. The establishment did not plant the Panama Papers story."

While criticising the judiciary and the ex-premier for the latter's criticism of five honourable judges, the PPP chief said that it appears that contempt of court applies only to the PPP. "It is upsetting to see that he [Nawaz] is doing contempt of court in every speech."

Bilawal hoped that the PPP will return stronger in the upcoming general elections, irrespective of when they are held.

Responding to a question, the PPP chairman said that there is no possibility of 'minus-one' formula in the PPP. "We weren't allowed to campaign before the last elections but this time my father and I both are in the field and it's a different situation altogether," he claimed.

Defending the recently-introduced accountability law in Sindh, Bhutto said that the right to legislate on the matter had been transferred to provinces after devolution of powers. "When Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has the right to bring its own accountability bill, why do we not have the same right?" he asked.

He also assured that the new law in Sindh would be much better than the National Accountability Ordinance.



Published in Daily Times, August 12th 2017.