KARACHI: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday reiterated his party's stance that the PPP "has always supported democracy", but demanded that the prime minister step down. "Accountability is part of democracy. We always supported democracy, not inds.believe in superiority of parliament & Rule of law. NS must go," tweeted Bilawal on Saturday. Bilawal in a statement said that "Go Nawaz Go" rallies in Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan planned by his party were just the beginning.
According to a statement issued by the PPP, Bilawal appreciated the party leaders and workers from southern Punjab "for launching the salvo against Nawaz Sharif and his coterie who have caused immense damage to the image of democracy and democratic credentials".
"Nawaz and company have proved that politicians grown and groomed in dictator's laps had joined politics for their ulterior motives instead of serving the nation and the country," he said.
Bilawal said that resignation was the only way out for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and asked him to stop weighing in other options of confrontations with the institutions to save his financial crimes and mega corruptions.
"Is it not this shocking that each family member of Nawaz Sharif fattened their assets by an average of 16.6 during a single and his second year 1991/92-1992/93 in the Prime Minister House as per the Panama JIT findings," the statement quoted the PPP chairman as saying.
He said Nawaz Sharif had himself promised that he would step down if any evidence comes out against him, but now he was reluctant to do so when a box full of evidence had been made available.
He said that the PPP workers would not stop "Go Nawaz Go" sloganeering and rallies across the country until Nawaz Sharif was forced to resign by the people of Pakistan.
The PPP chairman appealed to his party and the masses to hold rallies in each district headquarters and tell the "outgoing prime minister" that 200 million Pakistanis were up in protest against him and wanted him to leave office immediately.
Earlier, senior PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said that his party would ensure that democracy was not harmed. He further said that the PML-N did not need to worry about the democratic process being halted, saying, "We are here for saving democracy."
"We and the people of Pakistan are the guardians of democracy," he said.
On Wednesday, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman while rebutting reports that the two parties were in contact had said that "it is true that we try to protect the system... but right now the system is under threat from the government".
On the other hand, opposition leader in the National Assembly, Syed Khurshid Shah said that Nawaz Sharif's decision of not resigning in the wake of Panama Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report posed grave threat to democratic polity.
"When democratic system was under threat from dharna (protests) back in 2014, we stood by the prime minister to save the system, but PM Sharif is threat to it now," Shah said.
Responding to JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman's statement, he said, "We supported the primer minister back then for the sake of democracy and now demand his resignation in the best interest of the system."
The JUI-F chief had urged the PM to stand his ground on the resignation demand and was critical of the opposition leader for pressing the PM to step down.
Since the release of the damning report of the JIT about the Sharif family's businesses, the clamour for his resignation has grown louder.
While categorically rejecting the JIT disclosures that he and his family were involved in money laundering, the premier vowed not to resign and contest the allegations against them in the Supreme Court.
Published in Daily Times, July 16th , 2017.