Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday came down hard on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) over what he called a massive political engineering being done to suppress his party and its leadership.“NAB was founded for the purpose of political engineering and the legislation which governs the bureau’s functioning is a black law,” the PPP chairman said while addressing a press conference at the Sindh Assembly in Karachi along with former Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. He said the actions being conducted by the NAB do not take place in any democracy or society with a rule of law. “That is why my mother, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, had said in the Charter of Democracy (CoD) that NAB needed to be done away with,” he recalled, and conceded that it was partly his party’s failure that it did not bring any reform to NAB while being in power. Bilawal remarked that NAB is such an institution that even if “an angel is made its chairman, only political engineering will take place there.” “Let me once again emphasise that the NAB should not be used for political engineering,” he stressed.“Look at the benami accounts case. What is it? It’s only an attempt to induce political engineering,” Bilawal said, and questioned the rationale behind Supreme Court taking suo motu notice of such a case amid elections last year. He maintained that a suo motu is always taken over violation of human rights because of slackness in the investigation. “But in my perspective, this case does not fall into the domain of suo motu or the violation of human rights. Even if it does, this case is not slack,” he claimed. “How can you say it is slack? If this case from 2016 is seen to be not progressing, then what about the cases regarding murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the murder of Benazir Bhutto and the Asghar Khan case?” he questioned. “Why you don’t see the worst rigging in the history; you don’t see the violation of human rights; curbs on freedom of press and freedom of speech,” he asked, without naming his addressee. He alleged that taking of a suo motu notice in the case has sent the message that it is all being done for ‘political engineering’.The PPP chairman said another ‘obnoxious unconstitutional effort’ was to shift the fake accounts case to Rawalpindi. Legally there is a concept of jurisdiction according to which a trial will take place where a crime is done or where an accused is based, he said. “In this case, the FIR, accused, accounts, transactions, companies, banks, etc, all are in Sindh … what is in Rawalpindi?” he asked. “The transfer of the case is a violation of jurisdiction,” he said. The PPP supremo said making representatives of the ISI sit on this JIT is an ‘undemocratic precedent’ that not only politicises the ISI but also politicises and militarises the judiciary. “The rule of law cannot function like this,” he said. “The system cannot go on like this in this country, or in a democracy,” he added.The PPP chairman said the entire country has witnessed that injustice was done with him and the way he has been dragged into the case for political engineering. Bilawal said at a hearing, former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had announced that he [Bilawal] is innocent and his name should be expunged from the JIT and the exit control list (ECL). “But, after this the written orders came, which may have been written by someone else, and those did not include these remarks of the chief justice,” he noted. “For me, this is very absurd. I think it can only be a mistake, an innocent mistake,” he said. Bilawal said the move by NAB to arrest Sindh Assembly Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on ‘trumped-up charges’ is highly condemnable. He said in the case, Durrani was taken into custody based on an allegation and that there was no evidence of any corruption having been committed. “Raiding his [Durrani’s] house after the arrest gives the message that there was no evidence,” he argued.He said PPP cannot tolerate the way Durrani’s house was entered into following his arrest and added that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has previously condemned the way the women in Durrani’s family were allegedly misbehaved with. “I am sad to say that the chairman NAB has till today not taken any action against this very serious accusation, on this violation of human rights, on this violence against women … no action was taken,” he lamented. “This silence gives us the message that the chairman NAB condones such actions,” he added. The PPP chairman said he wants a democratic Pakistan but this cannot happen until courts are strong and independent and make decisions on their own. “Not only must justice be done, it must also be seen to be done,” he concluded.Separately, Bilawal shot back at Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry telling him to be a human first before being a politician.Fawad Chaudhry in a social media post earlier this week had termed meeting of Bilawal Bhutto with PML-N founder Nawaz Sharif as a ‘U-Turn of the century’.“U Turn of the Century Grandson of Bhutto reunion with Munh Bola Beta of Zia Ul Haq …… #PoliticsonHealthProject #CorruptionAlliance,” he had tweeted.Responding to Fawad Chaudhry, who had been his advisor in the past, Bilawal said, “If U-turns make great leaders in Naya-Pakistan your saying I am now Leader of the Century?” “Also visiting someone who is ill should be seen for what it is. Humanity above politics. Pehlay insan bano phir syasatan bano. Remember NS visit when the old Khan fell and broke his back?” he added.Published in Daily Times, March 14th 2019.