PM’s ‘sahiba’ comment has sent a wrong message to women: Bilawal

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Thursday said Prime Minister Imran Khan ‘only insults himself when he passes comments such as sahiba’, a private TV channel reported.

“Referring to a man as a woman does not harm the man, but what sort of message does this send to the women of Pakistan? That our prime minister is saying that being a woman is an insult?” Bilawal asked while speaking to media here outside the Parliament House. “This is Pakistan and here women stand shoulder to shoulder with men. If there was no Fatima Jinnah, had Pakistan been formed? If there was no Fatima Jinnah, who would have opposed Ayub?” he asked.

“We were the first Muslim country to elect a woman as prime minister,” the PPP chairman continued. “We are proud of the women of this country. We think they should be given space in politics, economy and society,” he said. “If Khan Sahab thinks that by passing a comment like this he is insulting anyone, he is only insulting himself,” he asserted. “He is this country’s prime minister and he should hold his tongue,” he added.

Commenting on statements that the prime minister referring to him as ‘sahiba’ was a ‘slip of tongue’, Bilawal said, “The amount of slip of tongues by this prime minister is more than the speed of light. Slip of tongue should not happen because it insults the entire nation. So many slips of tongue happen when we have a selected PM,” he said, and appealed to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to travel with the prime minister so that such slips of the tongue can be avoided.

Regarding the current economic situation, Bilawal said, “People are drowning in a tsunami of inflation. In every industry, there is unemployment. Inflation has risen so much that life has become difficult for Pakistanis.” “How can this government say inflation is not an issue? Inflation is worrisome for every Pakistani and it is the government’s job to provide relief to the people,” he stated. “Why should we be happy if loans are leading to prices being raised? Can the poor people be given amnesty and relief? The government will eliminate subsidies to provide relief to the rich,” he continued. “If there is no relief for the people in the budget, they will come out on the streets themselves,” he warned.

“There cannot be two Pakistans in this country. These are oppressive rulers and do not care for the people. The nation can take your oppression till a limit,” he said. “The party which was known for its use of social media cannot tolerate a tweet from a political party or a journalist now,” he added.

Bilawal said the PTI-Led government rejoices every time they are being granted a loan or are given an investment but the money is being brought in at the cost of people’s employment. He said the amnesty schemes will only give relief to the elite but will not yield any positive impact on the poor. He claimed that any deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will be unconstitutional without the approval of the National Assembly.

In response to a question, Bilawal said the PPP never supported the presidential form of government and will not let PTI make any changes to the 18th Amendment. “We did not accept one-unit system before and won’t accept it now either. If attempts are made to bring in one-unit system or presidential system, then I am warning you, the country will be split,” he stated. “The government should do its work and stop politics of containers and rallies,” he added.

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