Chairman-Pakistan-People’s-Party-(PPP)-Bilawal-Bhutto-Zardari-continues-playing-an-active-role-to-forge-a-national-consensus-for-dealing-withMocking at Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s claim of providing relief to the masses in the national budget for the financial year (FY) 2021-22, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said on Thursday that on the one hand the government has announced that a labourer would get Rs 20,000 every month while in the same breath, it has levied taxes of Rs 700 billion. In a statement, he wondered that still the present government has the cheek to tell people that the country is progressing. “Seventeen per cent reduction in the common man’s income and 25 per cent hike in the prices of food items just in the last one year is the real face of the government’s much-trumpeted tabdeeli,” he commented. Bilawal said it is strange that in a country where one out of every three children is suffering from malnutrition, ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government has levied 17% sales tax on milk and allied products. “This 17 per cent sales tax amounts to the murder of our children,” he remarked. Bilawal said hike in the prices of petrol, electricity, flour and other items of daily use following the announcement of the budget would lead to such a backlash from the people that it would be impossible for the prime minister to stop it. He accused the government of stifling the opposition only to hide the facts of what he called ‘anti-people’ budget from the masses. He cautioned the prime minister not to remain in the illusion that he would evade accountability. “We will continue to make public each and every detail of the money bill,” he concluded. Meanwhile, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said parliament is under attack in unprecedented ways. “Make no mistake, so is democracy. Telling truth to power has always been a challenge but today it is under threat in dangerous ways,” she said on Twitter. In her speech at a convention on the attacks on judiciary and media in Pakistan, she warned that a ‘storm is coming’. “The first and last blow of the storm is also on journalism,” she said. Rehman and several other politicians, lawyers, journalists and civil society members expressed their grave concern over the state of the media and judiciary in Pakistan during a convention, ‘Assault on Media and Judiciary’, hosted by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and Supreme Court Bar Association in Islamabad on Thursday. PPP’s Farhatullah Babar called for everyone to raise their voice against a ban on raising public awareness. He was referring to the government’s newly proposed media ordinance, the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) Ordinance 2021. “When consciousness disappears from society, it ceases to exist morally,” Babar said, adding that today’s war is a war to raise awareness in society. “Today’s war is a war to keep the moral existence of society alive,” he said, adding that this war cannot be fought by an individual, civil society, or political party alone. He emphasised on making a collective effort to keep the moral existence of society alive. PPP leader Raza Rabbani, too, called for unity against the restrictions being placed on the media and judiciary. “This is not a time for complaining. It is a time for unity and harmony,” he said, adding that this time has to be used properly. “When the state becomes fascist, the system is destroyed,” Rabbani said.