Bhutto-Zardari says alliance should drop idea of resigning from assemblies and calls on all opposition parties to work together to oust P.M. Khan
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday suggested his party may be amenable to rejoining the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance if it pursues the ouster of Prime Minister Imran Khan through a no-confidence vote and abandons the option of resigning from Parliament en masse.
The PPP, a founding member of the PDM, had separated from the alliance after its central executive committee voted against resigning from Parliament, a key demand of other component parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl).
“My demand from the first day was to bring a no-confidence motion against this government,” Bhutto-Zardari told media. “The government should be dislodged through democratic means,” he said, adding that all parties should work together to oust the incumbent rulers. He reiterated that the PPP would commence its long march on Islamabad from Feb. 27, adding that the PDM’s plan for a long march on March 23 was a “positive” development, as it would serve to add pressure on the government.
To a question, Bhutto-Zardari ruled out the possibility of moving a no-trust motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani despite the opposition being in majority in the Upper House. “Perhaps we don’t have the numbers to remove the Senate chairman. Secondly, the government will not fall by bringing a no-confidence motion in the Senate. It will not bring down poverty and price hike. If we want to bring the people out of the crisis, then we will have to get rid of Imran Khan,” he added.
The PPP leader noted that his party’s concerns about rampant inflation in Pakistan had been bolstered with the passage of the mini-budget, lamenting that the country was witnessing historic price hikes, unemployment and poverty. “The people are being crushed under this burden,” he said. However, he noted, the government could only be ousted through democratic means, and the PPP would not resort to undemocratic practices to remove it from power.
On the bill to grant autonomy to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Bhutto-Zardari regretted that opposition’s amendments were not heard regarding the bill. “This was the biggest economic attack on the country in its history,” he claimed, adding that with its passage, the central bank would now operate “under dictation” of international financial institutions and would no longer be answerable to the government, parliament, judiciary and the people. “This government has attacked our economic sovereignty and democratic liberties,” he emphasized, adding that it could pose a threat to the country’s nuclear program, as information on its expenditures could now be easily gleaned by international institutions.
Addressing a recent spike in calls on social media for a presidential system in Pakistan, he stressed that Pakistan’s Constitution had “no space” for a presidential system. He said such commentary was an attempt to distract the public from the price-hike, unemployment, poverty and agricultural crisis.