• Mon. May 22nd, 2023

No talks until PTI apologises for May 9 attacks: Bilawal

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks during a joint session of parliament on May 15, 2023. — Facebook/NationalAssemblyOfPakistan
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks during a joint session of parliament on May 15, 2023. — Facebook/NationalAssemblyOfPakistan

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister and Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Monday said there won’t be talks with the PTI unless its leaders apologised for torching the Jinnah House.

Addressing the joint session of parliament, he said the unprecedented events of May 9, including the attack on the GHQ and Jinnah House, were deplorable.

“The country’s issue is not whether Imran Khan has used the washroom or not, but that the people of the nation are braving difficult economic times. They don’t care who is the prime minister but who helps solve their problems. This is the PTI’s last opportunity to decide whether it wishes to be a political party or not,” Bilawal said.

He urged the institutions to work within their constitutional ambit so that the government could concentrate on resolving the issues of the poor people.

“In 1986, over three million people gave a warm welcome to former prime minister Benazir Bhutto despite the fact that the then President General Ziaul Haq was in power. Benazir Bhutto did not use the occasion to incite violence against Zia. The PPP has faced various incidents over the years but refrained from resorting to violence.”

Bilawal said the PPP did not oppose the elections, as they believed that Imran Khan could be challenged through a fair election, and that the ruling coalition would contest and defeat him.

He said the incumbent coalition government candidates had already defeated the PTI chief and its candidates in several by-elections.

He said the history would always remember that when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was martyred, a PPP Jiyala had set himself on fire in protest but did not harm the state’s property.

Bilawal said they shouldered the coffin of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto for the sake of country and democracy.

“The slogans raised on that day were met with President Zardari’s pledge of ‘Pakistan Khappay’. I raised the slogan of ‘Democracy is the best revenge’ after burying my mother. We could direct the people to Musharraf, the killer of the people’s leader. Had Asif Ali Zardari not raised the slogan for unity, had we sought vengeance, could Pakistan survive? Would we be sitting in this Assembly today?”

“Today, Imran Khan is criticising the same NAB he was once so fond of. Had someone from our side been involved in such a case, we would have been behind the bars without a second thought.”

“The history will remember that our chief justice reacted by saying ‘Good to see you’ instead of condemning the attackers of the Jinnah House and GHQ and taking a suo motu action,” he said.

Speaking in the House, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif demanded the constitution of a parliamentary committee to investigate the incidents of undue support to the PTI Chairman Imran Khan by what he said a group of the apex judiciary and send a reference to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) under Article 209 of the Constitution.

“It is high time that the Parliament asserted its supremacy and play constitutional role when a group (Jatha) in the Supreme Court is on the back of an accused of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and a political group,” he said.

He regretted that the judiciary also changed the structure of the Constitution by rewriting 63-A to benefit a specific person while three-time elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified in 2017 only for receiving salary from his son.

Khawaja Asif also quoted from an example of Islamic history when a judge on seeing Hazrat Umar Farooq (R.A.) stood to honour him and seeing that gesture, he de-notified him. “In our country, the chief justice is welcoming an accused of the NAB by saying ‘good to see you’,” he said.

“When I raised this issue, the business tycoon called me and said, “Khawaja Sahib leave it, what are you doing?”

He said Imran Khan could also have investigated this case during his government but he did not, as he knew that this was a fake case.

“Now they (PTI leaders) were talking about the sanctity of the house. Why they did not protect the sanctity of the houses of Maryam Nawaz, Faryal Talpur and other women during their government?”

He said the court decision was leaked through a video of Tariq Rahim, adding that this was a mockery of the justice system. The paper was leaked a day ago, which disgraced the justice system.

He urged that the parliament should exercise its powers under the Constitution and take action against the injustice saying the purpose of all that action was that Justice Qazi Faiz Isa should not become the chief justice in September.

Other party leaders, including Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar, Ahsan Iqbal, Akhtar Mengal, Raja Riaz, also spoke on the occasion.

The National Assembly Monday unanimously adopted a motion seeking formation of a special committee to file a reference against the chief justice of Pakistan and other judges with the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for their misconduct and deviating from oath.

The motion seeks constitution of the special committee under Article 209 of the Constitution on the grounds of misconduct and other facts available against any judge of the apex court.

The motion, moved by Dr. Shazia Sobia, was adopted by the House. The members included Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, Khursheed Junejo, Shehnaz Baloch, Salahuddin and Salahuddin Ayubi.

APP adds: The lawmakers strongly condemned attacks by the PTI workers and activists on the Jinnah House and Radio Pakistan Peshawar building besides damaging the public and private properties in various parts of the country and demanded that Imran Khan be tried under the Army Act.

They said the PTI made the entire country hostage by creating anarchy and commotion and deserved no leniency.

Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz Ahmed termed Imran Khan a ‘fitna’. He demanded that a case should be registered under the Army Act against ‘Fitna Khan’.

He also urged the chair to adjourn the House proceedings for 10 minutes or play the national anthem several times in solidarity with the armed forces and Pakistan.

Salahuddin of MQM-P said the anti-state elements deserved no leniency and those involved in attacking and damaging the public and private properties should be tried under the Army Act.

He demanded a strict action against ‘Fitna Khan’ and his supporters after registering cases against him.

Salahuddin Ayubi of JUI-F demanded the government declare PTI as a terrorist organization and ban it. Abdul Qadir Mandokhel of PPP said Imran Khan should be nominated in the attack on Jinnah House, he added.

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