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Bilawal dismisses Shaikh Rasheed’s comments on PDM-PPP, says govt needs to implement NAP

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PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaks to the media in Thatta, Pakistan. Geo News/via The News

SUKKUR/THATTA: PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday dismissed Interior Minister Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad’s comments about the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an Opposition-led anti-government coalition, and his own party, saying there was no individual win but only victories for the people.

Rasheed had claimed a day earlier that the PPP had “won” after the PDM “accepted defeat”.

Addressing reporters’ questions over disagreements between the PDM and PPP, Bilawal said his party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) endorsed every move by the PDM. 

Decisions regarding contesting the upcoming by-elections or any other elections would be made from the Opposition coalition’s platform “with consensus”, he emphasised.

“The PDM’s win is the PPP’s win and the PPP’s win is the PDM’s win, so we are one. When the PDM wins, the people of Pakistan win,” he said.

If the interior minister and the federal government did their jobs instead of “doing politics and making noise over PDM”, then incidents like the one in Balochistan’s Machh coal mine might be avoided, the PPP chief underlined.

Implement NAP

Bilawal condemned Sunday’s incident — in which armed men kidnapped and shot dead at least 11 colliers — demanding that the PTI regime reintroduce the National Action Plan (NAP) and bring it into action.

The NAP has been forgotten ever since the incumbent government came to power, he remarked, adding that “major terrorists are escaping” and that culprits involved in the Army Public School (APS) attack were also “let go”.

“Innocent people are being left at the mercy of these terrorists. No investigations are being conducted nor is anyone being caught,” the PPP chief alleged.

PDM ‘not asking for relief’

The PPP chief made the comments during a visit to the Shirazi House in Thatta, where he, alongside Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, and Irrigation Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal offered condolences to late Syed Ijaz Ali Shah Shirazi’s brother, Syed Shafqat Shah Shirazi, on the former provincial adviser’s demise.

In response to another question about the PTI regime’s stance that the PDM was formed only to “seek an NRO-like concession” — referring to the National Reconciliation Ordinance, which both the ruling party and the Opposition coalition claim that the other is demanding — he explained that the PDM never asked for any kind of “relief”.

The Opposition coalition instead sought “democracy, a level-playing field, and an end to unemployment, inflation, and poverty”, he said.

The government only brought up the NRO when it had no answer to the PDM’s criticism but the people can “clearly see through these tactics”, he said.

‘Incompetent’ administration

He said the PTI government had extended amnesty schemes only for the construction “mafias” but was not ready to provide relief to the labourers, the poor, and the white-collar individuals. “The inefficient and incompetent administration of Prime Minister Imran Khan would be sent to home with the public’s power,” he added.

Referring to the premier’s comments on the government’s “preparation”, as well as a smooth transition between governments through briefings, he said PM Imran Khan kept”admitting” over and over again he was on training wheels with no experience of being in power.

If the premier did not have the required experience, “then he should leave his [position of] power because he has no solution to the [people’s] problems”, Bilawal said.

He added that since the PTI held a sit-in at Islamabad’s Aabpara Chowk, the PDM, too, would have to hold its protest there.

Bilawal underscored that if the prime minister and his Sindh government resigned, a political path — which included a national dialogue option — could be pondered upon.

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