Islamabad     -    Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that despite dozens of references filed against his father, former president Asif Ali Zardari, only one case has been filed after the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) disclosed its findings.

He regretted that his father and other members of PPP were the victims of a media trial despite the fact that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had no evidence to prove them guilty. Bilawal was talking to media outside the NAB court here on Friday after the hearing of the case against former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. He was flanked by his party leaders on the occasion.

“They are trying to pressurize us by leveling false accusations. Zardari had remained imprisoned for eleven and a half years without any conviction,” the PPP chairman said, and added, “He is ready to bear their pressure tactics even today.” Bilawal said categorically that Zardari would not compromise on his ideology and principles like before, and that PPP would continue its democratic struggle. “They can put as much pressure on us as they want and arrest as many leaders and workers, but the PPP will not compromise on 1973 Constitution and the 18th Amendment,” he said emphatically.

PPP chairman was of the view that the ‘selected’ government’ as well as its ‘selectors’ were worried because the PPP was not allowing them to roll back the 18th Amendment and surrender the rights of Sindh province.

“Everyone has seen how Imran Khan and his government have been exposed in front of the people. The man, who used to talk about justice and the rule of law, has not only put his political opponents behind the bars, but their women as well,” he said, and added, “He promised to provide 10 million jobs, but has made thousands of young people unemployed in one year instead.”

Bilawal further said Imran had also promised to build five million houses, but had razed million of houses to the ground and had not provided a single house to those rendered homeless. “This government is a liar and a hypocrite, which has usurped the economic and democratic rights of people.

This government has made the parliament redundant. People are drowning in the tsunami of price hike and have sunk in the quagmire of taxes. The business community is so much worried that it had to approach the Army Chief to convey its concerns,” he said, and added, “This has set a very bad precedent that everyone from now onwards will go to the army chief instead of the prime minister for resolution of problems.”

He said every institution of the country had a defined role. “Our army and intelligence agencies are supposed to deal with the conspirators against the country. If Imran Khan asks them to look after economy, elections and foreign policy, how will they be able to protect our borders and fight against terrorism?” Bilawal queried.

“So it is essential that every institution should remain within its domain and does the job assigned to it so that we can solve people’s problems. It is unfortunate that Imran has undermined the role of parliament. Similarly, production orders of MNAs are not issued, and we are forced to protest to push the speaker National Assembly to issue the orders,” the PPP chairman lamented.

He said he had discussed the same thing with Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday. He said there existed a consensus among all political parties that this government had come to power as a result of rigged elections, and therefore, it would have to go. “Maulana Fazalur Rehman has announced 27th October as the date for his Azadi March and sit-in in Islamabad,” he said, and added, “So we have also called our party meeting to deliberate how we could help Maulana in this regard.”

Bilawal said PPP would continue its struggle and by the end of this month, after the public gathering in Shikarpur, the party would make its presence felt in south Punjab. “When PPP will be in the field for the rights of people, then no power will be able to stop it. PPP has always fought for the rights of poor growers, labourers and common people,” he claimed.

Responding to questions by media persons, PPP chairman said his party would support the struggle started by Maulana for democratic rights of people. “The party will, however, deliberate on the question of sit-in,” he told reporters.

He said that his personal five bills were pending in the parliament so it was possible that PPP would also be pushed to take to the streets and take extreme action. “It is the right of every citizen that he will be tried in the same jurisdiction where the crime was allegedly committed, but sadly cases against our leadership have been transferred to Rawalpindi,” He expressed surprise.

He said what was so special about Rawalpindi that former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in this city, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in this city, and now the cases against PPP leadership were being heard in the same city.

Responding a question, he said that discussions with other political parties on election reforms were continuing. “We think that reforms are essential before the next elections,” Bilawal said.

He said that PPP had always advocated that Panama leaks issue be resolved in parliament. “But unfortunately, neither the PML (N) nor the PTI supported us,” he deplored.