ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday alleged that the country was being run by “fascists.”

Speaking at a news conference here, Bilawal said the rulers had negated the basic principles of democracy and were suppressing the opposition.

The PPP chief was flanked by Senator Sherry Rehman, Farhatullah Babar, Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Rubina Khalid, Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed, Mehreen Bhutto and Palwasha Khan.

“This is fascism. They are trying to deny parliamentary proceedings and parliamentary system. They are refusing to allow standing committees meetings,” Bilawal said.

The PPP chief said running the parliament was not the same as a cricket match. “To cancel the sessions of Standing Committee is an attack on the Parliament. Speaker (National Assembly Asad Qaisar) can’t put such restrictions. The dictatorial attitude will only spread anarchy,” he warned.

Bilawal said it was ironic that a person - Prime Minister Imran Khan - who claimed that he was not frightened of death was scared of production order.

Asks Senate chairman to resign; Regrets denial of media freedom

“The Speaker of National Assembly is making the House dysfunctional by stopping the Standing Committees from functioning in the name of austerity,” he said.

Bilawal questioned how it was possible to hold meetings of 35 standing committees in 10 rooms available for the purpose.

“The Standing Committees set the ground work for the House so the Speaker seems totally ignorant of the importance of these Standing Committees. At the time when this decision is announced both Speaker and Deputy Speaker are out of country,” he mocked.

Without the functions of Standing Committees, he said, the parliament is incomplete. “Standing Committees do all the preparations for legislations. The fascist government wants that parliament is made redundant,” he maintained.

The PPP chairman demanded of NA Speaker to withdraw his decision regarding Standing Committees meetings.

Bilawal advised Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to resign as the opposition will remove him anyway.

He said the opposition would elect a new Senate Chairman after reaching a consensus. “If a joint candidate gets elected then it will be a win for us,” he added.

Bilawal said that they had brought Sanjrani with consensus last year but situation was different now. “Now someone else is in the opposition and the government,” he contended.

The PPP leader regretted economic situation of Pakistan was getting worse every passing day. “We even offered to cooperate on the economic situation but it was not considered. The anti-people budget was approved due to rigging in the House,” he remarked.

On the alleged video of the Accountability Court Judge Arshad Malik, he said that High Court should look into the matter.

Bilawal said that interviews of Ihsanullah Ihsan, Kalbhoshan Jadhav, Indian pilot Abinandan Varthaman and General Pervez Musharraf can be aired but the interviews of the youth from Waziristan and former President Asif Ali Zardari cannot be broadcast.

“This is because press is not free today and facing censorship. Three channels have been taken off air which is highly condemnable. Now several journalists are not able to use twitter because their twitter accounts can be closed. The freedom is our basic right and we will fight for these rights till the end,” he asserted.