Islamabad, 12 May 2020: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing a press conference has paid tribute to the health workers of Pakistan and has demanded relief for them.
Chairman PPP said that in this pandemic, food security is an issue that needs to be addressed worldwide and according to a UN report; Pakistan is more prone to face damages done by a lack of food security. After 25 years, there has been a locust attack and plant protection is the federal government’s subject.
He said that the federal government was given one year to prepare and it had promised us that it would send planes in March. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had brought in planes from Iran and other countries in 90s when locust had attacked. Federal government promised us six planes and only one plane was provided to us, he said. There have been locust attacks in Balochistan as well and the federal government has not helped at all. The way the federal government has not helped in the Covid-19 situation, similarly, no help has been offered during these locust attacks, he said. He also shared pictures showing the locust attacks all over Sindh (Jamshoro, Hyderabad etc). This is concerning for our agriculture, the federal government is sleeping and we demand that the whole of Pakistan should be protected. This is not an issue that only concerns the rural areas, cities too are impacted by it and we have to take this serious during the pandemic as well.
The federal government politicizes every issue. Responding to a question regarding President Zardari’s health, he said that according to the WHO’s guidelines, people with underlying conditions are advised to not leave their houses at all. President Zardari suffers from underlying conditions such as diabetes and cardiac complications; Shehbaz Sharif is a cancer patient, which is why they have refrained from attending the Parliamentary session. On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan gets his salary from the Parliament, and still does not attend it, he is not doing his job.
Answering a question, he said that there has been no contact with the government after yesterday’s address; the batting line is still the same. Serious people are making non-serious remarks, we condemn Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s statement. When we talk about Sindh, it is said that we play the Sindh card. When I talk about Balochistan and its issues, then am I playing the Balochistan card, similarly if I am talking about KP’s issues then am I playing the KP card? When I talk about Kashmir and speak up about what our PM is afraid to say, then am I playing the Kashmir card? Shah Mehmood Qureshi should take back his words, and if not, he should resign.
If I extend my hand towards you, then I am met with remarks such as “we will prove our political strength” in Sindh. They talk about proving their political strength, but we know how their political strength has been proven. When he was our minister, we know who approached him and fueled his dreams of becoming a future prime minister of the country. 11 health workers have passed away while serving the country, 600 Pakistanis have died at the hands of the Covid-19.
Imran Khan uses the poor in order to benefit the elite; he met with the business-oriented class but not with the farmer representatives or trade unions. Khan sahib was trying to woo the industrialists and was fulfilling their demands, he was giving construction package to Anil Musarrat and other construction tycoons in the name of relief package. On the other hand, we in Sindh, wanted to give a corona relief package and wanted to provide relief to the people of Sind but the federal government tried to sabotage our efforts. The governor did not sign the package. We do not want to get into any debate and we will again send that package to the governor again. You have delayed relief for the people of Sindh. The PTI should copy paste our corona relief package for other provinces as well and we want the people of other provinces to benefit from it.
Responding to a question about locusts, he said that we were promised six planes but only one was sent and there is no pilot to fly that plane. The locust problem is also there in Balochistan and Punjab but the federal government has failed in fulfilling its responsibility there too. When the NDMA had claimed that it was preparing for the locust attacks, why is it that no preparation can be seen?
Answering a question he said that if the judicial and executive bodies are proceeding with their activities, then the National Assembly should do the same. He said that the National Assembly is there to hold the executives accountable and that its sessions should be held and the federal government should take our advice seriously. He said that if the federal government wants to give us more responsibility, then it has to give us more resources.
Responding to another question, he said that the federal government uses the constitution to hide its own failures. There is no problem due to the constitution. Plant protection is the responsibility of the federal government according to the constitution. He said that Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto got the constitution passed unanimously and this constitution was attacked during Zia’s dictatorship and afterwards, during Musharraf’s dictatorship. It was ironic that General Zia’s name was a part of the constitution and we removed his name through the 18th Amendment. President Zardari was the most powerful president of this country but he gave up his powers and transferred them to the prime minister, thus making this country a democratic one. We restored the 1973 constitution and the anti-democratic people only oppose it because it is a democratic constitution, and they want a dictatorship. This is not the time to start this debate and we should not indulge in such tactics and should deal with the pandemic.
Responding to a question about the sugar report, he said that this is a gimmick because PTI never wants accountability and just wants its people and allies to stay loyal. This sugar gimmickry proves that either the prime minister is corrupt and wants to give benefit to his cronies like his ATM or he is too stupid. He said that he has been informing the media about the attacks on the 18th amendment and we were their target for victimization because they wanted to use the 18th amendment as a bargaining chip. They cannot alter the 18th amendment with only a two or three vote majority but if they want to meddle with it in the garb of the pandemic, then we are ready to resist them at every forum.