Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday called the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) actions “political engineering” and demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan remove three federal ministers, claiming that they have links with a banned organisation.
“Three federal ministers are hand-in-glove with terrorists. I don’t want to disclose the ministers’ names, but will do so if the government does not take action,” he said while addressing a press conference after his meeting with Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani at the assembly.
Bilawal, who was flanked by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and senior PPP leaders, said, “These ministers have historic links with banned organisations. One minister was publicly seen with a proscribed organisation during the elections and his connection still continues,” he said, adding that many video clips have gone viral of another minister who publicly said ‘no action will be taken against such outfits while PTI rules the country’.
The PPP chairman then said, “There is another federal minister who enjoys powers in every ‘selected’ government. He is a mouthpiece of a particular mindset and undemocratic values, which he always propagates it.
“His past statements are available to all. He used to attend the rallies of a banned organisation and has even been seen at training camps of such outfits.”
Bilawal demanded implementation of the National Action Plan in letter and spirit and said, “These individuals must be removed from Imran Khan’s cabinet so that opposition can accept that the government is serious about taking action.”
He said no good would happen until action is taken against such a mindset in the federal government.
He also accused the federal finance minister of having links with militants. “The leader of a UN-banned organisation suddenly appeared on the media in the last general elections with Asad Umar and announced he would join and support PTI.
“How can we accept that you are taking action against them? We can only accept it if you take confidence-building measures,” he said, demanding the formation of a national security committee comprising members of both the houses to oversee the national action plan.
“This creates doubt over the credibility of PTI lingers. PTI should distance itself from terrorists and draw a parallel between old and new Pakistan,” he remarked.
“The militants were allies of the PTI in the last general elections. How will the government convince opposition parties that it is serious in implementing the plan by taking action against banned outfits.”
He blamed the federal government for giving an NRO to proscribed organisations and said, “Why court orders are not issued against militants creating terror and killing innocents.
“You can announce judgments against Benazir and Asif Ali Zardari over the phone. Why are such actions not taken against militants who kill innocent people in Pakistan and abroad?”
He said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged and thrice-elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif is behind bars, but no action is taken against leaders of militant organisations who still move about freely.
Bilawal also responded to comments federal finance minister Asad Umar and Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed at him a few days back.
“After the Indian aggression, I paused for a while just for national integrity, but it is high time to tell the truth,” he said, adding that opposition parties have shown that they can “talk the talk and walk the walk” in a democratic manner against government’s policies.
“It is my duty to make the government accountable by exposing human rights violations and reminding them of their pledges.”
He also warned the PTI government to distance itself from such practice and wrongdoings.