PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday denied that any efforts were being made for the opposition parties to come together in a “grand alliance” against the government.
The matter was raised during a press conference in Lahore in which the PPP chief was asked if the expected outcome of a meeting held between party president Asif Ali Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman a day earlier was a “grand alliance” among various parties in the opposition.
“Sadar Zardari holds frequent meetings with Maulana sahib and yes something does come out of those meetings each time, but I do not believe any efforts are being made towards a grand alliance. We are focusing on issues-based politics and trying to find common ground,” Bilawal responded.
The PPP leader was asked why instead of responding to the allegations made in a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report into the Rs35 billion fake accounts case, he was deflecting them by talking about other issues such as the 18th Amendment.
Bilawal replied: “I believe we are responding to the allegations. I even did a whole speech on the matter. And where will we respond? This is a legal issue and we respond to legal issues in court.”
“We are not going to be part of any media trial,” he stressed. “We are giving our rebuttal in courts. Political attacks on us are being responded to politically, legal issues are being tackled with legal responses.
Bilawal said the “fake and false” JIT report was nothing but a sham, with political motivations behind it. “Political engineering is their motive, and they want to use the courts for this purpose,” he alleged, without saying to whom he was referring.
Also read: ‘Fake accounts JIT being used as a tool for political victimization’: Zardari replies to probe report in SC
“If I unveil their political designs, reveal their agenda for exacting political revenge, and their grand scheme for the country against the 18th Amendment, then our opponents are saddened and wish for a response on legal grounds,” the PPP leader said.
“They are not judges. I will give a judge a legal response. With politicians I will respond like a politician,” he added.
A journalist then asked Bilawal what he would like to say regarding the government’s allegations that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman has been “installed” by the PPP. Chuckling at the notion, the PPP leader remarked: “Even if this were true, it is the constitutional duty of a person holding such an office to follow the law and be non-partisan. His job is to not fall victim to pressures from the government and the prime minister and to fight against such pressures.”
He said all institutions were currently working under pressure from the government and so have been unable to perform or yield results on even a single “deliverable”.
“We made historic progress in our first 100 days of power. They have nothing else so they are using these institutions to target their political opponents.”
He said that the government knows they cannot defeat us in elections so their efforts are geared towards rigging, kicking people out of the race or undertaking in “backdoor” activities to ensure their victory.
Bilawal further stressed that Zardari was willing to respond in any capacity and had already submitted his responses in written and verbally in person.
He said the PPP president’s justifications and defences were purposely omitted from the report and this was done in an attempt to not only mislead the public but also the court.
Responding smilingly to statements by journalists regarding the “imminent arrest” of Zardari, Bilawal said that he had been hearing such frivolities since he was a year old.
“We will not be threatened by such statements. We are ideological politicians. However much pressure you put us under, or send our entire family to jail even, we will not compromise in any way on the 1973 Constitution which we restored via the 18th Amendment.”