- Fawad Ch says will side with Usman Buzdar if Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Buzdar have disagreements
- Information minister criticises opposition for uncooperative attitude over accountability
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Sunday drew the ire of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) after Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry criticised former president Asif Ali Zardari for his alleged involvement in corruption and reiterated that Prime Minister Imran Khan will never provide a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) to the opposition.
Talking to ‘Geo Parliament’, the information minister said that “a culture of sweeping everything under the carpet has emerged. To prolong authority, one should not shield corruption”.
“We will keep the Supreme Court informed of the government’s investigation into the fake bank accounts case. Asif Ali Zardari should leave his palace and find out how unpopular he is among the public,” Fawad said.
‘ANTI-DEMOCRATIC FORCES DISLIKE ZARDARI’:
In response, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s Spokesperson Amir Fida Paracha criticised Fawad Chaudhry’s statement, adding that “anti-democratic elements do not like Zardari”.
“Imran Khan not only takes U-turns but he also changes colours like a chameleon. The government’s 100-days are based on 100 lies,” he went on to add.
“Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan has been served an NOC [No Objection Certificate] for hiding corruption,” he said in an allusion to recent media reports that state Aleema got a clean chit for paying a penalty to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
It is pertinent to mention that opposition parties lashed out at the PTI for the same reason last month too when the PM had alleged that the PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) wanted to get an NRO from his government. He had stated that his government will not give any NRO to these parties.
“If these two parties want to take to streets, then they should go ahead with it,” PM Khan had said, promising to provide containers to them for camping out. “Get this loud and clear, there will be no NRO. I will not spare any corrupt individual,” he said at the time.
Senior figures from a number of opposition parties criticised the premier over the statement with PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb saying that “the PM should also tell who is asking for NRO?”. She had said that PM Khan was now congratulating the nation on something he used to criticise the previous government on.
Similary, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s Spokesman Mustafa Nawaz Khokar had said that no one is asking PM Khan for NRO, he should keep it with himself. PPP leader Sherry Rehman had said, “Imran Khan talks like an opposition leader”.
BUZDAR OVER ELAHI:
In response to a question about PTI’s alliance with Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the federal minister said that “we will side with Usman Buzdar if Pervaiz Elahi and Buzdar come face to face”.
In response to a question about protests launched in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to acquit Aasia Bibi, Fawad said, “We came to an agreement with the rioters to maintain peace in the country. Give and take is part of that.”
“Aasia Bibi is in Pakistan and we stand with the Supreme Court’s decision. It is fortunate all the institutions of the state are united on this decision.”
With regards to transfers, he said transfers will keep happening until the government finds good officers. The PM has every right to remove ministers too who perform poorly. He further announced that the premier will address the nation on November 29 with regards to the government’s 100-day progress.
‘OPPOSITION DOES NOT LET US QUESTION THEM OVER CORRUPTION’:
Meanwhile, addressing a workers’ convention in Jhelum earlier in the day, the federal minister remarked that the government is striving to make headway in development all over the country, for which underdeveloped regions shall be prioritised.
He reiterated that a parliament that remains silent over thieves and corruption cannot function. “We cannot ask questions pertaining to accountability,” he added.
Taking a jibe at the PML-N leaders, the information minister commented that opposition ceases to cooperate when the government holds them accountable.
He stated that Khawaja Saad Rafique used to ride a motorcycle before he entered politics. “When we question their means of income, the former government’s leaders walk out of the parliament saying democracy is under threat”.
Paying special attention to development in small districts and villages, the minister maintained that the nation’s funds must reach a common man.
To achieve these goals would require strong accountability and local government system, Fawad said, adding that the ruling party shall uniformly distribute reserves to turn the country into a welfare state.