— Bilawal regrets lack of implementation of NAP
— Calls India’s reaction ‘natural, emotional’
— Remarks PM should have consulted Opp leaders on Saudi visit
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Monday that attacks like Pulwama wouldn’t have happened if Kashmiris had been given their right to self-determination.
At least 49 Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and many others injured when suspected militants targeted a convoy with a car bomb at Awantipora in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday, in what is the worst attack ever on security personnel in the state.
The car bomb attack was reportedly claimed by militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and carried out by a 20-year-old Kashmiri man.
India has accused Pakistan of facilitating the attack as tensions between the two countries escalated and India announced it would withdraw Pakistan’s ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status. However, Pakistan has denied all allegations of terror financing.
Bilawal was speaking to a private media outlet at the conclusion of the Munich Security Conference. He lamented the deadly terror attack and asserted that India’s accusations in the aftermath of the attack were “a natural and emotional reaction”.
He argued that Pakistan has a straightforward stance on terrorism, it neither supports nor desires terrorist activity.
The PPP leader elaborated that he had met other global leaders in Munich, and none seemed to have the impression that Pakistan is a “safe haven for terrorists”. On the other hand, he asserted, they all believe that Pakistan and PPP have made major sacrifices in the war on terror.
Moreover, Bilawal stressed that Pakistan needs to fight terrorism for its own future, and not merely due to India’s diplomatic pressure.
Bilawal regretted that the National Action Plan (NAP) could not be implemented properly, and pointed out that it could draw criticism to Pakistan from national and international stakeholders.
Speaking of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan, Bilawal commended the importance of “friendly diplomatic relations” for “Pakistan’s foreign policy should be devised on a broader basis keeping in view the regional situation”.
However, Bilawal said, it would have been better if the prime minister had consulted the Parliament on the development of foreign policy, as he did not take opposition leaders into confidence on the Saudi delegation’s visit. Still, the opposition did not make it a bone of contention for political incentives, he added.
Lauding his party’s performance in general elections 2018, Bilawal implied a lack of transparency in the electoral process and revealed that PPP will soon make a white paper public.
However, he said, PPP accepted the election results without causing any controversy. Moreover, Bilawal said that he wouldn’t use the “selected PM” term as it was inappropriate to do so on a foreign platform.
“Yet it is not clear what the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government intends to do for ‘neither politics nor economy can survive by taking U-turns’ on every decision,” he remarked.
Addressing PM Imran, the PPP leader said that he should accept his responsibilities and move forward with mutual dialogue with the opposition.