–PPP chief tells rally in Ghotki party will resist One Unit system
–Criticises PM Imran for ‘poor’ economic policies, inflation
GHOTKI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday came out all guns blazing against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for its purported attempts to roll back 18th Amendment — that devolves greater powers to federating units.
Addressing a rally in Ghotki days after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s rally, the PPP chairman said all hell will break loose if efforts were made for bringing a One Unit system.
One-Unit was the title of a scheme launched by the federal government to merge all provinces of West Pakistan into one homogenous unit, as a counterbalance against the numerical domination of the ethnic Bengalis of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
“They want to do away with the 18th Amendment slowly and gradually, and want to usurp the rights of Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said, pointing towards powers-that-be. “They want to bring One Unit system. Do they want to split the country?”
Referring to the partition of Pakistan in 1971, the PPP chairman said One Unit system the reasons behind it. “We have rendered our lives and we will not let the constitution to be harmed,” he asserted.
He criticised the prime minister for propagating rolling back of 18th Amendment over financial issues. Imran Khan had earlier said that the amendment had left the country bankrupt. “After the 18th Amendment, at the start of every fiscal year the centre has to face fiscal shortfall to the tune of Rs 600 billion due to debt servicing, federal transfers to the provinces, and defence budget, that leaves nothing for development,” he said during his address in Sukkur.
Taking a jibe at the premier, the PPP chief said by rolling back the amendment, the prime minister wants to deprive you [people] of rights. “They say the federation is going to be bankrupted. Listen, you ‘puppet’! The federation is pushed towards bankruptcy due to your [government’s] economic policies,” he said.
The Bhutto scion also denounced the current economic policies and took hits at the government for [eventually] going to the International Monetary Fund by taking a U-turn.
He recalled that Imran had vowed not to take loans and that he would commit suicide if the need to go to the Fund had arisen.
In the wake of high inflation, people are longing for food. In addition, load shedding has made life more difficult for the masses,” Bilawal lamented. “This is a bunch of incompetent individuals, who are unable to govern the country.”
He also questioned the PM’s inability to visit Quetta in the wake of a deadly bombing targetting Hazara people. The blast left 20 people, including at least nine Hazaras, dead and dozens wounded.
Several PPP leaders addressed the gathering in the venue that had a seating capacity of 60,000 participants, with about 2,000 police personnel on guard.