Chairman Bilawal addresses the National Assembly

Spread the love

Islamabad, 15 May, 2024: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing the National Assembly today said that he would like to congratulate President Asif Ali Zardari on being the first civilian president to address the Parliament for the seventh time.

Chairman Bilawal said that the PPP welcomes that President Zardari did not make any personal or political statement in his speech. He made it apparent that he is the representative of the federation and the people and he prioritises their problems. In his speech, President Zardari talked about unity, working together and dialogue. He did so not because of his personal interests or cases, but because President Zardari realises that the real issues of the people such as poverty, inflation and unemployment can only be combatted through discourse and the political process. Moreover, President Zardari did not only advise the government on deriving solutions for the current economic crisis we face, but also the opposition to conduct itself in a manner that transcends personal interests to focus on the plight of the people. It is their responsibility as elected representatives to not only fight their personal cases, but also talk about the problems of the people and hold dialogues with the government to derive solutions.

Chairman Bilawal advised the government and the opposition both to include the latter’s input in the upcoming budget. The opposition may have forgotten its responsibility as Pakistan goes through economic turmoil but it is our responsibility to remind it of its duty. While President Zardari’s short and concise speech focused on the problems plaguing the country, the Opposition Leader’s hour-long speech consisted of him whining on behalf of his fellows and leader. It is his duty to not only represent the country’s people as the Opposition Leader but also raise their issues and point out any shortcomings in the government’s policies while countering with another strategy.

As far as President Zardari’s mention of the health and education sectors is concerned, he highlighted the importance of all the four provinces addressing these concerns, Chairman PPP said. The PPP’s Sindh government has made historic progress in both of these sectors. When the PPP formed the provincial government, there was no institution providing free of cost, quality treatment. The PPP not only established free of cost hospitals treating heart ailments in approximately all the major cities of the province but also in remote areas such as Gambat, Khairpur. People from all four provinces come to Sindh for treatment, which is a testament of the PPP’s exemplary performance in Sindh. Chairman Bilawal said that the province of Sindh extends an invitation to the PTI and its government to come to Sindh and tour the healthcare facilities as an effort to teach them how to construct institutions providing free of cost and quality treatment. The PPP wishes to see an institutions such as that of the NICVD in Peshawar as well. As far as the education sector is concerned, the province of Sindh has made extensive efforts to address the structural issues as an effort to address concerns even in the far flung areas. The PPP government has made numerous interventions that have been successful and can be replicated nationwide. ‘Ghost teachers’ was an issue plaguing Sindh when the PPP came to power. The biometric system was then introduced to combat this issue. Teaching quality was another concern which was addressed through the introduction of merit-based tests for appointments as well as a training programme to maintain standards among the government’s educational institutions. The government has few resources and a great many feats to achieve. Hence, PPP’s Public-Private Partnership-based initiatives in the education sector have proven to be immensely successful. Chairman Bilawal said that he would like to advise the rest of the provinces to follow Sindh’s public-private partnership model and not privatise their institutions. The trend of privatisation in the other provinces will turn educational institutions into profit-making institutions.

Chairman Bilawal said that President Zardari’s speech also touched upon Kashmir and Palestine as he presented Pakistan’s clear stance. Chairman Bilawal said that he strongly condemns the behaviour of the Opposition at a time when the President of Pakistan was presenting the country’s case on the crucial matters of Kashmir and Palestine in the presence of foreign delegations. He questioned the message sent to the people and the world by the Opposition raising needless hue and cry and prioritising their personal grievances instead of national issues. Chairman PPP said that he is grateful to President Zardari for taking timely notice of the situation in Azad Kashmir and to the current government for its generous allocation to meet the demands of the people.

Chairman Bilawal said that he would like to highlight another issue, which concerns the farmers of the country who are protesting. Manifestos of all three major parties, the PPP, PML-N and PTI have highlighted that the agriculture of the country is the backbone of the economy. “If Kashmir is the jugular vein of the country, then the farmers are the jugular vein of the economy”, Chairman Bilawal asserted. This is an issue over which all the political parties should be on the same page. The House demands accountability for the continued economic murder of the farmers. The decision taken by the interim federal government to spend the money of the people of Pakistan to benefit foreign growers and import wheat has lead to catastrophic consequences. Not only was the money wasted, but our growers continue to face the severe repercussions. Chairman Bilawal said that the government of the time should stop playing ‘committee-committee’ if it wants to see the country, its industries and growers prospering. Action needs to be taken today, not tomorrow, Chairman Bilawal said. The decision to import wheat led to the federal and Sindh government reducing their procurement, as the Punjab government apparently did not procure at all. The growers of the country are hence heckled with issues, and to add insult to the injury, not only was the wheat imported and later not procured by the government, there is also a ban on exports. Where should the grower go? Prime Minister Sharif should find out which bureaucrats and ministers are involved in this scandal and action should be taken against them. The government should also not delay taking important decisions any further.

Chairman PPP said that the growers of the country are suffering not because of the national or international economic situation, but due to the decisions taken by the incompetent, unqualified, undemocratic and unelected people. The government should admit its fault and immediately decide to cater to the needs of the growers. We should at least immediately lift the ban on exports so that the growers and economy of the country can benefit. When Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the PM of the country, there was a crisis involving growers. PM Bhutto directed the ‘baabus’ to buy the produce. When questioned by the latter, PM Bhutto told them that the produce could be fed to the fish but the growers should not be troubled. Today, we do not need to dispose off the produce, rather, it can be of aid to our fellow Muslim in Palestine who are suffering through extreme barbarism.

Chairman Bilawal said that it should not be so that the growers produce less next year, due to such disincentivisation. The growers should be incentivised. The government should announce its support price for the wheat crop in the current budget to allow for the restoration of confidence and trust among the growers. The government should announce a package for growers in the upcoming budget that cements that the Pakistani government believes the country to be an agricultural country. The government should make it apparent through its budgeting and policies that it is willing to invest in the agriculture of the country. An initiative included in the PPP’s manifesto and mentioned in PM Sharif’s introductory speech was that of announcing a Kissan card to protect the growers, and put a stop to the billions of rupees’ worth of subsidies given to the fertiliser companies. The Pakistani government should not subsidise large companies or landowners, but the small growers.

Chairman Bilawal said that ten billion rupees’ worth of agricultural commodities are imported annually, despite us labelling ourselves as an agricultural country. Our policies were such that they not only discouraged the growers but also harmed them. This is an issue over which all of the parties, belonging to the government or the opposition benches, are unified. It is an advice to the government to announce consistent government policies for the next ten years relating to agriculture as part of an ‘agricultural emergency’ from today, by taking agricultural organisations and other stakeholders on board. No power in the world can then stop Pakistan’s progress, Chairman Bilawal expressed.

Chairman PPP expressed disappointment over the non-serious attitude of the Opposition. Since three generations, the PPP has been fighting and struggling for the restoration and strengthening of the democratic system and politicians in the country. The PPP was opposed by the same people for three decades. According to the opposition, it is struggling for the ‘rule of law’ and ‘real freedom’ but it only wishes to converse with the Army and the establishment. They are neither interested in democracy nor the supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law. They are only interested in solving their personal legal cases and issues. They do not want solutions for the problems of the people. They do not wish to strengthen democracy. They know who they need to coddle to come to power. They are forcing intervention by the same forces they claim to combat. This is bigotry with the democracy and the Parliament. If they genuinely wish for the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution, then the PPP is present to teach them. However, they only wish to orchestrate a drama. They first gifted Buzdar to Punjab and now wish for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to suffer in the same way by appointing such a CM. They believe that they have appointed the CM, when in reality the credit goes to someone else. After becoming the CM, the first person he met was Mohsin Naqvi. He can only give statements against Governor KP. They are not yet willing to condemn May 9th or distance themselves from their militant wing involved. If they are not willing to apologise over May 9th, then this hue and cry will continue. It is their right to protest peacefully or engage in politics but they cannot spread terror, which they are doing openly. Democracy gives the right to protest but not the right to attack an institution or the memorials of martyrs. May 9th was not a protest but a coup against the government and the military leadership, Chairman Bilawal said. Such efforts will always be made unsuccessful.

Chairman PPP questioned how the Leader of the Opposition equated the coup attempt and terrorism of May 9th to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom. Chairman Bilawal then sarcastically responding to a member of the opposition who had earlier raised the slogan of ‘Bilawal Bhutto as the next PM’, asked him to ‘Stay silent as his PM is talking’. These non-serious people do not even have a semblance of an inkling about what they are talking about. Chairman Bilawal said that their so-called leader upon being arrested by NAB and spending merely a night in prison became so frazzled they he directed his minions to attack military installations and memorials of martyrs. This was terrorism. At the time of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom, protests erupted nationwide but not one military installation or memorial of a martyr was harmed. Their leader is crying to be let out from prison. Chairman Bilawal said that we are among those who have carried entire generations on our shoulders as martyrs but have still raised the slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, while they are among those who could not even spend a night in jail and announced a revolt against Pakistan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *