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Bilawal, not Zardari, making decisions in PPP: Khurshid

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah has dispelled the impression in political and media circles that former president Asif Ali Zardari is actually running the party, and claimed that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is fully empowered to make decisions independently.

“This is a misunderstanding. All the [decision-making] powers [in the party] are 100 per cent with chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari,” Mr Shah said in response to a question during a chat with reporters at his Parliament House chamber here on Tuesday.

A reporter had asked about the impression and statements by some political leaders that since Mr Zardari’s return to the country last month, Mr Bhutto-Zardari had become irrelevant and the former president had actually been calling the shots.

Quoting an example, Mr Shah said he had been asked by Mr Zardari to wait for his son’s return from abroad for a decision on the dates for contesting the by-elections to enter parliament as announced by him while addressing a public meeting on Dec 27 in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

Mr Shah said that a party meeting was expected to take place on Wednesday (today) to make a final decision in this regard.

Mr Shah was of the view that Mr Bhutto-Zardari would assume the office of the opposition leader, and not Mr Zardari, after their entry to the assembly through by-elections.

The PPP stalwart believed that Mr Zardari would not become the parliamentary leader either, though no such formal decision had been taken by the party leadership. “The presence of the parliamentary leader in the assembly all the time is necessary,” he said while giving an argument in support of his viewpoint that Mr Zardari might not become the parliamentary leader as well.

In reply to a question about the delayed entry of the top PPP leaders to parliament, he said Mr Bhutto-Zardari was not eligible to contest elections due to his age whereas Mr Zardari could also not contest the polls due to a two-year bar on the public office holder. “Since the two issues are resolved now, they are coming to the parliament.” Mr Shah said the party leaders had decided to contest the elections because the PPP had always stressed the need for resolving the matters through parliament. He expressed the hope that parliament would be strengthened with the presence of Mr Zardari and his son.

Commenting on Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan’s statement that his party would not make any alliance with Mr Zardari, Mr Shah said it was up to Mr Khan to make a decision if he wanted to do politics in isolation or wanted to become part of the opposition alliance. As far as the PPP was concerned, he said, the PPP had always in the past struggled to keep the political parties united.

Answering a question about the party’s previous threats of launching an anti-government campaign after Dec 27, Mr Shah said the movement against the rulers would start in the month of January with holding of public meetings by the party in various parts of the country.

The opposition leader said PPP leaders would highlight the issues of the government’s poor management of the economy making the lives of middle class people, farmers and labourers miserable. Through the public meetings, he said, they would ask people to reconsider their “decision” (of voting for the PML-N).

Mr Shah expressed the hope that the Supreme Court would decide the Panama Papers case keeping in view the national interest and on merit. “The ball is in the judiciary’s court. It is the Supreme Court which will now decide if there should be corruption in the country or not,” he added.

He also challenged the government to initiate action against him, if he was involved in any wrongdoing or corruption. “If there is any case or file against me in NAB, make it public,” he said, adding that he would not succumb to any “political blackmailing”.

courtesy : dawn news

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