Bilawal again demands ouster of ministers ‘supporting extremists’

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Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Thursday reiterated his demand that the government remove at least three ministers from the federal cabinet who allegedly have ‘long-held ties’ with the proscribed organisations.

“Everyone knows that three ministers in the federal cabinet have a long history of contacts with the banned outfits,” the PPP chief said during a press talk here. “One minister’s video went viral on social media. He can be seen assuring them [leaders of a proscribed party] that ‘we will not take action against you until our government is in place’,” he said. “The other minister made inductions into the PTI from UN-banned organisations like HUM (Harkatul Mujahideen al-Islami) during the elections. He then said on the floor of the House that ‘if you are speaking against banned outfits and the National Action Plan then that is against the country’s interest,” he continued. “The third one not only has a long history of being associated with the banned outfits but has also helped run militant outfits and training camps,” he added.

“We doubt your intentions [of the promised crackdown against proscribed organisations] because you were allied with proscribed organisations when you fought elections,” Bilawal said, referring to the ruling party. “Folks with such mentality should not be in the ‘Naya Pakistan’ cabinet. Until you remove them, we will keep doubting you,” he maintained.

“Rather than helping the poor, the government is involved in the economic killing of the poor,” Bilawal said, adding that the government should sack non-performing ministers and show seriousness in resolving issues of the masses.

Earlier in the day, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan urged Bilawal to ‘provide proofs, if he has any, against the ministers’. “Levelling allegations without proofs is an unreasonable act,” Khan said. “Evidence should be presented so that the prime minister can take action,” he added. The state minister, however, agreed with Bilawal that if any minister is in contact with any of the banned outfits, he should be sacked. “I do not know which ministers he is referring to,” he said to a question.

Published in Today’s Muslim, March 15th 2019.