“Political statements should not be made through DG ISPR”; says Bilawal Bhutto

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Fazal opposes mainstreaming of seminaries, PPP and JUI-F reject assertions of DG-ISPR, no reaction from PML-N

Nation special report

ISLAMABAD: As a backlash to military briefing in Pakistan, two main opposition parties Pakistan Peoples’ Party and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazal)-(JUI-F) have disowned rather rejected the assertions of DG-ISPR terming it unnecessary and an attempt to demoralise the national institutions. Reaction from other parties especially the Pakistan Muslim League (N) is eagerly awaited that that party has taken the military stance. But according to political observers, since PML-N leadership in hot water, facing case in NAB and his head Nawaz Sharif is already convicted; no sharp reaction is expected from them.

Bilawal Bhutto’s reaction

In just hours afterDirector General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor’s briefing, PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto addressed a press conference at Zardari House, Islamabad aggressively and expressed his anger over military deliberation and said that the political statements should not be made through DG-ISPR as this practice will make national institutions controversial.

ISLAMABAD: Apr029- Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari along with other party leaders addressing a press conference at Zardari House.

He was furious over comments of Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor for giving bad name who without naming Peoples Party, said “a political party is supportive of the PTM’s activities”. He also indicated of possible action against the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) saying “Time is up”.

To this, Bilawal Bhutto clarified that “the only party the PPP supports is the PPP. I am the chairman of the PPP so I do not support any other party. Of course, if another political party raises an issue of democracy, human rights … then I support those points but from a [political standpoint], the only party I support is the PPP.”

Major General Asif Ghafoor accused PPP while answering a question related to Karachi based senior police officer SSP Rao Anwar who allegedly killed Pakhtoon citizen Naqeebullah in a fake encounter in the city and now is bailed out. Asif Ghafoor was asked why a punitive action has not been taken against Rao Anwar and he is moving freely.

Asif Ghafoor said that a political party (PPP) says Rao Anwar is our child. [Asif Zardari told media persons soon after the killing of Naqeebullah that “Rao Anwar is our bahadur bachcha hay”. This quotation was referred by Asif Ghafoor.

The PPP leader, however, said that political statements should only be made by the relevant ministries and not through the military. “Khan sahab should not give out political statements through the DG ISPR,” he said. “This will only make the institution controversial. The defence ministry’s narrative can be given by the DG ISPR but when a political statement comes out then institutions become controversial, which is something we would never want.”

“I think if the government has something to say then a respective minister should come out and say it… we respect our institutions and don’t want to see their reputation tarnished in any way,”

He further said; “Military affairs should be addressed by defence minister, foreign affairs by foreign minister and interior affairs by interior minister”.

Bilawal said that “you can send my entire family and party to jail but we will not change our principled stance on the 18th Amendment, presidential form of government, military courts, freedom of the press and democracy.”

Bilawal Bhutto urged the federal government to “provide relief to the poor” and instead go hard on the rich if it has to, in order to “create fiscal space”. He criticised the government’s performance on the economic front, alleging that it is favouring the rich and burdening the poor.

“No one in the history of Pakistan took as much debt as they have taken in just several months of their government. They celebrate upon securing loans. What is there to celebrate when the poor and the common man will have to bear the burden of paying off these loans?” Bilawal asked.

“The way they are running the economy, there will be a reaction from the poor spectrum of the society. If you want to create fiscal space and burden someone then burden the rich like Jahangir Tareen. For the rich you have an amnesty scheme but for the poor you have inflation.

Fazl rejects decision

While rejecting decision of putting madaris under the Ministry of Education, central ameer of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has said that no one has any power to change syllabus of madaris (seminaries), rather improvement should be made in educational institutions before this move.

The JUI-F chief expressed these views while addressing a press conference here on Monday night. He announced that they would fight for the protection of madaris. He said that they are in the ground and have carried out 12 million marches and those who join us will be welcomed and our campaign will continue despite those who do not want to join us.

The JUI-F chief said that educational institutions are being discussed now for getting loan from IMF while an awkward method was being adopted for getting the loan. He said improper talks were made about madaris and their registration under the Education Ministry. He said that ‘made in America’ syllabus is being taught so far. He said that efforts are being made to eliminate freedom of madaris.

He said that British wanted to ruin madaris and now the US wanted the same. He said that there is an international agenda against madaris and our aid is being conditioned with action against madaris. He questioned whether there was extremism in madaris or in syllabus?

Fazlur Rehman said that extremism is a social malady and madaris have nothing to do with it. He said that rubble of 70 years old cruel attitude should not be put on madaris. He urged the union of madaris not to hold talks with government and said it is settled that any step regarding madaris would not be taken without consultation with madaris.