KARACHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has confirmed that he will take his oath as a federal minister in newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s cabinet in Islamabad today (Wednesday).
Addressing a press conference in Karachi after a meeting of the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), Bilawal said the party had decided to assume its share of the responsibility and “tomorrow I will take an oath [as a federal minister] and become part of the unity government myself.”
Bilawal did not identify which ministry he would be taking the oath for but hinted at it later on in the press conference. When questioned by a reporter to comment on matters of foreign policy, he said he would soon hold a press conference on the issue.
According to Dawn report, background interviews with several PPP leaders had earlier confirmed reports in media circles that Bilawal could become the foreign minister, though in-house consultation on the matter was still ongoing at the time.
Explaining his decision to join PM Shehbaz’s cabinet, Bilawal said “one-sided decision making” was not possible and it was up to all the political parties to find solutions to the problems collectively.
“We have to understand that this isn’t an ordinary coalition government. This unity government is a result of the parties on the opposition benches going to the treasury benches for the first time in the history of Pakistan.
“This is a very big challenge [and] everyone must play their role and share their burdens,” the PPP chairman said.
He hoped that as part of the team at times the PPP’s priorities would be given weight and sometimes those of other political parties would take the forefront so solutions could be found together.
Bilawal congratulated the whole country for its “peaceful and democratic struggle against the selected regime”, saying that history was created in the first-ever successful vote of no-confidence against a sitting prime minister.
“The beauty of this is that an undemocratic person (PTI Chairman Imran Khan) … we sent him home and this is a political miracle and a historic political success.”
He also hailed the institutions, praising them for charting their course from “controversial institutions” to becoming “constitutional institutions”, adding that it was the duty of every citizen to expect and hope for this transition, which he termed a “ray of hope”.
Condemnation of Karachi attack
The PPP chairman, at the outset of his press conference, condemned today’s suicide attack outside the University of Karachi’s Confucius Institute, adding that the PPP would raise its voice against such incidents and they would not be tolerated.
Terming such incidents as a “scheme” against Pakistan’s development and peace, he said a response would be meted out to the perpetrators at every level from every forum.
He criticised terrorists who “in the name of the rights of our Baloch people” waged attacks “on the development and progress of our Baloch brothers and sisters”.
Addressing Balochistan’s youth, Bilawal said: “We know you have issues and are in pain and many from among you are angry but we think you can get your rights in a peaceful manner. We won’t allow any terrorists to deal damage to our Baloch youth.”
Probe of constitutional violation
The PPP chairman pointed to the events of April 3 that saw former National Assembly (NA) deputy speaker Qasim Suri dismiss the no-confidence vote and President Dr Arif Alvi dissolve the NA on former premier Imran’s advice before they were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
He alleged the three of being involved in the “conspiracy” to violate the Constitution, adding that it was the PPP CEC’s demand that the incident should be investigated and facts brought to light.
The PPP leader also lashed out at Imran’s behaviour and actions in the wake of his ouster, claiming that every institution was at his “gun’s target”. He called on the PTI chairman to return to the NA and fulfil his role as the opposition leader.
He said work was needed on building a consensus for electoral reforms and referred to his recent meetings with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in London. Bilawal praised the “re-engagement” between the two parties and said he had discussed the completion of the Charter of Democracy as well as a “Charter of Democracy 2” with Nawaz.
Questioned why the government was hesitating in forming a judicial probe to investigate the ‘Cablegate’ controversy, Bilawal said he had no reservation about it but it would be a decision for the government and its joint allies.
However, he did question why Imran hadn’t ordered the judicial prove himself during his government but added that whatever “fair and impartial way” was present to deal with the issue would be adopted.