Wednesday Feb 12, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (SCBA) and the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) have slammed the country's anti-graft watchdog over a notice it sent to PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and called for the PTI government to focus on public welfare.
In a statement issued Wednesday, SBCA President Syed Qalb-e-Hassan and PBC Vice Chairman Abid Saqi "strongly condemned" the notice sent by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to Bilawal, wherein it has summoned the Opposition leader for an appearance on February 13 in relation to the fake accounts case.
Leaders of the two lawyer bodies termed the anti-corruption institution's notice as "an act of personal victimization, satisfying the political egoistic revenge of incumbent government" and said the move came on the back of Bilawal's decision to call out the PTI over skyrocketing inflation and launch a protest.
Read more: Why has NAB summoned Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari?
The notice, the statement added, was a "mere reaction against the commitment shown by Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the recent increase in price hikes and increasing poverty and the announcement made by him to launch a protest movement against economic policies of the government".
Qalb-e-Hassan and Saqi said the notice "also shows the connivance between the sitting government and NAB, apparently so-called state institution" and that "the actions being taken by NAB on the will of sitting government clearly shows that NAB is not acting independently and objectively".
Also read: Are Zardari and Bilawal on one page?
The two said such notices — indicating "malicious ties" between Prime Minister Imran Khan's administration and the anti-graft watchdog — were "a strategy to suppress the democratic values in the country".
The SCBA and the PBC demanded that these unlawful designs be stopped and the government focus on Pakistanis' welfare.
Bilawal shared the statement on his Twitter account, saying he appreciated the move. "Despite Chief Justice of Pakistan declared my innocence more than a year ago still ongoing," he wrote.
"Will not detter us from opposing govts anti-people policies," he added. Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, a PPP leader and Bilawal's sister, also commended the letter.
"When truth and real justice is on your side @BBhuttoZardari has nothing to hide or be afraid of," she added.
The NAB had on Monday summoned Bilawal for an appearance on Feb 13 in a case related to the company JV Opal 255, directing the PPP chair to bring the Zardari Group's records from 2008 to 2019 as well as a list of the Board of Directors.
It had earlier summoned him on May 17, 2019, in relation to the Park Lane case and later, on May 29, to record his statement in a money-laundering case.
A day prior, the PPP chair had said every sector of Pakistan was facing troubles ever since the PTI had come into power. Criticising senior federal ministers over their absence from the parliamentary session, he had claimed that "the empty seats tell you how much importance the government attaches to such an important issue".
Bilawal, citing state institutions' statistics, had said the PTI had turned Pakistan's situation from bad to worse. "The PBS, State Bank of Pakistan [SBP], and the Federal Board of Revenue [FBR] are confirming this," he had said.
"These are the facts, Mr Speaker. These are not political statements," he had added, accusing the government of compromising on "economic independence" in front of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"The prime minister should tell us about the corruption taking place in the country," he had said. "Or he should accept that we say that he is inept, incapable, and selected and will have to go home to provide relief to the masses," he had added.