Saturday Sep 19, 2020
PPP stalwart Qamar Zaman Kaira on Saturday said that the All Parties Conference due to be held tomorrow will chalk out the final plan to oust the "hollow" government.
"It is clear the government knows full well how hollow it is from within," the PML-N leader said. "The crutches it is on will not save the government. The real support comes from the people."
He said that keeping the government's two-year performance as a "charge-sheet", the entire country and all political parties "rightfully view" the government to have "failed in every sector".
"Not only have they gone back on all their promises, they have in fact, put the country into reverse gear and have snatched away any existing freedoms, making life difficult for citizens," Kaira said.
He said that a joint action plan for the future is necessary to be developed. "Every party has its own viewpoint, but a joint action plan will enable us to rid the country of this government."
The PML-N said tomorrow's APC will be a "historic moment" for the country to achieve this goal.
Kaira said that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari spoke to Nawaz Sharif on the telephone to inquire about his health and extended an invitation to participate in the APC, which the PML-N supremo accepted.
He will attend the conference virtually, as will PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, he added.
"So we will formulate the final action plan to be implemented against the government tomorrow; we will decide what course of action to take."
He said the venue for the APC has changed. It was to be held at Ramada but will now be held at Marriott Hotel.
Kaira said that the government "can be seen panicking". "If they were so confident, they wouldn't have been scrambling to push out the same tired, old narrative of blaming the opposition [for the country's problems]."
Speaking of elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, he said that there are national security concerns being raised over the polls.
"A big concern for national security is free and fair elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. It is very important that independent, fair and free elections take place there."
If any questions are raised like in the past, "anti-Pakistan elements will attempt to make use of this opportunity" so it is a great trial for us to hold free and fair elections there.
"So we hope timely and fair and free elections without any interference take place there so that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan can make their own decisions, which their representatives will see through for them."
To a question of whether resignations by government representatives will be considered as an option and if the Sindh government will "sacrifice Sindh" in the process, Kaira said: "People say the PPP will not sacrifice the Sindh government for this purpose, but you must bear in mind we are rightfully saying the government has failed."
"It is standing with crutches and once it is toppled, it will shatter."
He said the PPP will then "perform even better and secure more seats". "So we reject the notion that the PPP is not making concrete decisions over such fears."
Kaira said that in the past when an APC was held, it was on the issue of Kashmir, or to demand better governance or economic reforms.
"We never sought to topple the government. We told Imran Khan we will support him, requested him to sign a charter of economy, despite all the name-calling.
"But now that there is a 100% failure, there is no other option."
To a question regarding the joint session of parliament where bills crucial to meeting the requirements set out by the Financial Action Task Force were "forcibly passed" — as Bilawal put it — Kaira said that it is true that the opposition should have had greater numbers present in parliament.
"Two of our members have contracted COVID-19, another member recently passed away, Khursheed Shah has been under NAB custody for more than a year [...] Asif Ali Zardari did not attend owing to health concerns," he explained.
Kaira said that nonetheless, the opposition did have ample strength and the government's numbers were far less.
He said that when the vote count was challenged, a recount should have been done. "These are the rules. It is not at the speaker's discretion to not do a recount."
"When we were in power, there was an instance or two when a recount was done. Not only did we have an assembly member recount the votes, we offered the objecting party to have their member stand there and oversee the second count," Kaira said.
"But here the entire process was bulldozed. Neither was Bilawal allowed to speak nor was the leader of the opposition (Shehbaz) allowed to speak, which is why the opposition boycotted the session."