Saturday Jul 03, 2021
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Saturday claimed PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is looking to strike a deal with the United States.
Gill, addressing a press conference in Karachi, claimed Bilawal is "going to take his CV (curriculum vitae) to Washington in a bid to get a job".
"After reaching America, Bilawal will urge [the US government] to help him come into power, saying he is ready to do whatever they ask of him."
Gill said that the PTI-led government "will never allow Bilawal to succeed" in his plans. "We will not let such a deal be struck," the premier's aide said.
He said claimed that during former president (retired) Gen Pervez Musharraf's tenure, 13 drone attacks were carried out in Pakistan, while during PPP's regime, the country witnessed a whopping 340 attacks.
The premier's aide further alleged that former United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped Musharraf and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto strike a deal to allow drone attacks on Pakistan.
"These people (PPP) shift the blame on Musharraf for Pakistan having provided military bases to America.
"[Whereas] it is you (PPP) who put your interests above national interests," Gill said.
Gill's statement comes two days after Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had said Pakistan would not give airbases to the US if the government has decided against it.
The army chief was responding to questions posed by journalists after he had attended a military and intelligence briefing to parliamentarians on national security and the Afghanistan situation.
"You should have put this question to the government. Why have you asked this from me?" Gen Bajwa said when first questioned on the military's position on the matter.
Pakistan has publicly refused to give military bases to the US for operations inside Afghanistan after the withdrawal of foreign forces from the war-torn country.
Washington had requested Islamabad's help to keep a check on the situation in Afghanistan and stop it from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his address on the floor of the National Assembly three days earlier, had said Pakistan could be a partner in peace with the US but not in conflict.
He had underlined that Pakistan became a target for militants when it joined the so-called US-led war against terror and sent its army into the tribal regions.
Two days earlier, an in-camera meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was held at the Parliament House. Following the session, the parliamentarians expressed satisfaction over the briefing provided by the country's security apparatus.
The meeting was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and involved a briefing by Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed.
COAS Bajwa and the Director-General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar were also in attendance.
Among government representatives, Minister for Interior Shaikh Rasheed, Minister for Housing Tariq Bashir Cheema, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem attended the meeting.
Opposition leaders in attendance included the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Senator Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, JUI-F Parliamentary leader Maulana Asad Mahmood, ANP leader Ameer Haider Azam Khan Hoti, and MQM-P's Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
Prime Minister Imran Khan did not attend either of the two sessions that took place.
According to an official statement issued after the briefing, the session was informed that Pakistan played a highly positive and responsible role in the Afghan peace process.
"Pakistan's efforts paved the way for dialogue between Afghan factions and warring groups," the meeting was told, while it was also noted that due to Islamabad's efforts, meaningful talks have begun between the US and the Taliban.
"Sustained peace and stability in Afghanistan will lead to stability in South Asia," the meeting was informed.