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Thursday Aug 13 2020
Web Desk

Bilawal Bhutto accuses Centre of usurping Sindh's rightful share of NFC Award

Web Desk
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, while speaking about the debate on Karachi and its rule, said: "If, God forbid, this PTI regime wants to occupy Sindh's capital — Karachi — and make us a colony, then that's unconstitutional and illegal. Geo News/via

KARACHI: PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday criticised the PTI-led federal government for usurping the Sindh province's rightful share of the NFC Award, saying it was "root of all problems".

"To date, one of Pakistan's provinces has been deprived of its rightful share to the NFC Award; we have been demanding our rights since ages," Bilawal said. "Last year, there was a shortfall of Rs116 billion [in the NFC Award] from Sindh and it's Rs200 billion this year.

"This injustice is continuously done to every province" in Pakistan, he said.

The PPP chairperson said if the NFC award issued before the 18th Amendment was follow, then it must also be understood that Sindh has been assigned more work and more responsibilities subsequently.

"They [federal government] is not willing to give the deserving share of the NFC Award that would increase the funds and resources [to Sindh] so that there can be an improvement in the lives of its people, as well as the education, health, and local bodies systems.

"You name any country, whether it has a presidential system or a parliamentary one, is under a federal rule or unitary form of government, faces coronavirus pandemic, hurricanes, monsoons or locusts attacks, the entire nation becomes one, they unite and manage resources to assist each other," Bilawal added.

Centre 'playing politics on natural calamities'

"But our government offered no facilitation. It's our misfortune that when our nation is experiencing a pandemic, there are talks of taking away their rights and resources. There are historical monsoon rains of 10 years and problems [created by the floods] in the entire province.

"If a house is facing issues in Karachi, that is as important to me as a house that collapses in Chohi [Goth], Qamber Shahdadkot, Ghotki or Thatta," he stressed.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was sent to the province since it is suffering a natural disaster. "We are thankful to NDMA for the contributions and we did what we could with our resources.

"The centre is playing politics on natural calamities and crises at a time when we and our people are in dire straits. We see malicious intentions and these will undermine our national integrity," he warned.

Such actions, he added, would undermine the countrywide efforts and the national cohesion. "Whenever there is a national issue, the PPP is always set aside.

'Dangerous legislation'

"They claimed we would not support the FATF [Financial Action Task Force bill] and that that's why we are asking for an NRO.

"The PPP accepted the FATF and constitutional requirements under the democratic process but not the undemocratic ones through which they were trying to obtain dictatorial powers.

"We have always worked for the betterment of the people while ensuring their basic rights of the country. To date, we have demanded democracy in the parliament, national assembly, committees, and the Senate.

Speaking of the recently-passed bills, some of which became a bone of contention between the ruling and Opposition parties, he said the protest was "about how these were steamrolled in the Senate committee and the members not given enough time to study the legislation or to give their suggestions on them", he added.

If the government wished for the bills to be uncontroversial, then they should respect the process in the Senate so we can collaboratively save Pakistan from the FATF's blacklist, he suggested.

The PPP boss said there were three bills — Criminal Procedure Code CrPC Amendment Bill, Anti Money Laundering (Amendment) (AMLA) Bill, and the one on economic terrorism. "We believe that these are important than the FATF bill and compromise the citizens' rights.

"These are dangerous legislation and the PPP will not accept these at any cost," he stated, adding that his party would oppose forcible passage of such bills.

Six of BRT's 26km completed?

Bilawal said Prime Minister Imran Khan was in Peshawar to celebrate the inauguration of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) project, which "is still incomplete".

"This is the same project that the Peshawar High Court (PHC) had asked the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] to investigate and that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's CMIT [Chief Minister Inspection Team] had highlighted had billion of rupees worth of kickbacks," he mentioned.

The Supreme Court issued a stay order for the Peshawar BRT after the PHC requested the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) probe the project, he noted.

"The PTI says it is complete but my party workers say only six of the 26 kilometres are completed. But if they do maintain that it's complete, then the NAB and FIA should investigate it and the SC's stay order lifted.

"[Otherwise], the money of KP's people will be looted under the guise of this incomplete project so that the PTI can run its election campaign and Imran Khan his 'kitchen'. These truths should be brought forward to the public and individuals, including ministers, involved in it be arrested.

"If the NAB acts impartially, they should carry out [the probe] against the PTI the same way it did against the Opposition parties and then we'll see going forward if there's a uniform law, NAB, Supreme Court, and the PHC for everyone," he added.

On the issue of the coronavirus disease, he thanked the people, saying Pakistan was among the first countries to impose a lockdown.

"I thank the provincial governments that took these steps despite opposition from their own prime minister. But now Imran Khan is taking credit when Bill Gates lauded the virus-curbing efforts in Karachi.

"We don't care since we all we care about is saving the lives of the people," he said. "But this misinformation and confusion being spread around — that the coronavirus has been eradicated — will cause many more problems.

"The SOPs [standard operating procedures] that are not even being followed in this room are crucial for everyone. The cases can rise at the same speed at which they have reduced as of now," he warned.

Occupying Karachi 'unconstitutional and illegal'

Speaking of the debate on Karachi and its rule, the PPP chairperson said: "If, God forbid, this PTI regime wants to occupy Sindh's capital and make us a colony, then that's unconstitutional and illegal.

"If this is carried out under a judicial cover, then it would be an attack on the nation the same way Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto judicially murdered and it will not be acceptable to us at all.

"Karachi is not only a significant factor for Sindh's economy but for the national one as well. If our rights are not safeguarded then the entire Pakistan will bear the brunt," he warned.