The level-playing field is not available to all the political parties in the country, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Tuesday, claiming that political leaders do not have equal opportunities to contest the upcoming general elections.
The statement came in response to a question regarding the availability of a level-playing field to the PPP as two other political bigwigs — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan — are currently ineligible to contest the polls due to convictions in separate corruption cases.
“There is not a level-playing field for everyone and that is my objection,” said the former foreign minister during his visit to slain journalist Jan Muhammad Mahar’s house in Sukkur.
Nawaz — who has been in self-imposed exile in London since November 2019 owing to health reasons — was disqualified for life in 2017 by the Supreme Court for not declaring a receivable salary.
He is expected to return to Pakistan in October this year to lead the election campaign of his party.
Meanwhile, Khan has been imprisoned in the Attock jail since his conviction in the Toshakhana case on August 5 for failing to properly declare gifts he received while in office.
The Islamabad High Court (IHC) overturned a lower court’s decision to jail him for three years with an Rs100,000 fine — a judgment that kept him from contesting upcoming elections — he remains behind bars due to his judicial remand in the cipher case till September 13.
Speaking about Mahar’s murder — who was shot dead by unidentified armed motorcyclists in Sukkur on August 17 — Bilawal said that a joint investigation team has been formed to probe the case.
“I have come here to offer my condolences to Jan Muhammad Mahar’s family and we stand by them,” said the PPP chairman.
Bilawal also took a jibe at the former prime minister — who was overthrown through a no-confidence motion in April 2022 — saying that the terrorists from Afghanistan were allowed to enter Pakistan during Khan’s tenure.
He said that a plan was made that the terrorists would be allowed to settle in Pakistan once again, questioning whether Khan and former spy chief Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hameed knew that these militants would attack Pakistan’s Army once again.
“The PPP has always had the same stance against terrorism should be fought. Our party has united the entire nation against these terrorists,” he said, adding that terror incidents are on the rise in the country yet again.
Bilawal also said that the American weapons left by the Western forces in Afghanistan fell into the hands of the terrorists.
“American weapons have not only reached Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) but also reached our Katcha [riverine] areas,” he said.
Speaking about the high inflation and economic breakdown, Bilawal said that these are the reasons behind the unemployment in the country.
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