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Culture of pressuring courts through phone calls should now end, says Bilawal – Pakistan

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Tuesday said that the “culture of pressuring courts over phone calls” to rein in political leaders should now end, saying that courts and parliament must take measures to end this practice once and for all.

“We are not happy at all that audio tapes are emerging against those who would threaten and pressure courts over phone calls to hand sentences of 20 years’ [imprisonment] to Shaheed Bibi and Zardari and to seize their family property,” Bilawal told a rally in Peshawar.

“We think the system of making phone calls is wrong today and was wrong then and in the future, no one should have the courage to make such an attempt.”

The PPP leader said “Imran must realise the gravity of the situation and stop practising undemocratic politics, otherwise, he will suffer the same fate as that of his predecessors.”

The PPP chief than moved on to criticising the government for inflation in the country. Annual consumer price inflation rate in the country rose to 11.5 per cent in November, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

That was up from 9.2pc the previous month as the government and central bank struggle with high inflation. The State Bank of Pakistan this month lifted rates by 150 basis points, in part due to surging price growth.

Bilawal claimed the people of Peshawar would hold the PTI accountable in upcoming local government elections, adding that the PPP would stand with the inflation-hit masses in taking “revenge” from the incumbent government.

“Prices of basic commodities increased manifold in recent months just because of a lack of planning and vision,” the PPP chairman said.

‘Imran trying to increase voter base with outside votes’

Talking about the recent bill passed to allow voting rights for overseas Pakistanis, Bilawal said Pakistani nationals based abroad should have a separate electoral college. “How could it be possible that a person casts vote in Paris and it is part of the result in Bannu.”

He alleged that Imran was trying to bring votes from “outside” to strengthen his voter base.

“We are going to challenge this rule in courts and also highlight this conspiracy in street protests,” Bilawal said.

Referring indirectly to the government’s olive branch to the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban, Bilawal said the prime minister had “bowed down before terrorists” without taking families of APS martyrs and the parliament into confidence.

He said the government must first press those asking for the imposition of Shariah in the country to respect the Constitution of Pakistan. “We will not accept any of your talks until terrorists involved in serious cases face trial and get punishment,” he added.

Bilawal said Islam didn’t allow the killing of children and women, emphasising that “the killers of our people should first face retribution before any other measure.”

Calling the government “incompetent and failed”, he claimed the incumbent rulers were playing with the fate of Pakistan.

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