Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Sunday warned that it will be difficult for his party to remain in the ruling coalition if the government fails to deliver on promises of relief for flood victims of Sindh province.
In a public address at an event to launch a subsidy for reimbursement of wheat, he referred to a briefing by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in which he had explained that Sindh government—which is ruled by the PPP—needed Rs. 13.5 billion to provide relief to flood-hit farmers through the program. Of this, he said, the federal government had committed a Rs. 4.7 billion grant, while the remaining Rs. 8.39 billion would be provided by the provincial authorities. This promise, alleged Bhutto-Zardari, had yet to be fulfilled.
“We [will] take up this issue in the National Assembly,” he said, adding he would also speak with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to fulfill his promises to flood victims, warning that it would be “difficult” for the PPP to remain a part of the federal government if the relief were not provided.
In a seeming rebuttal of Bhutto-Zardari’s threat to exit the federal government, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari—who is Bilawal’s father—told a private channel later in the day that the party had no intention of exiting the ruling coalition. He also maintained that the party was committed to the federal government, which it played a major role in creating through the vote of no-confidence that led to PTI chief Imran Khan’s ouster as prime minister.
During his speech, the PPP chairman—who is also the foreign minister—raised concerns over the manner in which the ongoing digital census was being conducted, adding that it was unacceptable for elections to take place in two provinces—Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa—under the old census, and in the rest of the country based on the new exercise. “How it is justified that election to one provincial assembly is held on the basis of 2018 census, while the other on the digital census,” he said. “If the census is to be conducted in the same ‘fraudulent’ way, it is not acceptable to the PPP,” he said, adding that the Sindh government would not support the ongoing census if the federal government did not address the objections.
However, he added, the Sindh government would support an impartial and scientific census.