Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani on Monday urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to issue a policy statement during a joint sitting of Parliament to apprise the public about the government’s drawn-out negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the resurgence of terrorism nationwide.
In a press release, he stressed that the public had a right to know of any threats to the national interest. “The dragging of feet by the IMF on signing the Agreement and reluctance of friendly countries, except China, to help sans the IMF, Parliament needs to be taken into confidence,” he wrote, claiming the current scenario suggested Pakistan was “being softened up to play a role which is against its national and strategic interests.”
Maintaining that the public should be apprised if Pakistan’s nuclear assets were “under pressure,” or the strategic relationship with China was under threat, or the country was being asked to play a role in facilitating the military presence of an imperialist power, he stressed the only solution was a policy statement by the prime minister during a joint sitting of the National Assembly and Senate.
“The question of the TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan] and increase in terrorism has also found no discussion or briefing from the government,” he claimed. “It seems be it the PTI or present, governments want azadi (freedom) from Parliament and the Constitution, 1973,” he added.
Rabbani’s statement follows indications from the PPP that it is willing to part ways with the ruling coalition along the pattern of alliance partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which has a tradition of sticking with governments until the end of a parliamentary term, before quitting the government ahead of polls to campaign as an “opposition” party. On Sunday, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is also the foreign minister, warned that his party would have no choice but to quit the government if promises of relief to flood-hit victims in Sindh were not fulfilled.