–PPP chief says ‘govt-NAB nexus’ wants to prevent a son from observing his mother’s death anniversary
–Says despite his objections, he will continue to appear before NAB because of respect for rule of law
KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday termed the call-up notice issued to him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as “unconstitutional and illegal”, and dared the accountability watchdog to arrest him “if they have any courage”.
Addressing a press conference in Karachi, the PPP chief said that he will not appear before the anti-graft body on December 24 and accused the government of hatching conspiracies to thwart his party’s plans of observing the death anniversary of slain party leader Benazir Bhutto.
“I have been repeatedly announcing that the party would observe Benazir’s death anniversary on December 27 in Rawalpindi but despite this the ‘government-NAB nexus’ issued a call-up notice,” he said, adding that the government is preventing a son from observing the death anniversary of his mother.
He said that the government has not issued permission for the ceremony on December 27 but obstacles are already in place to hinder the efforts of the party workers trying to make the necessary arrangements.
“I will reach Liaquat Bagh on December 27 and observe Bibi’s death anniversary in every condition,” he announced, saying the nation needed to be shown a way out of its current state of despair.
Speaking about the fake accounts case, Bilawal that he was cleared in the case when the former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP), upon receiving the joint investigation team’s (JIT) report, had said that he had nothing to do with the case. “Despite this, I appeared before NAB to respond to their queries,” he said, adding that “he did not come under pressure then and would not come under pressure now”.
The PPP chief also said that his lawyers have informed the anti-graft body that he would not be appearing before it on Tuesday.
He said that the NAB chairman had revealed earlier this month that references were ready to be filed in the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) and Malam Jabba resort projects cases, but questioned whether any minister from the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government was issued a call-up notice.
“Despite my objections, I will continue to appear before the bureau because I respect the rule of law of this country and can face all these illegitimate accusations,” he added.
Lashing out at the government for “targeting” opposition parties and keeping their members incarcerated for months without a charge, he appealed to the judiciary to intervene for the protection of fundamental rights.
Responding to a question, the PPP chief said that he was not scared of any arrest and there was no chance of one either because he would be “more dangerous for them if they arrest me”.
It is worth mentioning here that this is the second time Bilawal has been summoned by NAB in the fake bank accounts case and the money laundering case. The accountability watchdog claims that Bilawal had 25 per cent shares in a private firm, Opal-225, a joint venture of the Zardari Group.