PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari started his speech in the National Assembly on Thursday by taking a jibe at Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying had the premier shown up at the parliament, he could have responded to his tweet earlier in the day face to face.
Bilawal was referring to a tweet by Prime Minister Khan in which the latter had asked why lawmakers were “so scared” of the Exit Control List (ECL) and why they were so keen to go abroad.
“I don’t care if they remove my name [from the ECL] or not; it’s not a favour to me,” Bilawal asserted on the floor of the house.
He said that the apex court, in the presence of lawyers and senior journalists, had ordered to expunge his name from the ECL. The PPP chairperson also talked about the apex court’s recent verdict, rejecting the Sindh government’s request for ownership of three major Karachi hospitals and ordering that the federal government continue to keep the ownership of the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases, and the National Institute of Child Health.
“A full order has not yet come so I will not be able to speak on it in detail,” he said, adding that if the apex court takes away these hospitals from Sindh, it will be impossible for him to explain to his people how this was not an attack on the 18th Amendment.
Addressing the treasury benches, he said, “You people have been asking for donations from all over the world; how would you arrange Rs14 billion to continue the facility of free treatment in NICVD?”
Further talking about the 18th Constitutional Amendment, he said that provinces cannot compromise on their economic rights.
“Mr Speaker, people from your province [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] had been struggling for their rights. They got their rights, we will not let anyone deprive them of their rights,” he said.
Bilawal was confident that the parliament will complete its tenure but in the meanwhile if democracy is attacked, he said the PPP will not compromise on it.
Earlier, the assembly resumed its session in the absence of around 70 MNAs, whose membership was suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) a day earlier after they failed to submit details of their assets.