Sen. Sherry Rehman, parliamentary leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and former leader of the opposition in the Senate of Pakistan, has called Saleem Safi, presenter of Jirga With Saleem Safi on GeoTV, to vent on the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) questioning the party co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
The Supreme Court constituted JIT is probing into money laundering allegations against his father Asif Ali Zardari, his aunt Faryal Talpur and several of their business associates.
Sherry Rehman starts the talk, “Saleem, I have been Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, and I have been to so many places, but I have never seen things that are happening since Imran Khan has taken office… rather in the words of my honorable co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Imran Khan has been selected for this role.
“It is completely horrible, the way that the nation’s pillars of democracy are being dragged into courts … and for doing what! Making money that is their due right for rendering public service.”
Saleem Safi, nodding his approval, asks, “So, how is the co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari dealing with this anti-democratic campaign?”
Sherry Rehman adds, “You know the utter heartlessness, our co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had just finished enjoying the beautiful scenery in Gilgit and Baltistan that JIT issued the first notice to him. This is utterly crass!
“Saleem, you know how awful Imran Khan and his people are. You know that co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari is their heir to the legacy of not one, but two immortals… the martyrs… his mother, the revered Benazir Bhutto and his grandfather, the exalted Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
“Saleem, when I am close to him, I experience the exultation of being near our revered Benazir Bhutto. I sense her smell overpowering me!
“Imagine, the hard-heartedness that the JIT issued our honorable co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was a second notice when he had returned to the nation’s most hallowed house, which is more dear to party members than Mecca and Madina, the Bilawal House in Clifton, after the Sukkur convention.
“Saleem, imagine the trauma being inflicted on someone who only appears in public enclosed in a bulletproof glass box.
“This is a young boy who has never worked in his life, not even lifted a glass to his lips, and this is the way he is being treated! Simply disgusting! It is an affront to democracy… an affront to liberalism.
“What money laundering… he has never been near a laundry machine, not even visited a dry-cleaning or laundry shop.
“Imagine, the pain that the notice is asking him to submit replies to a questionnaire. And two times in a row! Don’t they know that he lost his mother… that he lost his immortal grandfather!
“Saleem, this is a witch hunt. These people have no respect for someone’s privacy. The JIT questionnaire asked this innocent boy about his bank accounts.
“Imagine! Just imagine, asking an innocent boy who has not worked even a nanosecond is his life to tell about his bank accounts. How can they do that, when they know very well that he is such an obedient son that he never asks how, and from where, and how much is coming into which of his offshore entities.
“So Imran Khan has a minister of human rights… I have to ask Shirin [Mazari] where is her human rights ministry when an innocent child is being harassed by this JIT.”
Saleem Safi asks, “Sherry, how do you see the outlook of democracy in Pakistan?”
“What democracy? Where democracy? Saleem, this Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government is ignoring the Senate… of course, they don’t have numbers there!
“We are not afraid of accountability. I dare them to bring to the Senate floor and all their laws will go boom… hot air!
“The government is befooling the people that this procedure through questionnaires is the most decent way of probing.
“Our chairman, president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur have already appeared before the JIT. Our president has not been involved in any business activity since 2008. Why should he? His network is there for him.
“They should have pity on this young one. He must be spared and be allowed to live a life to the station he was born. He’s just the beneficiary. Whatever he has is a gift. And of course, he has spent most of his life in London.
“Saleem, at this rate, the chief justice Saqib Nisar will soon be asking my husband [Nadeem Hussain] about his micro-finance bank, Tameer Finance Bank Limited… and the millions in loans, he got from the National Bank of Pakistan despite being declared ‘negative’ in ratings. You know micro-banks are there to help the poor!
“Saleem, Imran Khan has implanted contempt for democracy. Imran Khan should take note of Article 298 of the Pakistan penal code that prohibits uttering of any word or making any sound or making any gesture or placing of any object in the sight with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person. And 298A deals with the use of derogatory remarks in respect of holy personages.
“Our immortals… Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto are our religion!
“They have started calling PML-N as the Party of Money-Laundering-Nawaz; and they call our PPP as Plunder Pakistan Party. Whatever name-calling they like, they can do, but I have to tell them that investigating Bilawal is blasphemy against the immortals.”