Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday said that he got no impression of a deal made for the incarcerated former premier to leave the country. Bilawal was talking to media after a meeting with Nawaz Sharif at Kot Lakhpat jail on Monday. He was accompanied by PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman Kaira and others. After his hour-long meeting with Nawaz, Bilawal said that he visited Nawaz Sharif to inquire about his health. "It is a historic day for me as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Asif Zardari, PPP leaders and workers were also imprisoned in the same jail."
He said he was out of the town when he got reports about the illness of three-time PM Nawaz Sharif. "There are political differences but I feel our cultural values and religion teach us to look after an ailing Muslim. I believe there should be no injustice with anyone. If any prisoner is ill, it is the government's responsibility to provide them with the best medical treatment," he added.
He expressed his dissatisfaction over the facilities available to Nawaz Sharif, saying he looked very ill. He requested the government on behalf of the PPP that best medical treatment as demanded by Nawaz should be extended without delay. I hope the prime minister and his government should think on humanitarian grounds," he added. "Keeping a heart patient under pressure and stress is equivalent to torture."
Bilawal continued, "I only came here to inquire about Mian sahib's health. Obviously, we are politicians and discussed other things as well including the Charter of Democracy." "Mian sahib and Benazir Bhutto signed the Charter of Democracy in 2006 and it is our failure that it wasn't fully implemented."
In response to Nawaz's going abroad, Bilawal said, "I got no impression or inkling that a deal has been made. Mian Sahib is upholding his principles and does not appear to be willing to make a compromise."
"Mian Sahib said he is ideological and wants to do politics of principles," he added. "My father spent 11 and a half years in jail and each time it was said that a deal has been struck with the then president Pervez Musharraf," Bilawal added.
Regarding Finance Minister Asad Umar's criticism of his speech in the National Assembly, Bilawal said, "The parha likha jahil [educated illiterate] Asad Umar criticised me for speaking in English. Did Umar speak in English or Urdu in the company that he used to work for?"
The PPP chairman further said that it was unclear if Umar was criticising him or Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. "I could not understand if he [Asad Umer] was criticising me or Shah Mehmood Qureshi. If there was an issue with English, Shah Mehmood Qureshi used more English in his speech than I did." The PPP chairman added that Umar also had an issue with him using the name of Bhutto. "PM Imran through a notification slashed his father's name, someone should tell Umar that I write Zardari in my name along with Bhutto. Umar should not indulge in politics of hypocrisy," the PPP chairman asserted.
Senior party leaders including Qamar Zaman Kaira, Mustafa Khokhar, Hassan Murtaza and Jameel Soomro accompanied Bilawal during his visit to the jail. PPP leader Kaira had submitted a request to the Punjab home department on behalf of Bilawal to meet the incarcerated former premier on Saturday. In the request, the PPP chairman sought permission to meet Nawaz in jail to inquire about his health. "It would be appreciated if you could kindly manage this visit for today," it read.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday asked Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to ensure that every health facility in the country is made available to Nawaz to get the treatment of his choice. Nawaz has been imprisoned at Kot Lakhpat jail since December 2018 following his conviction in a corruption reference in line with the Supreme Court's July 2017 verdict. Maryam Nawaz took to Twitter to thank Bilawal for visiting her father in Kot Lakhpat jail.
"Thank you very much Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for your thoughtfulness and kind gesture. (It) means a lot to me. Prayers and every good wish, God bless," she wrote.