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It is an honour to become part of NA: Bilawal Bhutto

18 August, 2018

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PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, in his first address to the National Assembly, delivered a measured and mature speech in English. Although he said it was his "honour to become a part of this house", the 29-year-old criticised the "two biggest parties for creating a ruckus" in the parliament.

He remembered those who lost their lives in terror attacks in Peshawar and Quetta in the run-up to the July 25 polls.

Bilawal said that his party had its reservations over both the pre- and post-polling procedures but still "decided to be a part of this house to support this fragile democracy."

"If it weren't for us Mr Speaker, you wouldn't have your seat and the PM would not have his," he added.

"We would have been facing a constitutional crisis and we must assess what it cost for Khan sahab to get here. We mainstreamed extremism, we compromised on our basic rights, we pitted one Pakistani against another," he continued.

"Our prime minister-elect has promised a 100-day roadmap. I want to see how he creates 10 million jobs, ends poverty."

"I would like to ask Khan sahab ─ who said that he would rather commit suicide than go to the IMF and beg for alms ─ what his plan will be to deal with the economic crisis."

"It is hurtful that Pakistan, which has sacrificed so much in the fight against violent extremism, is seen as a part of the problem and not as part of the solution," he went on.

"I am sure the new government will take the [necessary] steps. However Khan sahab got here, Mr Speaker, he is now the prime minister of this worthy nation."

"I want to remind him that he is not one party's prime minister. He is the prime minister of all Pakistanis ─ even those he called living corpses, the ones he called donkeys, the ones he referred to as sheep and goats."

"As prime minister, I hope Imran Khan will drop the hateful rhetoric. If he continues to fan the flames of hatred, he will have to go through us and he will find us opposing him at every step of the way," he vowed.

"If the prime minister-elect makes constitutional supremacy and human development his priorities, we will stand by his side," he added.

"I congratulate the prime minister-select," he concluded, with his use of the word "select" possibly referring to allegations of poll engineering.

Following Bilawal's speech PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi also addressed the newly formed parliament.

He accused the PML-N of breaking the agreement that the opposition and the ruling parties had made to allow Khan to deliver his full speech.

"Every party stood by its word except the PML-N," Qureshi said. "Of course why would they? The session was being broadcast live so there was a photo opportunity.

"Imran Khan wanted to say that 'I will present myself in front of the nation'. He wanted to invite everyone to sit together but sadly you did not have the courage to listen to him."

Qureshi then struck a conciliatory tone and asked the opposition to "play the role of a constructive opposition.

"Let's change our behaviour towards each other. We will try to incorporate your criticism in our policies. We must also have the courage to listen to criticism."

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