Punjab PPP slams govt for going solo on defamation bill

Faizan Bangash
Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024

LAHORE: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Punjab Secretary-General Syed Hassan Murtaza has said that the PPP stands with the journalist community on the issue of the defamation bill.

During a press conference on Monday, Murtaza clarified that no PPP member was present in the house when the bill was passed. PPP MPA Neelam Jabbar and party stalwarts Ahsan Rizvi, Zeeshan Shami, and Hassan Ashraf Bhatti were also present. He criticised the government for not consulting the PPP before presenting the bill in the house.

Despite the potential loss of political support, the PPP had decided to stand with the government to address the situation. He remarked, “We had high expectations from Maryam Nawaz to advance the province according to her father’s vision. However, the government should avoid actions that disappoint both the media and the public.”Murtaza also expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the budget process, saying that the government did not take its allies into confidence before presenting the budget, which he saw as a breach of trust.

He criticised the government for not including labour representatives in the budget-making process, suggesting the government was confused. He emphasised that the PPP’s support was primarily to help save the country from an economic crisis.Moreover, the PPP leader voiced disappointment with the N-League’s performance, noting that no sector, including journalists, is satisfied with the government’s efforts.

He highlighted the struggles of farmers who face police arrests when they protest and questioned why the government has not paid the dues of sugarcane farmers or held the sugar mafia accountable. He also questioned why traders involved in tax evasion are not being addressed by the government. Murtaza demanded a relief programme for salaried individuals and pensioners, criticising its absence from the government’s budget proposal.