Youth leader

‘The leader of the opposition has been compromised,’ says FM Qureshi as he hits out at Gillani

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing the Senate in Islamabad, February 1, 2022. — YouTube
  • FM Qureshi asks Gillani to explain his absence from the Senate on January 28.
  • The Foreign Minister describes Gillani’s resignation as “a simple tragedy”.
  • In response, Gillani says he didn’t expect Qureshi “to stoop so low”.

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi hit out at the opposition leader in the Senate on Tuesday, calling him a “compromised leader” and a “salesman”.

FM Qureshi released the statement while speaking in the Senate after Gillani, in his Senate speech on Monday, said he was accused by “defectors” – in an apparent reference to FM Qureshi – of having assisted the government in passing the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill.

At the January 28 session, when the SBP Bill was passed, 12 members were absent, including Gillani and seven other members from the opposition, two from the government and two from independent candidate Dilawar Khan’s group.

Mocking Gillani for his absence, federal ministers and government officials thanked him for “helping” the Center pass the crucial SBP bill. In response, the PPP leader announced his resignation on Monday.

In his speech today, FM Qureshi said Gillani was “lying”, and would remain “stuck” in the opposition leader’s office. “His resignation is only a tragedy”.

The Foreign Secretary said the Leader of the Opposition should explain his absence from the Upper House of Parliament as his constituents were unhappy with his clarification.

“He said the bill was [added to the agenda overnight]. How could the Leader of the Opposition be so naive and reckless?” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Commenting on the SBP Bill, the Foreign Secretary said it was not fair to say that the central bank had been enslaved by foreign bodies. “The State Bank is an autonomous institution.”

‘I didn’t expect him to sink so low’: Gillani

Speaking to reporters after the Senate session, Gillani said he did not expect FM Qureshi “to stoop so low” and called the Foreign Secretary’s speech against him an “outrage in the Senate”.

He lashed out at FM Qureshi, saying he had asked to make a political statement.

“But instead of a political statement, he launched a tirade against me. The foreign minister lowered his ethical standards for no reason. I didn’t expect him to sink so low,” added the head of the PPP.

Bilawal refuses to accept his resignation

Hours after Gillani announced he would step down, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari refused to accept his resignation as Senate Opposition Leader, Geo News reported.

The PPP chairman appreciated Gillani’s services and called them a “shining example” for Democrats and said PPP officials hold themselves accountable.

Expressing regret over the Senate Speaker’s role in passing the SBP Amendment Bill, 2021, Bilawal said the President passed the bill “in collusion with the government.”