GHARI KHUDA BAKSH - In an emotional speech, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the heir of Bhutto family, pledged to take his mother’s mission forward, advising people to move ahead instead of holding on to the past.
“I have learnt to live without my mother and you also learn to live without her,” Bilawal said. “I sacrificed my mother for you and for this country,” he claimed.
Addressing the disappointed and disgruntled party workers and supporters, Bilawal held out the pledge to bring the party back to its former self with the help of his two sisters — Asifa and Bakhtawar. The sisters plan to play active roles in the party.
“Me and my sisters would take part in practical politics before the next elections,” Bilawal said. “Our lives are in danger on every step but we have opted this dangerous path for you,” he added.
But these words were just empty promises for now for the visitors at the Ghari Khuda Bux graveyard who had gathered there to commemorate the sixth death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto murdered in a terrorist attack. Most of them were angered by the fact that Benazir’s murderer was still not caught.
Bilawal also pledged to fight against the rising terrorism in the country saying the terrorists were the biggest threat and challenge to Pakistan. “We would confront those terrorists who are the enemy of humanity and I promise we would never step back,” he said. He demanded the Punjab government launch crackdown against the militants safe havens in the province. He said if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fights terrorists, PPP will be the first party to support him.
The PPP chairman said peace talks with Taliban could not be held. Terming Imran Khan as ‘Buzdil Khan’, PPP chairman said PTI choked Nato supply to protest the killing of slain TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud. Referring to PTI’s demand to end drone strikes, he said militants would continue to attack even if drone strikes were halted in the tribal areas.
Bilawal alleged that the last elections were not transparent as the establishment did not want to see PPP successful. He further said that ‘Punjabi establishment’ had gone against them and he, besides Altaf Hussain and Asfandyar Wali, was forced to run electoral campaign through video link. He however said his party would not allow derailing democracy and they were supporting PM Nawaz Sharif in this regard. But he did criticise Nawaz government’s policy of privatisation, saying giving national assets to friends was not privatisation but personalisation.
He told people to support his father Asif Ali Zardari in the upcoming political war against terrorists. “President Zardari has put his children’s lives in danger for your sake so now promise me to reciprocate with your support to protect this country from the clutches of tyrants,” he said. He said the politicians nurtured by dictators believe in the politics of power. The PPP chief said his father by raising the slogan of ‘Pakistan Khappi’ saved the country. He said people should thank Asif Zardari for democracy. With a few “mein bhaagi hun” chants and slogans chock-full of bravado, Bilawal wrapped up his speech, telling his jiyalas he was not afraid of death.
There had been news that Bilawal will contest by-election from NA-204 constituency of Larkana. According to sources, he will soon be appointed opposition leader in the National Assembly after winning the by-election.
Former president Zardari — in his reconciliatory speech — offered his support to the government of PM Nawaz Sharif, saying he would not call for any midterm elections or derail the democratic government. He said political forces were being pitted against each other since the creation of Pakistan‚ which has harmed democracy.
The PPP leaders claimed that they had done their part by arresting many of the plotters; some were killed under mysterious circumstances. “We found where the conspiracy was hatched in South Waziristan, we found how the attackers set off the suicide vests and where they stayed,” former interior minister Rehman Malik said. He said that three of the perpetrators were killed, including Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, who was hit by a US drone strike in war-torn Waziristan. “That implies that there must be someone behind the conspiracy who wanted their mouth shut,” Malik suggested.
Monitoring adds: Asif Zardari said Friday that a Billa (male-cat) has been trapped and now he should not be released. He was referring to General (r) Pervez Musharraf. “Since creation of the country, a third force persuades democratic forces to fight with each other and Billa comes and drinks all the milk amid clash of the democratic powers of the country,” he said. “At least this Billa should not be allowed to escape,” he added.