ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that his party will continue to resist extremists and terrorists.

He called for reverting to the historic ideological moorings of the PPP in a “systematic, sustained and forceful” manner so as to regain the party’s pristine ideological position that makes it distinct from orthodox, conservative and regressive parties.

Talking to a 5-member delegation of PPP senators from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province here, Bilawal called upon the federal government to immediately set up a ‘victims support fund’ to support the victims of militancy and their families throughout the country and particularly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Those who called on him included Senators Khanzada Khan, Saifullah Bangash, Ahmad Hassan, Rubina Khalid and Farhatullah Babar. Vice President PPP Sherry Rehman, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, information secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira, political secretary Jamil Soomro and others were also present.

Spokesperson Senator Farhatullah Babar quoted Bilawal as saying that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had suffered most grievously as a result of the war on terror that left tens of thousands martyred and wounded.

He said the fund was also needed to relate the victims and their families to the ongoing war against militancy and lend greater force and ownership to the existential fight that Pakistan is waging.

Bilawal asked the senators to raise the issues of concerns to the province including China-Pakistan Economic Corridor alignment and industrial zones, the net hydel profit issue and the gas infrastructure development cess (GIDC) inside as well as outside the parliament through seminars, public discussions and addresses to bars and press clubs.

Bilawal also expressed concern that the KP government was resorting to dilatory tactics on adoption of women protection legislation and asked the provincial chapter of the party to work out a strategy to persuade the provincial government adopt the law aimed at protecting women without delay.

Recalling that the Sindh Assembly had recently passed the Child Marriage Act as well as Hindu Marriage Law, Bilawal asked the senators to agitate the issue of women protection in the province at all available fora.

Elaborating on the ideological mooring, he said that women empowerment, integration of the non-Muslims in the mainstream, politics of anti-status quo and empowering the common people and elected institutions as against the unelected elements are the key features of the party’s ideology that must be pursued vigorously through public discourse as well as positive political action.

Bilawal also sought briefing on the verdict of the Peshawar High Court the other day overturning the judgment of Election Commission in women vote denial case in Lower Dir.

He said the PHC verdict setting aside the judgment of Election Commission to cancel the by-election in Lower Dir provincial assembly due to disenfranchisement of women voters was a setback to the struggle for women empowerment.

Bilawal asked the party to file an appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court. “The party must utilise all legal and constitutional means to restore the space that the women of Dir seemed to have lost as a result of the verdict,” he said.

Earlier, Bilawal met delegations of party office-bearers. He said party workers were his strength and realisation of Benazir Bhutto’s dreams was his goal. He said PPP has a history of struggle for human rights and democracy.

The PPP chief said former president Asif Ali Zardari restored Constitution in its original form and provinces were given autonomy through 18th Amendment in Constitution. “He gave identity to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan,” Bilawal said.

He said PPP was the only party which represents labourers, farm workers, students, downtrodden, women and minorities and will win next elections with their support. He said PPP will continue to resist extremists and terrorist and PPP is striving for a democratic, pluralistic and progressive Pakistan.

Delegations were comprised Syed Sibtul Hasan Bokhari, Faisal Sakhi Butt, Nargis Faiz Malik, Mohammed Ali Shah, Nadeem Mughal, Shamim Aijaz and others. Former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Senator Sherry Rehman, former chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Qamar Zaman Kaira, former deputy speaker National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi and Raja Imran Ashraf were also present on the occasion.

Later, opposition leader Khurshid Shah met the PPP chief and invited him to visit the National Assembly. The two also discussed the latest political situation.