Bilawal advises PML-N supremo to focus on Lahore

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing a press conference in Mithi, Sindh, on November 14, 2023. — X/@MediaCellPPP
  • Bilawal urges PML-N to not rely on others for politics. 
  • Says he’s hopeful that PPP will win upcoming polls.
  • “Manifesto of PPP is reflection of its performance in Thar.”

As Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif headed to Balochistan, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Tuesday advised the three-time prime minister to keep his focus on Lahore and address the problems his party faced in Punjab. 

“Mian sahab has been suggested to visit other provinces. I would suggest that he should stay in Lahore and focus on its problems,” said the PPP chairman during a presser in Mithi.

The PPP chief urged PML-N to do politics on its own instead of relying on others.

The former foreign minister made these comments after PML-N announced to jointly contest polls with Muttahia Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P). 

Nawaz is also visiting Balochistan to meet several political leaders, including from the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). There is also a possibility of a seat adjustment agreement with the party. 

Nawaz’s visit in Balochistan to bore bad results

The politician, during the press conference, questioned what political party would run away from by-elections if they had a government in a province and centre and had the backing of institutions.

“They ran away from the local body election. I don’t know what the fear was,” Bilawal said, adding that the Nawaz-led party should have focused on Balochistan first.

The politician said that the PPP was kicked out of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and criticised for taking votes from BAP.

“If BAP was bad yesterday, they will be bad today as well. The same result will come out in Mian Sahib’s visit.”

It should be noted that the PML-N and BAP have had a bitter past, as the party was founded in 2018 by political dissidents from Nawaz’s party as well as those from the PML Quaid. 

PML-N Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz had also criticised the PPP leadership for cosying up to the Balochistan-based party, while PML-N was at loggerheads with BAP on the position of opposition leader.

However, Nawaz’s party forgot everything and nominated Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar as the interim prime minister.

Bilawal, during the presser, also said ​Pakistan cannot prosper amid the politics of backbiting, accusations and revenge.

He insisted that there is a huge gap between Islamabad and the people across the country.

“Those who sit in Islamabad know less about ground realities. We don’t look left and right, we look towards the people,” the PPP leader said.

‘We wish for PPP’s govt to be formed’

Looking back at the time when the PPP was part of the grand PDM coalition, the former federal minister said: “Forming a government by supporting PDM was the need of the hour. Had we kept [our] political interests first, then we would have taken a different decision.”

He maintained that there was a political and economic crisis in the country at the time and Pakistan was isolated at the foreign level, therefore, forming a government with the PDM was the right decision according to the time.

“We are now heading towards the election, we wish for PPP’s government to be formed,” he said.

The former minister iterated that he has no difference or resentment with anyone. “We do not have any dispute with any institution at this time. PPP is looking towards the people, but there is no fight with any institution.”

PPP never received level playing field

Bilawal once again complained that the PPP never received a level playing field.

PPP has been persistently voicing concerns regarding the absence of equal opportunities to prove itself ahead of the polls.

The [Islami Jamhoori Ittehad] IJI was formed against PPP. There was no level playing field, yet the government was formed.

“Even today, a field of sorts is being decorated. PPP is ready to play on every pitch. We will hopefully win.”

The 35-year-old politico said he is ready to contest elections after his 15 months of performance in the government as the foreign minister. “Are Shehbaz Sharif and other leaders also ready or are they hiding their faces,” he said, taking a jibe at politicians from PPP’s rival parties.

PPP has support of Bhuttos’ loyalists

Bilawal further said that he has the support of Benazir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s loyalists, adding that his party is fulfilling the promises of his mother.

“We are trying to complete the incomplete mission,” he said, adding that critics said his party cannot deliver.

Speaking about the situation of Tharparkar, Bilawal said that the death rate of women and children in the district has decreased by 50% and that there were no doctors in Thar before, however, PPP has helped reduce unemployment due to its projects.

“The manifesto of the PPP is a reflection of its performance in Thar,” he highlighted. Bilawal further added that they will not rest until there are jobs for everyone and the people are not reeled out of poverty. 

The former minister said that PPP plans to establish a railway line from Tharparkar to Karachi which will help Thar’s coal reach the markets. 

Bilawal then went on to say that the RO plant in the district faced hurdles due to differences between the province and the federal government, adding that the housing project for the flood victims in Sindh was also slowed down.

“We argued with the federal government that the royalties (given to Sindh) should be spent on the people here. However, this couldn’t be sorted out due to the end of our tenure,” he added. 

The PPP chairman then spoke about the incumbent government, saying that the caretakers are supposed to conduct elections and continue the policy of the previous government. 

“The caretaker government should provide facilities and not become an obstacle,” he added. 

Lamenting the lack of attention to education in Pakistan, the former minister said that the NED University’s project has begun in Thar. 

He added that his party has started a monthly stipend for women so they can teach their children, adding that they want to raise the level of teachers through teacher training.

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