Irshad Salim — Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has warned Nawaz-led government at the center and in Punjab — Pakistan’s largest province and Sharif’s bastion of political power, that any confrontation with institutions would be dangerous for democracy and the federation.
The 28-year-old leader of center-left PPP said in a statement on Thursday that the party would stand by institutions in case of any confrontation — Bilawal was alluding to the Supreme Court which is hearing Panama Papers case and ordered civil-military members constituted team to probe against alleged wrongdoings by Sharif family.
Bilawal said the ruling party should forget that it could sacrifice the institutions for the sake of its family and that PPP would remain silent in such an event. He said if the government opted for any confrontation with the institutions, PPP would strongly resist it.
“These institutions were built with the sacrifices of our leadership, and nobody will be allowed to sacrifice them for his family,” warned Bilawal who is leading the party founded by Z A Bhutto and led by Bhutto’s daughter his mother Benazir during the period 1986 thru 2007. Benazir was assassinated in Rawalpindi upon return to Pakistan ending her self-exile during Musharraf’s military rule.
“Our leadership suffered judicial murders and we took dead bodies but never indulged in confrontation with the institutions,” the young Pakistani politician said.
“We stand by the country’s constitutional institutions and will not allow Nawaz Sharif to repeat his past; people will stand like rock against Sharifs if any attempt is made to degrade or insult the institutions,” said Bilawal.
He said when a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) calls the Sharifs, their ego is hurt, but when the Supreme Court of Pakistan is attacked by the PML-N leaders, they don’t care about it, they do not bother about it.
Addressing a gathering of newly-formed south Punjab PPP office-bearers organisation in Multan, he said when the nation seeks accountability of Mayfair flats, bought with the plundered money, their (Sharifs’) ego is hurt. He said this is not a government but tyranny.
Bilawal said next general elections are very close and PPP was completing her party reorganization. “I will serve the people like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. I will continue my struggle against enemies of masses with commitment and dedication with the support of people of Pakistan.”
The Oxford-educated Bhutto scion and his father former President Asif Ali Zardari have been making efforts to up their party’s vote-bank and their political capital in Punjab — power-base of the Sharifs.
“The PPP is the only party which is strengthening the Federation, while the PML-N is weakening it by depriving Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa of their due share in gas and energy,” Bilawal said. “The PPP is the only party which is the symbol of the Federation and it believes in a strong Federation.”
“Sharifs rule the country like monarchs,” he added. “They do not meet PML-N ministers and advisers; not much is allocated for the development of south Punjab; nothing is allocated. The Sharifs rule created hurdles in the way of creation of south Punjab province.”
Bilawal said he was direly interested in south Punjab affairs, but the Punjab government did not allow the PPP to hold public meetings under the pretext of terrorism threat. He announced holding public meetings in south Punjab.
“I will see the Punjab government how they disallow our public meeting. I will hold a public meeting soon after arrival of a suitable weather,” he said.
He said people in Sindh were experiencing 20 hours loadshedding. He questioned from the participants about their feelings on loadshedding. The whole audience rose from their seats relating their woes due to loadshedding. He said the power-loom sector had reached at the verge of collapse because of unannounced loadshedding. The government has snatched bread and butter from loom workers. On the other hand, Mian Nawaz Sharif is found always appreciating his younger brother and Khawaja Sahib.
Bilawal said the PML-N government was wrongly propagating in the media that it had generated 19,000 megawatts of electricity. But all these claims were wrong as people were still facing up to 20 hours power outage in the country. The Mian brothers were spending billions of rupees on fictitious media campaigns and making people foolish. He said the government had become tyrant to all downtrodden classes including peasants and laborers.
The south Punjab is cotton belt but Sharifs allowed establishment of sugar mills which encouraged sugarcane cultivation in the region, Bilawal said.
When the PPP came into power, it benefited agriculture sector and focused development in south Punjab. The peasants become happy and rich in only PPP rule. “The Sharif brothers involve in the business of milk, iron and chicken for that reasons they are selling profitable institutions at lowest offers to their sympathizers,” he said.
Bilawal said the PML-N project of metro is just a lollipop compared to PPP which awarded flyovers, overhead bridges and international airport to the people of Multan. The PPP provided jobs to youth and PML-N snatched jobs.