GARHI KHUDA BUKHSH: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Friday announced his two sisters would follow him into politics before the next general elections.
“All children of Benazir Bhutto will start taking part in active politics before the next elections,” Bilawal told a huge public meeting on the sixth death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
He asked people to support him and his sisters, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, who attended the rally along with their father, former president Asif Ali Zardari.
Calling terrorists “wild animals” who are “thirsty for human blood”, the PPP leader said that his party would stand against terrorism.
“They carry out attacks in mosques and kill innocent people in the name of Islam... they are not humans,” he said.
Bilawal also demanded that the Punjab government launch a crackdown on the militants’ safe havens in the province.
He said that if the government succeeded in resisting terrorists from getting shelter in Punjab, he would himself commend the act.
“If the arrow [electoral symbol of PPP] and lion [electoral symbol of ruling PML-N] jointly hunt the animals [terrorists], they could save the country from monsters.” Bilawal said he would launch a jihad against terrorists because elimination of terrorists is “the only way to restore peace in Pakistan”. Criticising the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Bilawal said the terrorist outfit killed Benazir and many other innocent people.
Accepting that the path he has chosen was full of dangers, Bilawal, in an obvious reference to the tombs of his mother and grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, said his destiny was “martyrdom and Garhi Khuda Bukhsh”.
“I am not afraid. Martyrdom is my destiny and Garhi Khuda Bukhsh is my final resting place,” he added.
He also criticised the TTP’s war against non-Muslims and said Islam teaches respect for all religions.
According to Bilawal, peace talks with the Taliban could not be held. On behalf of his party, he suggested very strict conditions for dialogue, if any, with proscribed TTP. They include surrendering arms, blood money for victims of terrorist attacks and respect for minorities among others.
Bilawal also slammed PTI Chairman Imran Khan, saying that terrorism would not end even if drone strikes are ended.
Rejecting the link between growing extremism and drone strikes, Bilawal said Pakistan was a victim of terrorism even before the drone campaign started and that terrorist attacks would continue even if the campaign ends. He did, however, express confidence in the Pakistan Army’s eventual victory over the terrorists.
“Pakistan was a victim of terrorism even before the drone campaign started... terrorist attacks will continue even if the campaign ends,” he said, and claimed his party had halted the “tsunami” of Imran Khan at the Punjab border.
“Tsunami cannot be brought by pouring water in four lotas,” he added.
Calling Imran Khan “Buzdil Khan”, the PPP leader said the PTI had blocked NATO supply line to protest the killing of slain TTP chief Hakeemullah Mehsud.
“Buzdil Khan has stopped NATO supplies to mourn Hakeemullah Mehsud’s killing,” he said. Assailing ideology of Imran Khan’s PTI, Bilawal said the complicated issue of terrorism and extremism was not going to get resolved through sit-ins and long marches. “It’s not a kids’ game of cricket which can be resolved through a magic bat,” he said in an obvious reference to Imran Khan.
He said it would take several generations to resolve the issue of terrorism in the country. “Friends of terrorists are traitors,” he chanted.
“Only by eradicating terrorism from society, Pakistan can become prosperous and peaceful,” he said, adding that the Pakistan People’s Party was standing in front of terrorists and blocking their way.
Praising the public for strengthening democracy in the May 11 elections, he said people took revenge of his mother’s assassination by supporting the democratic forces.
“We all should congratulate former president Zardari who had spent 11 years in jail in support of democracy,” he said.
The PPP was heavily defeated in May’s general election after five years in government, following a lacklustre campaign marred by Taliban violence.
Commenting on PPP’s performance in the general elections, Bilawal blamed the ‘Punjabi Establishment’ and judiciary for his party’s defeat in the May 11 general elections.
Certain elements in the establishment and judiciary did not want the PPP to come to power, he said.
“Former president Asif Ali Zardari did what everyone thought was impossible and he ensured the smooth transition of power from one democratic government to another,” said Bilawal.
The PPP leader said that at the time of martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan was at the brink of collapse but Asif Ali Zardari raised the slogan of “Pakistan Khapay”.
Bilawal announced that he would stand by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif if any attempt was made to derail democracy.
He also ruled out the notion that the PPP had changed, saying that traditions do not change. “People’s Party is passion...,” he added.
Bilawal along with his sister Bakhtawar also visited the mausoleum of martyrs of the Bhutto family. They laid a floral wreath at the grave of Benazir Bhutto and offered Fateha.
Quran khwani and Fateha were also held on the occasion for the departed soul of Benazir, as people from all walks of life paid rich tributes to the slain prime minister for her services for the cause of poor, progress and prosperity of Pakistan and restoration of democracy in the country. The main ceremony in Garhi Khuda Bukhsh, some 28 kilometres from Larkana, was also attended by former president Asif Ali Zardari, the AJK president, AJK prime minister, Gilgit-Baltistan governor, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Syed Mehdi Shah, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Bukhari, Rehman Malik, PPP Central Information Secretary Qamar Zaman Kaira, Syed Naveed Qamar, Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Manzoor Watto, Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, senators and provincial ministers.
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