Zardari says he wants to strengthen democracy, not derail it
Bilawal announces to start a long march against the government
Says current government has failed on all fronts
Says Benazir’s vision is needed now more than ever
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-Chairman and former President Asif Ali Zardari and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have decided to join the current parliament to play an active and a democratic role in the country.
Addressing a rally in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, the former president announced the good news he had promised after his arrival in Pakistan after 18 months. “The good news is that in this election, both I and Bilawal will join this parliament.”
The former president said he would contest elections from Nawabshah and party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari would contest from Larkana. “I will contest the election on my sister’s seat and Bilawal on Soomro sahib’s seat,” he said while speaking to PPP workers.
In reference to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari said: “Bilawal’s demands are democratic; he has not threatened attacked democracy in the state,” he noted.
He said that the difference of opinion as well as the protest was PPP’s democratic right.
Zardari announced that they would exercise their constitutional right to enter the Parliament and fully take part in the parliamentary politics to what he called strengthening of democratic system in the country and for a process of accountability.
“During my presidential tenure, I had strengthened democracy in the transferred power to parliament and provinces. But you have marred democracy,” Asif Zardari added.
“Now I am coming to the Parliament to streamline the democratic process in the country”, he claimed.
Asif Zardari asked the PPP members of the assemblies to go to the people and help resolve their grievances as the PPP is a political party of the masses.
“I am not coming to the Parliament to topple you; we only intend to work with you on national issues,” the PPP co-chairman addressed to the prime minister.
“We have fought dictators, but never raised our voice against the military,” he said.
Asif Ali Zardari warned that he will not leave ‘Mughal Badsha’ go scot-free, referring to PM Nawaz Sharif.
Zardari also criticised PM Nawaz Sharif for his cordial ties with his Indian counterpart, saying, “Mian sahib, have you ever thought of the children in Kashmir as to what do they feel when you have luncheons with Narendra Modi?”
Zardari also criticised the role of a former Chief Justice of Pakistan as biased against PPP.
Asif Ali Zardari said his party has no objection over an NAB Chairman being picked by the Supreme Court. “We are not afraid of courts,” he said, adding, “The case in which Babar Awan’s license was cancelled should also be reopened.”
Bilawal announces long march
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced the start of a political long march against the government to meet his party’s four demands. Bilawal while asking party workers to start preparing did not announce a specific date for the start of the march.
Bilawal claimed that PML-N government ‘has failed on all fronts’, promising that he would reorganise his party to steer the country out of crisis.
In his speech at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh, where the party marked ninth death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal lashed out the Prime Minister for his policies, saying that the government is surrounded by political and economic scandals.
He said that some people never die; their ideology and achievements live on.
“Zulfikar Ali Bhutto continues to live on in the hearts of people.”
Bilawal further stated that while some people despite being alive are dead indeed.
“A few people taunt us for being connected with the past, I ask them this: have the issues resolved for which the PPP was formed?”
“ZA Bhutto asked Benazir Bhutto to trust the people of the country and advised her to never abandon them, assuring her that they would never desert her,” he said. “Benazir Bhutto then went to fight Zia and later his remnants.”
The PPP chairman said there is monarchy in the state, innocent citizens and personnel of the armed forces are dying at the hands of terrorists, contending that the vision of Benazir Bhutto was needed today more than the past.
Bilawal also announced he would tour the country to rally support for his four demands.
The PPP chairman during his address at Karsaz on October 17 had laid four demands before the government:
- Parliamentary committee on national security be formed
- PPP’s Panama Bill be passed
- Asif Zardari’s resolution on CPEC be implemented
- A foreign minister be appointed immediately
“PML-N has failed to deliver on all fronts. In response to our four demands, the Interior Minister is issuing threats to Supreme Court and other institutions, instead of tendering resignation,” he said.
“Gali Gali mein shor hay, Nawaz Sharif chor hay,” he chanted, calling the PM ‘Panama Sharif’.
“I want to reorganise my party with a new pattern and with modern methods. I wish to run Peoples Party with a new vision,” Bilawal said.
Bilawal said that the mindset that Benazir had fought against all her life is still there and needed to be eradicated.
He said that after Benazir’s assassination, the country was vulnerable to division but Asif Ali Zardari saved the state and the political party.
Bilawal asserted that the Interior Minister was threatening institutions instead of tendering his resignation after a report held the ministry responsible in Quetta’s Civil Hospital attack. Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan holds meetings with leaders of banned organisations and permits them to lead rallies, Bilawal alleged.
The government is protecting terrorists instead of the people of the country, he said.
PPP is desirous of democratic accountability but the premier does not agree to the cause, Bilawal said. He said that the history of judiciary in Pakistan is the scariest. However, all the institutions would have to shoulder their responsibilities.
Bilawal rhetorically asked why legal case regarding founder of PPP, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s judicial killing has not been concluded till today.
PPP chief complained that the judicial system of Pakistan never provided justice to PPP but now it was time to see whether Supreme Court (SC) would focus on interests of the country or not.
Two PPP MNAs resign
Two MNAs of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have tendered their resignations at the behest of the party’s top leadership after Asif Ali Zardari announced that he and the PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari have decided to be part of this National Assembly.
PPP’s two lawmakers Ayaz Soomro and Azra Fazal Pechuho handed their resignations to the party leadership.
Ayaz Soomro said the membership of the National Assembly was the party’s trust.
The PPP will accept the two resignations in its Central Executive Committee meeting. The same committee will give a go-ahead to the two top leaders to contest by-elections.
It should be mentioned here that Ayaz Soomro was elected from Old Larkana NA 204 and Azra from Nawabshah NA 213.
Benazir’s ninth death anniversary
Earlier, emotional scenes were witnessed as workers paid their respects at the graves of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his daughter Benazir Bhutto at Garhi Khud Buksh.
A documentary depicting the life and achievements of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was shown on the occasion.
Separate camps were set up to accommodate leaders and workers from all five provinces, northern areas and Azad Kashmir.