2020 will be year of free and fair elections, says Bilawal | Pakistan Today

2020 will be year of free and fair elections, says Bilawal

–PPP chief says rule of the people cannot be established without ousting a govt of ‘selected leaders and political orphans’

–Zardari says PTI govt has no semblance of the common man’s problems and must be ousted to establish democracy

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday warned the government that 2020 would be the year of free and fair elections.

Addressing a rally held by the party at Liaquat Bagh to mark the 12th death anniversary of slain party leader and former premier Benazir Bhutto, the scion of the Bhutto dynasty said that he would complete the unfinished mission of his mother and give people their due rights after ousting the government of “political orphans”.

He blamed the “political orphans” for the economic and leadership crisis prevalent in the country. “These are the same political orphans Benazir warned you about,” he said. “Look at how they conduct their politics. They are cowards,” he added.

Bilawal taunted the government by saying that all claims they made about politicians had been proven false. “They said Mian sahab [Nawaz Sharif] will never go abroad for treatment. Mian sahab went abroad for medical treatment. They said President Zardari will never come out of jail. He is out of jail now too,” he added.

Bilawal urged the masses to support him in ousting “this government of selected and political orphans as the people’s rule cannot be established without the PPP”.

The PPP chairman praised his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by crediting him with giving rights to labourers when he was the prime minister. Bilawal said that his mother Benazir had fought two dictators during her lifetime and never backed down from anyone.

“You [people] are witness that they [political rivals] used to say a woman can never be the prime minister of a Muslim country,” he said, adding that “you saw how she became the first female head of state of a Muslim state.”

Bilawal said that the credit goes to Benazir for providing Pakistan with the much-needed missile technology. He said that the slain PPP leader had returned to Pakistan before her assassination to ensure democracy in the country.

The PPP chairman lashed out at the government, saying that it was “an enemy of the poor people of Pakistan”. He criticised “those in corridors of power” for removing BISP’s women beneficiaries from its list and declaring them ‘undeserving’.

The country’s economic decisions, Bilawal claimed, are being taken by International Monetary Fund (IMF) instead of its people.

“This is not the independence that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave us. PPP will build the Pakistan that Benazir envisaged for the people,” he said. “This not the democracy we sacrificed so dearly for and this is not the economy Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took revolutionary initiatives to strengthen,” he added.

“This land is again calling that it is under threat once again… today, parliament is locked and 18th amendment is under attack with provinces being deprived of their rights,” he further said.

Bilawal said that extremism is prevalent in the country despite a defeat to terrorism in the recent past. He added that the masses are being economically murdered and this government had become a menace for the masses.

PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also addressed the ceremony via a pre-recorded video message. “This is the place where Benazir Bhutto lost her life,” he said to a charged crowed.

The former president said that the incumbent government has no semblance of what inflation is. He said that he and his political party were determined to bring a government for the people and by the people in Pakistan.

Zardari claimed that the current government has failed to govern the country. “No one is bothered about the poor living in Pakistan,” he added.

The ceremony was attended by PPP leaders, including Raza Rabbani, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Faryal Talpur, Aitzaz Ahsan and many others.

Benazir Bhutto, the twice-elected prime minister, was assassinated on December 28 as she left a political rally held at Liaquat Bagh. The former premier was shot in the neck or head, according to differing accounts, as she stood in the open sunroof of a car and waved to crowds. Seconds later a suicide attacker had detonated his bomb, damaging one of the cars in her motorcade, killing more than 20 people and wounding 50.

Earlier, in a statement shared by PPP, Bilawal said that Benazir was the “strongest chain of the federation of Pakistan” and those who assassinated her had “planned to break the chain but failed due to ‘Pakistan khappe’ slogan of President Asif Ali Zardari soon after the national tragedy”.

He said that Pakistanis will never forget their “brave leader, who sacrificed everything for the country and for the rights of its downtrodden and barefoot masses”.

Ahead of today’s event, the venue and roads leading to it were decorated with PPP flags and pictures of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir and Bilawal. More than 50,000 seats were arranged at Liaquat Bagh.

A day earlier, the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) had directed the Deputy Commissioner Saifullah Dogar to provide all facilities and security for the event. The court had also directed the district administration and police to provide Bilawal with adequate security upon his arrival in the city. Additionally, PPP also made its own security arrangements.

PPP had announced the rally at Liaquat Bagh days ago. However, the district administration had refused to give the party permission, citing security threats to its chairman.

PPP city president Babar Sultan Jadoon had immediately filed a petition in the LHC through his legal team, challenging the decision of the district government. On Thursday, the LHC had granted the party permission to hold the public meeting.

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