LAHORE: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has alleged that “Sharif-Modi friendship” is causing irreparable damage to the Kashmir cause.
He condemned the killing of innocent Kashmiris in India-held Kashmir over the past few days and said that Indian authorities were violating rights of Kashmiri Muslims.
“While Muslims celebrated Eidul Fitr across the world, our Kashmiri brethren marked the day of festivities amid violence carried out by the Indian army,” Mr Bilawal said in a statement on Sunday. “Scores of people, including women, were injured on a day that was supposed to be an occasion of joy and celebrations. Kashmiri leaders were denied the right to offer Eid prayers and people were traumatised by brutality of Indian army. Such aggression by Indian authorities has exposed the sham democracy prevailing in India.”
An aide to the PPP leader told Dawn that Mr Bilawal would return from London this week and added that the PPP leader would address rallies in Azad Kashmir where he would speak against Indian brutalities in held Kashmir and criticise Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for taking a `soft stance’ towards India.
He said that efforts being made by PML-N to stop PPP from taking to the streets over Panama Papers leaks issue would bear no fruit.
“After Mr Bilawal’s return, PPP will prepare a strategy to launch a campaign against the government along with other opposition parties to build up pressure on Mr Sharif to step down and allow an independent investigation into offshore holdings of his children.”
Mr Bilawal in his statement said it seemed as if Mr Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken a similar stance over the killings in Kashmir.
He accused Mr Sharif of damaging the country’s foreign policy by giving his Indian counterpart a “certificate of friendship”.
“Mr Sharif is jeopardising the Kashmir issue by building his association with the Indian prime minister,” the PPP leader alleged.
He reiterated the PPP’s commitment to support oppressed Kashmiris and said that the party would raise its voice for their rights and condemn Indian hostilities at every forum.
About armed clashes between PML-N and PPP workers in Azad Kashmir, Mr Bilawal said that he was well aware of the tactics of PML-N and would not let it succeed. “It is a common tactic of PML-N to victimise and harass political opponents before any elections,” he added.
Reacting to Mr Bilawal’s remarks, federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said that the PPP leader should not hurl stones at others while “sitting in a glass house”.
Elaborating, he said that the PPP chairman should recall the Kashmir policy of his grandfather, mother and father, adding that as prime minister Benazir Bhutto had welcomed her Indian counterpart Rajiv Gandhi (on his arrival in Pakistan).
APP adds: Talking to reporters after visiting the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences in Islamabad to inquire after the health of PML-N’s injured candidate from Haveli, Chaudhry Mohammad Aziz, Mr Rashid alleged that PPP had resorted to violence in the run-up to elections in Azad Kashmir because it foresaw its defeat.
Despite threats and use of government machinery, people would not vote for the PPP’s candidates, he said, adding that PML-N would win the elections.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2016