MITHI: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said on Wednesday the opposition parties were gearing up to throw out of power the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) which “was imposed on the masses through rigged elections” last year.
Addressing a big public meeting in Islamkot, he claimed the days of misrule by the PTI-led government had been numbered and said that after the ouster of Imran Khan’s party the people would be able to elect their new rulers.
“We have begun our decisive protest movement by staging a huge power show first in Karachi and now in Thar,” said the PPP chairman.
After organising the next big event in Kandhkot, he said, his party would move to towns and cities in Punjab, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and then to Islamabad to get rid of the “incompetent rulers who have made people’s lives miserable”.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said the media was being muzzled and the “selected rulers” were not allowing fair prices to be paid to farmers for their produce. On top of that the rights of the provinces were being trampled upon.
He claimed the PTI had failed to run the country efficiently and had even compromised on the issue of occupied Kashmir, adding that it would be difficult for the ruling party to survive if all the democratic forces mounted a sustained movement against its flawed and anti-people policies.
The PPP chief criticised the PTI-led government for launching what he called controversial projects, like the Jhelum Link Canal, and for not allowing a second member from Sindh to be appointed to the Indus River System Authority despite protests by the Sindh government.
He alleged that Sindh was not being given its due share of water, adding that his party would resist the injustices and would not allow anybody to “occupy Karachi”. “We will neither allow them to occupy Karachi nor would we let them steal our water,” he remarked.
Without naming members of the Grand Democratic Alliance, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said leaders of the alliance were hatching conspiracies against the PPP government in Sindh. “Imran Khan is already a zalim [cruel leader] but those having stars [as their election symbol] are of the same mindset,” he said, asking the gathering to reject such leaders in future.
He urged the people to stand with him just as they did with his grandfather Z.A. Bhutto and his slain mother Benazir Bhutto during their long struggles against undemocratic forces.
He said that price hike and other ill-advised policies of the present government had served to “break the back of common people” living in every corner of the country.
He said the opposition parties were on the same page to get rid of the rulers who were creating hatred and unrest among the provinces through their “illegal moves and policies”.
The PPP chairman praised the Sindh government and the power company that managed to produce electricity from Thar coal much before the scheduled time. He expressed the hope that the firm would help bring about a revolution of sorts by building power plants in other blocks of the coalmine.
The federal government created a number of hurdles in the way of the project, but the PPP leaders were focused on the mega projects to fulfil the dream of his mother, who had dreamt of one day fully tapping into the resources of Thar, he said.
The electricity being generated in Islamkot is currently being supplied to Faisalabad, but the PPP government had decided to provide 100 units of power free of cost to the people of the area, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said.
He said his party was determined to change the fate of the desert region by launching a number of development schemes there. He said he had fulfilled his promise of establishing a campus of the NED engineering university in the region within six months. The campus would be inaugurated in Mithi on Thursday (today), he said.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Dr Mahesh Kumar Malani, Senator Krishna Kumari Kolhi, Senator Gyanchand, Qasim Siraj Soomro, Rana Hamir Singh, Veerji Kolhi, Arbab Lutfullah and other PPP leaders also spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2019