PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing a public gathering in Skardu Bazaar on Wednesday.— INP
PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing a public gathering in Skardu Bazaar on Wednesday.— INP

GILGIT: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Wednesday insisted that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government would be sent packing by January 2021, and a “people’s government” would take over from the “selected set-up”.

He said this while addressing a public gathering at the main Skardu Bazaar as part of the party’s campaign for the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections slated for Nov 15.

Former GB governor and PPP central leader Qamar Zaman Kaira, former chief minister Mehdi Shah, PPP GB president Amjad Hussain Advocate and Sadia Danish were also present on the occasion.

Thousands of PPP workers from across the Baltistan division showed up in the meeting.

Bilawal Bhutto said it was unfortunate that the “tyrants” had snatched Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Shaheed Shahnawaz Bhutto, Shaheed Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto from the people. “I have gone to the smallest town and village in GB and seen that Bhutto is alive at all those places,” he declared. He also remembered all those who had established PPP in GB, saying the struggle started by the people of GB was continuing.

Says PPP won’t allow ‘stealing’ of votes in GB

Bilawal Bhutto said nothing had been done for protecting the rights of the people of GB since 1974 when former prime minister late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ended FCR in GB. “Late Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto introduced democracy in GB in 1994, and in 2009 former president Asif Ali Zardari gave the region its first assembly, first governor and first chief minister,” he said.

Bilawal Bhutto declared that the campaign for the right to rule and right to property belonged to the PPP. “PPP is the only party which included the demands of people of GB in its manifesto for elections in Pakistan in 2018,” he claimed.

He went on to say that PPP was the only party advocating that people of GB should have their own province, representation in the Senate and the National Assembly of Pakistan.

He said that he would remain in GB till the people’s own government was formed there. He also said that the PPP needed a two-third majority in the GB Assembly to realise the rights of the people.

Bilawal Bhutto said today every section of the society was protesting against the PTI government, pointing out that GB had not yet become a separate province, but the PTI government at the centre had already imposed taxes on the region’s people.

He vowed to establish a network of hospitals for heart, liver and kidney in every district of GB.

The PPP chairman warned that his party won’t allow stealing of votes in GB.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020