LAHORE: Expressing his grief at loss of lives of policemen and civilians in the last couple of days, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has condemned the violence in Lahore and other parts of the country and terms it a direct result of the PTI government’s inability to handle the situation peacefully.

Commenting on the situation developing in the country, the PPP chairman said the shedding of human blood and incitement to violence was never the answer to any situation because history reveals that violence only begets more violence.

“The real fight is about fighting against the root of the festering problem, not in just responding to the symptoms. Why has the selected government not bothered to implement the National Action Plan, or even discuss arising challenges in parliament?” he said.

He pointed out that the tendency to foster and coddle pressure groups through instigating ethnic, religious and sectarian hatred had begun during Zia’s regime, to squeeze mainstream national political parties. This dictatorial tool continues to be used even today as an operational lever to reduce the salience and size of mainstream political parties, as more and more “Frankensteins” are being midwifed to curb the democratic aspirations of the people of Pakistan, he said.

“It is painfully clear that we have failed to understand that no one can consistently play with fire without getting burnt themselves,” he added.

The PPP leader said his party had been in the frontlines of resisting any discourse or action that promoted violence or extremism since its inception. For this the party and its leadership, including Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto paid a heavy price. It is distressing, therefore, to witness how the “selected” was allowed to attack official properties, occupy government offices in Islamabad and hold the government hostage since 2013. Today, the same modus operandi is being replicated to further destroy the system, he added.

He said he is very clear that the state is responsible for protecting people, and a serial failure of the current ‘selected’ regime to fulfill this responsibility has dragged the country into an unprecedented chaos and anarchy, exposing both the population and state to risks that are incalculable.

He said in any situation, the law must be the only factor to prevail and to that effect all issues should be addressed through constitutional mechanisms, instead of resorting to more violence.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2021

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